Playlist: 10 Songs You Need To Listen To While Stuck In Lockdown
“I’ve often called music a smuggler, in that it transports you from one place to another,” says Keshia Hannam. “Sometimes this journey is furtive, others it’s loud and public, but either way you are in a different place to where you began. During times of unrest or reflection, I find this to be particularly true.”
Hannam is a global speaker and social entrepreneur who works to heighten individuals’ and groups' understanding of their own biases, the actions they can take, and how the climate crisis impacts brown and black communities most. She has spoken for The New York Times, Fortune 500 companies like Marriott and Macy’s, and at The United Nations.
Hannam tells us that she sees music as being crucial at every juncture of her life. “It’s the most pleasurable vessel of storytelling, and subsequently, I cling to it, and have anchored my journey around using it to leverage more life for myself and others.”
“It’s so important to recognise what we’re listening to, and how that informs our worldview,” she says. “In a time where we’re assessing which voices shape culture, I hope to pay much attention to the artists of colour who are telling critical stories, even if they sound unfamiliar to us initially.”
Here, Hannam talks us through the songs that she has been listening to while in isolation and quarantine.
Listen to Keshia Hannam's ISO playlist here
Bamboo, Elder Island
"I got invited last-minute to see Elder Island perform in Brooklyn last year and had no idea who they were. I remember falling in love throughout the set and they ended with this song, which set the crowd off. Humble creators with a penchant for making catchy music, I have played Bamboo on my roof alone at night multiple times to recall the feeling of dancing with other humans."
Glow Up, Karun
"Talented Kenyan singer Karun hits the sweet spot of important lyrics and a melody I have stuck in my head for days after listening."
Dhoom Machale Dhoom, Aditi Singh Sharma
"I grew up dancing to this song—it was a number one hit in 2004 in India. I play it in my house and dance to evoke memories and connect to my culture."
Ntaba Ezikude, Sun El-Musician & Simmy
"I rediscovered this song in the first month of quarantining in NYC and I listened to it non-stop on my bike rides thereafter. It's particularly vibey at sunset."
Drink Too Much, Geowulf
"My best friends of nearly two decades are the Australian duo, Geowulf. Their music is dreamy, honest and clever. This song resonates a little too hard!"
Snack, Ms Banks feat Kida Kudz
"When Banks came to Hong Kong for Sonar in 2018 we bonded and I’ve been an avid supporter of her talent and art since. It has taken a very short amount of time for her to shoot into the global spotlight and she represents a lot of the incredible female rap talent in the UK. I love introducing people to the force that is Banks."
Uh Huh, Ilham
"A Moroccan indie singer from Queens, Ilham is not only a great human and undeniable talent, she makes haunting music that makes me move. I would play Uh Huh every time I geared up to workout and get hyped, which was an important discipline when we weren’t allowed outside in March and April of this year."
Uthando, GuiltyBeatz & Nonso Amadi
"A lover showed this to me early on in our relationship and quarantine. Each time it plays I feel playful and daydream of adventures into new lands. My dad was a pilot, my mum an airhostess, so we’ve been travelling forever. This is the longest I’ve stayed in one place in my life, and the voyager in me is going a bit stir crazy. This song quells and feeds that longing at the same time."
Falling Autumn, Alayna
"I saw Alayna perform for the first time in a dingy London venue, and remember thinking the venue didn’t match her talent. This song became an anthem while I sorted out immigration issues for three months. I listen to this song to remember that time of uncertainty and how I’ve gotten through them before. Alayna is also a hilarious person with an exceptional soul who I strongly support."
BTSTU, Jai Paul
"Jai Paul is one of my favourite artists full stop. I discovered this song when in university, and then didn’t listen to it again until I lived in Manila for four months in 2017 — some of the more harrowing months of my life. This song kept me elevated, and I've played it on repeat through good headphones every week since being in lockdown. There is something about the entwining of the beat with the resolve in the lyrics that makes it one of the best songs ever, in my opinion."
Too Bad Bad, Shakka feat. Mr. Eazi
"And this is a bonus track, because honestly, it's just a great song."
See honourees from the Philanthropy & Charity category of the Gen.T List 2019.