ListenUp: The New York Designer’s Playlist

The tunes that inspire 12 of our favorite Big Apple creatives

New York is a city steeped in music history—from salsa to hip-hop to punk, several genres were born here from bands that found artistic inspiration in the mix of disparate cultures and intense urban landscape. In turn, music itself prompts creative thinking. With that in mind, when Sonos Studio asked us to create a playlist about NYC, we looked to a few of our favorite local designers who told us which song they turn on when in need of a little stimulation. Below are the 12 tunes and the people who’ve selected them; you can also listen to the playlist via Cool Hunting Spotify.

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Wham!: Everything She Wants

Lindsey Adelman: “My favorite song changes every day. Right this second it’s ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham! Because I always want to be in a George Michael mood.” (Listen)

Connan Mockasin: I’m The Man, That Will Find You

Emily Sugihara of Baggu: “Makes me feel like I’m in the car driving to the beach, good vibes to channel while designing bags.” (Listen)

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Siskiyou: Pull It Away

Stefan Sagmeister of Sagmeister & Walsh: “Because I listened to it 120 times and it still does not get on my nerves. It is the only earworm I know that does not worm itself into my ear.” (Listen)

Blood Orange: It Is What It Is

Shanan Campanaro of Eskayel: “I love the sound of the song and in the lyrics it actually says, ‘So don’t be stressed out.’ (Listen)

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Orange Juice: Rip It Up

Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza of CHIAOZZA: “We are constantly shifting gears and trying to move forward with our work. After a big project, this song feels like a nice reset. The simple message reminds us not to rely on the things we’ve already done and to always keep experimenting and challenging ourselves. A sort of ‘don’t rest on your laurels.’ Their whole catalogue is great.” (Listen)

Ween: Bananas and Blow

Drew Seskunas of The Principals: “I found myself in a very similar situation once, this takes me back to that special place.” (Listen)

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U2: Pride

James Victore: “‘In The Name of Love’ and other loud power ballads; I can sing it REEAALLL loud.” (Listen)

Teen: Better

Theo Richardson of Rich Brilliant Willing: “A very moody song, but upbeat song. I’m not even sure what it really means, or why I like. I just get the feeling that something is about to happen when I listen to it.” (Listen)

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Earth, Wind & Fire: September

Tina Roth Eisenberg of swissmiss: “This song never fails to get me off my chair. I cannot not dance to this song. When I am in need of inspiration, all I need to do is trick myself into shifting focus, get up, get my blood flowing. ‘September’ does the trick.” (Listen)

Kurtis Blow: The Breaks

Kiel Mead of AmDC: “We put on ‘The Breaks’ by Kurtis Blow in the afternoon when we all need a good vibes pick-me-up. Some break for a coffee, we at the AmDC break for a two-step!” (Listen)

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Travi$ Scott: Skyfall (feat. Young Thug)

Snarkitecture: “We listen to a lot of music in the studio, this is just one of the more recent songs that gets turned up when it comes on. Both of these guys are making some of the most innovative music right now—shouts out to La Flame and Thugga for going in on this one.” (Listen)

Daft Punk: Alive 1997

Dror Benshetrit: “I LOVE IT! I haven’t played it in a while, but it gets me in the best mood and makes me dream!” (Listen)

ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam. Hear them all in our ListenUp playlist on Spotify.