Music That Helped Adia Victoria Envision How To Expand Her World

Our WNXP Nashville Artist of the Month for September is Adia Victoria. She didn’t pick up the guitar until age 21, but she’s been listening with an artist’s perceptiveness since a childhood spent pressed between the mountain foothills of South Carolina and the strictures of Seventh Day Adventist Church doctrine. She created a playlist for us featuring music that helped her envision how she could and would expand her world.

1.)   “God Bless The Child” by Blood, Sweat & Tears

“One of my boomer mama’s favorite songs to play in the car on long road trips. It would introduce little kid Adia to the idea that death was inescapable, the world will carry on even after my demise. It also showed me how art can be made even out of our most primal fears—no human experience was off the table.”

2.)   “The Simpsons Theme” by Danny Elfman

“Some of my earliest memories are watching The Simpsons with my big brothers. They were the one outlet where I saw the very self-serious ethos of the American brand of Christianity deftly called out for its absurdity and hypocrisy and masterfully disdained.”

3.)   “Oleo” by Miles Davis

“My introduction to Miles came courtesy of a friend in high school who I hitched rides with. He had great taste in music, and we always stopped at Arby’s after school. ‘Oleo’ allowed me to see the world beyond the confines of my small southern, Christian town. It allowed me to transcend the small-minded thinking that contoured my life.”

4.)   “Stay Away” by Nirvana

“This song led me to scribbling ‘God Is Gay’ on my blue jeans my sophomore year in high school. In the sort of groupthink, xenophobic, post-9/11 that defined my high school years, this act was treated as a high crime. I was suspended from campus for  a week. I regret nothing.”

5.)   “Fast As You Can” by Fiona Apple

“Smoked my first cigarette to this song. It hits me with the same intensity every time I hear it.”

6.)  “Lonely Avenue” by Ray Charles

“Sounds like signing the lease to my first apartment in midtown Atlanta in 2009. I listened to it on a loop that same night while I broke the tenant agreement by painting my living room metallic gold.”

7.)   “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James

“Black Southern Existentialism. It gave back to me a part of my soul I didn’t realize the church had starved off.”

8.)   “One In A Million” by Aaliyah

“Had me in 6th grade, new to public school, trying to exude the same effortless, Black girl cool, mysterious vibe she exuded throughout her public life. Seeing as how I played the tuba in the marching band, I sadly missed the mark.”

9.)   “Mystic Mind” by Those Darlins

“This song sounds like a Nashville I very much miss, written by a dear friend who I miss even more. Rest easy, Jess.”

10.) “Padam, Padam” by Edith Piaf

“First song I learned to sing in French.  It takes me back to my years as a French major in the library at Nashville State Community College, trying to wrap my mind around the subjunctive tense. I never nailed it. I dropped out mid semester to become a musician.”