Most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement has opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music is making your life better? Today, musical theatre queen, Chloé Zuel.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
I generally listen to music all day and night. I used to fall asleep with a playlist playing into the night until I met my husband and he put a stop to it. I find it strange if I go to someone’s house and there isn’t music on, probably because I am so used to it being part of my background life.
Seeing as I often make playlists with my favourite songs on them, I’m very selective with the albums I play in their entirety. I like an album that has a similar vibe throughout rather than a random collection of good songs. The albums that get a play from top to bottom are:
Tom Misch - Geography
Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit
Mat Verevis - Mat Verevis EP
John Mayer- Sob Rock and Continuum (classic)
Emily King - Sides
Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure
Maggie Rogers - Heard It In A Past Life
London Grammar - All 3 albums but mostly If You Wait
Bon Iver - Both Bon Iver and For Emma, Forever Ago (again, classics)
Teeks - Something To Feel
Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room (special addition)
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia (last year’s lockdown binge album)
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
Definitely Geography, by Tom Misch and Liquid Spirit by Gregory Porter, not only because they’re our favourites but partially because they’re two of the few vinyl records we own so they get plays on both the record player and Spotify.
MUSIC CONSUMPTION-WISE, HAS THIS LOCKDOWN BEEN DIFFERENT TO LAST YEAR’S?
I have been consciously trying to enjoy and appreciate music this time around, especially now that I have the time and space to do so. When I’m working in a show I’ve noticed that I tend to start to feel like the work owns my voice. It’s being used so much every day that I don’t get to just sing for enjoyment. I decided to use this time to really sit and enjoy music, with no other distractions and remember what it’s like to sing for fun or just sing along to things because I feel like it.
I’ve really appreciated having the time to do that and I think it’s exactly what my soul needed. When I’m really present listening to music I can get the same feeling that I do from a good workout- like a rush of endorphins or something. I feel so grateful that now we can access whatever music we want or need online.
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
Rather than an album it’s a playlist. I found a playlist on Spotify called Soft 90’s and it took me right back to my childhood. I grew up on a solid dose of pop music via my mum, the radio and through dance classes. It has been so nice to just sit in the nostalgia and sing along to songs that filled my early years and were the soundtrack to so many homemade performances. I was often alone choreographing dances in my room to Kylie, Madonna, Michael and Janet Jackson, and singing to Whitney and Mariah.
It feels very uncool to say that I’ve been pumping out Mariah, Whitney (and a bit of Celine) in lockdown but these are the artists who shaped me as a singer. I aspired to sing like them and would spend hours trying to copy Whitney in songs like I Have Nothing or Mariah in Hero so It has been nice to revisit that.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
One of my friends, Mat Verevis, just realised an EP that I am a huge fan of and has been on high rotation in our house. I love Ben Abraham’s new stuff, though I ALWAYS love his music. I find it very inspiring when people write their own music and lyrics while letting you into a part of their lives. It must be a very vulnerable thing to do and I appreciate the way Ben and Mat have done that.
I am also really enjoying the new Laura Mvula, as well as Teeks. Olivia Rodrigo’s teen pop album Sour and Justin Bieber’s Justice are guilty pleasures too.
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
This is a mix between really upbeat workout songs (think Robyn, Calvin Harris, The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Dua Lipa) and my "Yoga Vibes" playlist as it depends on the flavour of anxiety/mood really. Luckily I can still listen to the Hamilton soundtrack for enjoyment too so last night when I was in a bad mood I put on Yorktown and jumped on my mini trampoline for 10 mins to shake it off. Before I did the show I would listen to Yorktown every time I went for a run or needed to let off steam and it was the best release.
Chloé Zuel, recently star of West Side Story and Six: The Musical, is currently appearing – when theatres re-open – in the musical, Hamilton, as Eliza Hamilton.