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Stories take shape in many ways. I’ve heard writers detail their preparations in tackling the blank page, and it’s not the rosy picture most people tend to envision. Yes, there may be the occasional cup of tea involved, but the process is hardly as elegant. The truth is, creative people have messy minds. Ideas are always flitting about, and their brainpower is continuously running to produce the next best thing. So the approach varies, as it’s usually dependent on the writer or project, and it’s fascinating. I love to learn my favorite authors’ quirks or what keeps their creative juices flowing. And almost always, music plays a role in summoning inspiration, which makes total sense. There have been times I’ve listened to a song and a movie trailer suddenly unfurls in my mind — I know I can’t be the only one. In case you need new music to kick off your brainstorming session, here are a few artists (in no particular order) to search for on your favorite streaming service!

Woodkid

I have a way of always coming back to Woodkid. His cinematic sound caters perfectly to an action sequence, with sharp, fast-paced tunes like “Run Boy Run.” Then, there are songs like “So Handsome Hello” — from his recent album S16 — that are so atmospheric, I end up listening to them in a loop, regardless of whether I’m on “work mode” or not. It’s also worth noting that his music has been featured across the media, playing in films, TV shows and on other media platforms. Unsurprisingly, he even made his way into the Divergent soundtrack back in 2014.

London Grammar

London Grammar was one of my most listened to bands of 2020. Hannah Reid’s voice is just spellbinding, made even more catching by the “downtempo” and “indie pop” their music fluctuates between. I’d go as far as to say they’re reminiscent of 90’s “experimental rock,” considering the band holds similar airs to Portishead and Hooverphonic. And while I love all of London Grammar’s songs, I’m particular toward the selections where the vocals shine through. You may have caught a glimpse of one of them in the Game of Thrones Season 4 trailer. Here’s the full-length version.

Fleurie

When it comes to writing playlists, Fleurie is an essential inclusion. Her collaboration with Tommee Proffit in Gloria Regali will have you undoubtedly convinced. The album is enchanting with its powerful orchestral background and haunting, long-winded vocals. It’s the epitome of an epic fantasy or a sweeping historical drama. Perhaps you’ll recall The Spanish Princess’s Season 1 trailer? No other song could’ve been as fitting!

MISSIO

MISSIO’s fusion of the alternative and electronic genres is remarkable. Their music is innovative, scattered with toned-down selections amid an assortment of animated tunes. However, the album I’d recommend is the soundtrack for their documentary of the same name, Love Me Whole. The collection, while mostly instrumental, manifests a sense of atmosphere, painting a hazy image just waiting to become a scene. Basically, it’s the kind of music that provides the tone of a story; a setting, a feel. And because words won’t do justice, here’s a track from the album to help tease out an element of your next story.

In the end, inspiration strikes differently for each person. It should be acknowledged that music can also be very personal. However, I’m never one to turn down a recommendation. I’m constantly in the search on Spotify for that song that just clicks. I simply live for those moments when music stirs you incomprehensibly. It’s even more exciting when a song helps you communicate your story, where you feel that itch in your fingers to write away. Just don’t forget to brew that cup of tea. You know, for the sake of appearances. 

Alexandra Aleman is a University of Central Florida alumna with a B.A. in Creative Writing and minor in Mass Communication. She is passionate about storytelling and aspires to have her work published one day. She'll read any book with a map (basically, any epic fantasy) and will never tire of listening to Linkin Park. A film/TV enthusiast, she's always going to try to predict what's going to happen next in the story. Seriously, she can't help herself.
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