the Hi-lo Listens: 13 tracks that help artists get creative in the studio

This is… 10 people and what they’re listening to, a new series called “the Hi-lo Listens,” launching today with a group of artists, of the visual and musical variety, and the tracks that inspire them to do what they do. Some live in Long Beach, some have other ties to the city, the point is, we hope you’ll discover new music and share your own favorite songs with us along the way.

Have a track you’re feeling especially inspired by this week? Email [email protected] with the name, artist and a couple sentences on why it moves you. And, make sure to check out this week’s Spotify playlist, the Hi-lo Listens #1.

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Gopi Shah: ceramicist | @gopishahceramics

I’m digging “You Ain’t the Problem” by Michael Kiwanuka. It’s funky and has a good beat that puts me in a good mood to start my day.

LaJon Miller: painter | @lajon39

The song I’ve been playing to get me moving and grooving while I set up is “Rubber Band Man” by The Spinners. It’s about a guy that bounces back after falling and failing.

But while I’m creating, Nine Inch Nails’ “Wretched” remix has a dope breakdown that bangs and makes me want to paint with ferocious energy.

Adrian Gutierrez: photographer | @illogicaltruths

I have to pick two, but they’re from the same album: A$AP Rocky’s “Fashion Killa” or “Ghetto Symphony” from LONG.LIVE.ASAP. I recently revisited the album and the way it teleported me to 2013 was crazy! This was during the peak Instagram boom and I remember taking the train into New York City to ride my bike around and take photos of anything and everything with my iPhone 5… A$AP Rocky had put NYC rap back on the map and his second album was proof that it wasn’t a one-off, the movement was here to stay.

Taking it even a step further in the nostalgia rabbit hole, A$AP MOB was indirectly tied to The Diplomats (Dip Set) another game-changing time in NYC hip-hop, which I was always a big fan of in high school. Those two songs are my favorite because it reminds me of a time when my creativity was uninhibited by followers and likes, it was a time when I was creating purely from curiosity and exploration.

Narsiso Martinez: painter, printmaker | @narsisomartinez

I’ve been working on a new piece for maybe a couple of weeks now. Today I started to see some progress. I was concerned about the aesthetics of the image I’m creating and the illustrations on the box felt like they weren’t making sense. But there’s this song, I feel it saves me every time. “Strange Fruit,” maybe I have mentioned it before. But it’s been playing in my head all day today as I get over the “nonsense” of the proportions in my drawing.

HeyDeon: vocalist | @byedeon

My favorite song right now is “Alive” by HeyDeon and Coastal. The reason why is because it makes me feel warm and extremely grateful for life. I understand that emotions can get the best of us, but the feelings are temporary.

Betsy Lohrer Hall: painter, installation artist | @betsy_lohrer_hall

Beautiful Chorus “Infinite Universe;” this group put good energy into the world. I’m grateful.

Cynthia Lujan: painter, muralist | @desfigurados

The beat [of “Something About You” by Hayden James] is really catchy and it lets me concentrate enough despite having words sung throughout. I really like dancing while making things in the studio… about 30% of my practice is me dancing in my studio.

Cara To: painter, muralist | @caratoes

Right now I listen to it [“Voices “by Blundetto] on repeat. It makes me trust to follow the soft voices in my head that have guided me all this time.

Anthony Pedroza: songwriter, vocalist | @fellowrobot

My favorite song that’s been on repeat the last few weeks is “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” by Queen. It’s always been a song I’ve loved, but lately, it’s been stuck in my head. I started writing a new song called “Crash and Burn” on the piano that has a very Freddie Mercury way about it, so I let his spirit flow through my own composition. I love “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy” because of its complex melody and chord progression, it’s so darn catchy.

Trinity: painter, muralist | @theartprncess

My favorite song right now is “As” by Stevie Wonder. It’s my favorite at the moment because it reminds me that love conquers all, as cliche as that sounds, it’s true for me. Anytime I listen to it I’m reminded that I’m loved and I’m always being guided by my ancestors in the right direction.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.