Music shapes our identities and changes our lives. It brings back our memories and stirs up our emotions. My Song Stories asks music professionals and indie artists questions about the songs in their libraries. Today, Stef Pascual, Head of Digital at Sony Red Essential, shares the artists and songs that have impacted her life and career.
By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Stef Pascual. I wear many hats but my main role is as Head of Digital at Sony Red Essential. I also started running the label Silent Cult with a couple of friends this year, and I am a part time lecturer at Berklee College of Music. I go to loads of gigs and in my spare time you can find me hanging upside down from silks or hoops. I love aerial arts!
What is your most recent favorite song?
“Wheelchair” by V VEGA. These guys are something else, they are releasing a song every couple of weeks and they all sound pretty different, even though they all have an inimitable V VEGA stamp on them. This one is my favourite, very Deftones-esque.
What is your favorite ballad or slow jam?
I love “Ever (Foreign Flag)” by Team Sleep. This song always manages to take me to a dream-like state of mind. Absolutely stunning song.
What song makes you happy and smile?
“Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid soundtrack never fails to make me grin like an idiot. I love all things Disney, and I think this is the perfect Disney song with flawless songwriting and performance, like only Alan Menken could conceive.
What song makes you sad or want to cry?
“Little Bird” by Casey. It’s one of my favourite albums from last year, and this track is beautiful, but it’s heart-breaking, and as I was going through a divorce myself I can’t help but associate it with those times when I was feeling terribly sad.
Did you inherit any music taste from your parents?
My dad loves spanish bands from the 60’s and traditional Mexican folk music. I definitely got my love for Mariachi bands from him.
My mom and I share our love for Elvis, but all his songs only reached Spain as covers from Spanish bands, because Franco’s fascist regime wouldn’t allow his original albums to be sold in the country, so she doesn’t even know the original lyrics in English! Makes for epic bilingual duets between us, though!
What five artists best represent their favorite music?
1) Un Diablo Disfrazado – Miguel Rios (Elvis’ Devil in Disguise cover)
2) ¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes! – Los Panchos
3) Guantanamera – Pete Seeger
4) Un Sorbito de Champagne – Los Brincos
5) Somethin’ Stupid – Frank and Nancy Sinatra
What five artists best represent your favorite music?
1) AFI – “Girl’s Not Grey”
2) Deftones – “Swerve City”
3) LOOM – “Hate”
4) Motley Crue – “Kickstart My Heart”
5) Alkaline Trio – “Mercy Me”
What song evokes memories from your childhood?
I’ve loved dancing for as long as I remember, and I would bring a cassette player to school and gather a crew of friends to prepare dance routines in our lunch break. I can still remember some moves from “Boom! Shake the Room” (DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Price), I wasn’t even 10 years old then!
What is one song from the soundtrack of your life?
It’s got to be “Trash” by Suede. I come from a spanish town where there wasn’t a huge alternative cultural offering, and I always felt like a weirdo, so when I found Suede at 14. It’s like a new whole universe opened for me, and I realised that there were other weirdos like me out there! I fell in love with Indie rock, London, and all things Brit Pop, and finally decided to move to the city I dreamed about for years in 2007.
Kyle Bylin is the author of Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives, a collection of essays about songs that impacted people’s lives. Read an excerpt here.