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, Marieke Bianchi, who manages brand partnerships at Warner Music Nashville, shares the artists and songs that have impacted her life and career.
By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories
I’m Marieke Bianchi. I work at Warner Music Nashville and manage our brand partnerships. I moved to Nashville in late 2014 after almost 10 years working and living in NYC. Prior to WMN, I was a VP at a PR agency, working on food and beverage accounts. I love being a Nash Yorker and the apple of my eye is my little dog Mabel.
What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?
Judah & the Lion – “Take It All Back 2.0”
What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?
Sublime – “Doin’ Time”
What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?
Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?
Miley Cyrus – “Party in the USA”
What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?
Counting Crows – “Mr. Jones”
When I was young, my father and I drove around San Francisco in a convertible listening to August and Everything After. I remember the lyric from “Mr. Jones” …”Yeah, well you know, gray is my favorite color…I felt so symbolic yesterday.” I was just thrilled to have a song speak to my burgeoning pre-teen emo heartache. And today, the song and whole album hold up, in my opinion.
What five artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?
- I lived for movie soundtracks, such as Great Expectations, Romeo + Juliet, Can’t Hardly Wait, Godzilla, and Varsity Blues. They set the tone for playlist culture.
- Dave Matthews Band
- The Mamas & The Papas
- Bonnie Raitt
What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?
My life was centered around choir, drama, friends, shopping, and travel. I was very eager to get out of St. Louis and start my life somewhere new. Everything became clear for me when I finally got the guts to move to New York City.
What five artists best represent your favorite music today?
- Kings of Leon – “Beautiful War”
- Cole Swindell – “Flatliner”
- Adele – “When We Were Young”
- Brandon Flowers – “Can’t Deny My Love”
- Local Natives – “Colombia”
What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?
I have a pick from a small Cage the Elephant show here in Nashville that I attended with my father. He has had a big musical influence on me, specifically in teaching me that it’s OK to be a fan. At this show in particular, held at the tiny Basement East, we were front row and the lead singer Matt kept stage diving and trying to provoke the crowd. At one point, Matt shoved the microphone right at my dad, so he grabbed it and screamed into it. I am lucky to have a dad who loves rock-n-roll like me, and who knows that these experiences don’t come around often, so they must be seized and enjoyed.
How would you describe music’s role or importance in your life?
My first real memory of music playing a large role in my life is when my family moved from CA to VA in 1990 and we took a month to drive across country. We had a good handful of tapes to choose from, but the ones in highest rotation were Paul Simon’s Graceland, Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, lots of Billy Joel, Eagles, Rolling Stones, and of course, musicals! It was the first time music had provided a soundtrack to my life. Since then, it’s defined all major moments and now serves as my lifeblood both personally and professionally.
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.