The record that changed my life

The ICMP music community give us the inside track on the songs that made them...


Record Store Day takes place every year to champion the UK's best independent music retailers. 

Taking place in 2019 on Saturday 13th April, the event will see the indie spirit of almost 200 shops celebrated. 

To mark the event, we asked the ICMP community of students, alumni, tutors and partners to name the records that changed their lives. Listen below... 

Janelle Monae: 'The ArchAndroid'

This album was such a game changer for me when I first heard it way back in 2011. I loved the concept around it, the narrative and obviously the music. It bends genre and style but it's all the transitions that tie together this weird combination of influences that make it work. Somehow, she manages to make an amalgamation of pop, classical, jazz, R&B and hip-hop absolutely slap - I love it. I can always come back to this album with songs like 'Dance or Die', 'Come Alive' and 'Tightrope' and hear something new every single time.
Scott Colcombe, staff member, BA Songwriting alumnus

Alcest: 'Ecailles de Lune'

My selection is ‘Écailles de Lune’ by Alcest. It beautifully captures the feeling of the ocean at night in the form of nostalgic, crisp guitars and a dark black metal edge. The medieval vibes they carry with them are stunning and give the music a powerful, ethereal sound. It really opened my eyes to new ways of writing music and capturing emotional landscapes seemingly from another world.

Josh Scurfield, BA Creative Musicianship alumnus

Jeff Buckley: 'Grace'

My record would have to be ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley. It’s one I grew up with my dad playing on long car journeys. Even as a child, I was just in awe of his voice and the raw pain in those songs that he makes sound so beautiful!

It’s a record I’ve carried through with me my whole life and I will never tire of it."

Gretchin, (aka Grace Hamberger), Music Business student

Nothing More: 'The Stories We Tell Ourselves'

What I love about these guys is the lyrics are so straightforward, but so hard hitting.
They continuously rearrange their songs and are permanently on the road. I suppose I would label this album (spoilers ahead for GoT fans in advance) the "Stark family of Rock Music". These guys to me are one of a handful of bands who are *honestly* keeping rock'n'roll alive at a time where I would argue that most rock bands have either changed direction, or are afraid to challenge the listener. 

Freddie Draper, Bass Tutor

Kanye West: 'Graduation'

I was a Beatles-obsessed high school student in the year or so preceding the release of this album. But on release, this pretty much changed my entire approach to music production and songwriting overnight. I saved up that summer, bought a Roland Fantom workstation and started experimenting with loops, samples, and synths in my own music. My favourite tracks are still 'Can’t Tell Me Nothing' and 'Big Brother'.

Gregor McWilliam, Vocal alumnus

Laura Marling: 'I Speak Because I Can'

Laura Marling’s ‘I Speak Because I Can’  is my favourite record as it was my first introduction to the female singer-songwriter. I think I know every lyric to every track on that album.

Laura Goldthorp, MA Songwriting student

John Mayer: 'Continuum'

I spent so many years learning and singing his songs and I know the record so well! It represents an important part of my life, when I decided to try and become a professional musician. It's one of those albums I can always get back to without feeling tired of it, because it's just very deeply rooted in me. I have the same feeling with the song 'Lovely Day' by Bill Withers, which is another of my favourites.

Francesca Confortini, Vocal Tutor

The record that I remember changed my life is John Mayer's 'Slow Dancing in a Burning Room'. I remember I was in the car when a friend of mine mentioned John Mayer and played this song. All I could feel was adrenaline inside as I heard the intro of the song. I'm not over it yet. 

Leire Gotxi Angel, MA Songwriting student 

Laurie Anderson: 'Stories From The Nerve Bible'

It thought me so much about using sound, music and words to tell stories and create atmospheres in order to communicate the sensation of memories.

Isobel Anderson, Songwriting Tutor

The Beatles: '1962-1966'

My record is '1962-1966' by the Beatles. At age six, this compilation album both introduced and ignited my love of music in all its forms.

'1962-1966' didn't changed my life - it proved to be the beginning of my life as I know it today.

Dan Green, Deputy Programme Leader for BA Songwriting

Metallica: 'Black Album'

I was 11 and had never head anything like this EVER! I loved it and still do. I bugged my mum for months to get a guitar. She finally caved and 22 years later I can still play every song from start to finish…and it never gets old. I loved some other records too: Foo Fighters' 'The Colour And The Shape', 'Make Yourself' by Incubus and 'Californication' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers are all favourites...

Charlie Thomas, Music Production Tutor

Aretha Franklin: 'Think'

I’m a huge 'Blues Brothers' fan and this was always my favourite song from the soundtrack. Aretha just delivered it with such sass and conviction: it really blew me away! Her records are so varied and she has an incredible range. The undisputed Queen of Soul.
Ruth McPherson, ISM

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' 

This was the record that made me want to pursue a life as a musician and still gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it.

Artistically and musically, when released, it was extremely innovative and enhanced the conversation between rock and funk. All of its tracks were flawlessly and creatively performed by each band member while there was also an exciting strength and chemistry between them. Production-wise, hand in hand with Rick Rubin, the record has this original, raw, crystal clear "just in front of you" sound, almost as it is happening live in your living room. It's so inspiring... 

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Which records changed your life? We'd love to hear your stories, please share them with us via our social channels... 

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by Jim Ottewill
April 4, 2019
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