Last week on my Instagram stories, I asked if you wanted to know what I listened to besides opera. I think people get the impression that because I'm an opera singer, I only listen to classical music. I definitely love classical music, and it has a time and place, but I've got a whole host of other albums on my Spotify that do not fall into that genre.
Many of my musical tastes are inspired by my dad. He loves music and introduced us to his favorites when we were children. Now I appreciate my taste in music; growing up, I was the odd one out who never listened to the top 40 and probably couldn't have told you what the Backstreet Boys' newest song was. That doesn't exactly line you up for popularity as an 8-year-old.
When I got to college, I quickly learned that having a unique taste in music was interesting.To be fair, I was surrounded by other opera singers, so we all had eclectic playlists, but it was still fun to be able to mix in some oldies with more modern music.
My favorite genres are probably jazz and rock/soft rock. Jazz appeals to the very classic part of me that enjoys the idea of swing-dancing with my husband while a big band plays. The image of that is so lovely, and I love the music that accompanies it. Rock is just awesome to listen to while you're driving along on a sunny day. So without further ado, here's a list of a few of my favorite singers and bands in no particular order:
1. Frank Sinatra - I mean, honestly. All of the best songs that were written during his time - he sang them. And he sang them in the most Frank Sinatra way. He knew how to swing, and dancing to his recordings is a ton of fun. He's really just unbeatable.
2. Seals and Crofts - Seals and Crofts are so interesting. Their songs really are the perfect music to accompany a day at the beach. The first time I heard their voices, I thought they sounded funny, but as I listened to their album more and more, I found that I couldn't stop.
3. Benny Goodman - You know his music even if you don't know his music. Google "Sing, Sing, Sing" and you'll hear one of the recordings that he's most known for. He was a jazz clarinetist and his big band was one of the most revered of the 1930's. He was the man known as the "King of Swing."
4. Chicago - "Saturday in the Park"? "25 or 6 to 4"? Are you kidding me? Those songs are the epitome of awesome. I used to listen to them on the way to high school in the morning, and now they feel interconnected to my high school experience.
5. Ella Fitzgerald - Ella is stunning. She is truly one of those singers who makes you feel good every time you listen to her. She can scat like no other and her voice is delectable. Check out her live albums - you'll get to know her personality and love her even more.
6. Blood, Sweat, and Tears - David Clayton-Thomas' voice is so great. He sounds like a grumpy old man singing rock at you. Why is that attractive? I honestly couldn't tell you, but it works for him. And the instrumentation in their songs is totally different from what you're expecting.
7. Mel Torme - Known as the velvet frog, Mel Torme lives up to his name. I think my favorite rendition of his is "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." It's soft and romantic, and you can luxuriate in the tone of his voice.
8. Doobie Brothers - I saw this band live a few months ago. As you may have guessed, I was the youngest person in the audience. And they rocked it. They still had as much energy as they did when they were at the top of their game in the 1970's. They've got a unique sound and they utilize rhythms in a way that most rock bands don't.
9. Bill Evans - He's just one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. No biggie.
10. Nat King Cole - I love Nat King Cole. Whenever he sings, it sounds like he's smiling. I think I first heard his rendition of "L-O-V-E" in the remake of "The Parent Trap," and after I heard it, I begged my parents to let me buy a Nat King Cole album. The fact that Nat King Cole was a pianist before he was a singer gives him a unique grasp on musicality, and he's got a special something that is really fun to listen to.
Special Mention: James Taylor - He doesn't really fit into jazz or rock, but James Taylor is one of my favorites. His music pulls at the heartstrings and doesn't let go.
Who are your favorite singers and bands? What genres do you enjoy listening to? I'm so curious! Let me know in the comments below.
Hey! I'm Abby, the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. I'm the first Conservative Influencer and I'm an opera singer with three degrees in performance!