My Empowered Playlist

(This post got lost in my drafts. I’m still going to share it though.)

music is art

One of my bucket list goals of 2016 was to make a youtube playlist of all the songs I found personally empowering. I wanted to memorize those songs so I could repeat the lyrics like mantras when I heard the melody in my head. I believe that what you tell yourself in your mind does heavily affect how you see yourself and process your life, so I wanted to give myself some musical tools to battle my own self-destruction. Considering I am a VERY musically-driven soul, I felt this would be a creative and personally empowering way to help rewire what I tell myself.

These are some of my favorite songs from that playlist.


Rise by Selena Gomez

At first, this melody didn’t do anything for me, but I only had to listen to the lyrics to change my mind. I remember riding my bike in the crisp winter night air over the gently rolling hills of the neighborhood park when I first discovered this: it made me feel like I was actually flying! It lifted my spirits as I listened to uplifting emotions and the rhythm made my feet pedal even when my legs were screaming on the fifth, sixth, seventh loop down that hill. This song has become a happy place for me.

Like the air you can
Rise from the rubble with your mind, you can hover
You can rise like the tide, like the heat it in the summer
Yes, I know there are those who will wanna bring you down
But you can rise with your mind and make your higher power proud
You can rise, like the air you can rise

Rise by Katy Perry

Another song by this title, but wow it’s so powerful in another way. Katy truly gives voices to survivors, to the ones who feel the heaviness of being beaten down yet keep getting up, who continue to try. I really love how dark this song sounds and yet how empowering the words are. One of my favorite combinations in these types of songs.

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

Alive by Sia

You will find a lot of Sia on this list. Her songs are some of the rawest and empowering I’ve yet to find. “Alive” is a personal favorite, one that I listened to a lot early last year when I was biking to school. Its steady beat physically drove me to better fitness while the sound of a real fighter was in lyrics and vocal work. “I’m still breathing” followed by the joyful, almost vengeful cry of “I’m alive” seemed stolen right from my heart. This song made me want to keep trying, keep recovering, to keep breathing. The fighter in me who is so happy to just still be alive. “You took it all but I’m still breathing”–that there is my heartbeat. ❤

The Greatest by Sia

In my humble opinion, Sia has some of the best lyrics and musical sound right now in modern music. So much of her music is truly uplifting, while still satisfying my need for the minor key to present in melody, as you can hear in this song. Between the music and the lyrics, this is magic for me emotionally and mentally. I love the positive chants left to echo in my mind. I love how the song is not “I AM the greatest” in a prideful way, but is rather saying “I’m FREE to be the greatest” as in almost giving oneself permission to blossom into something you can’t even comprehend. ❤

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

Unstoppable by Sia

Never tell yourself you’re worthless. Empower yourself instead. While God is the one that gives us the strength to keep fighting, I want to give myself the mental edge in thinking such powerful thoughts as this song gives. ❤

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, I’m unstoppable today

Hold Tight by Madonna

This is a very personal choice of a song. It’s more something I’ve come to rely on after I left my boyfriend behind for the first time in May. I had a lot of fear being so far apart; but one thing I knew: I really loved him and he loved me. I wanted to hold tight to that. For me personally, this song took the words out of my heart for him, and yet also reassured me the more I listened to it. That I recognized my confidence in us and our love for each other. Thousands of miles couldn’t stop it and this song still helps remind and uplift me even now.

A million miles later, we walked through the valley of the darkest night
We made it through the fire, scarred and we’re bruised but our hearts will guide us.
Together, I know our love’s gonna last forever, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
We live with no limits, we’ll dance in the middle of a freezing rain
With you and I in it, we’ll survive the eye of a hurricane.
Together, we’re gonna make this better, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
Hold tight, as long as your by my side.
Hold tight, everything’s gonna be alright.
Only love, only love tonight
Like stars we’re burning so bright,
Hold tight everything’s gonna be alright.

Stand By You by Rachel Platten

This song brings me to tears because the words feel ripped right from my heart to all who I call a friend or hold dear, and who hold me dear in return. It’s less a personal mantra on self and more a mantra about how one wants to treat those they love. I heard this a year ago and singing its lyrics have always helped me express how much love and empathy I have in my heart for those around me and it encourages and empowers those feelings.

Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you

Hall of Fame by The Script

This is actually a long time favorite of mine, so it was less of a “discovery” and more a song I just couldn’t leave off my list. This is the definition of a classic uplifting song, from the major chord to the empowering “you can do it” like chanting. Its almost cheesy, something you’d hear in the climax of a feel-good movie maybe. But hey, we all need a cheesy movie moment, where we’re Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs feeling like we can do anything. This my song for those moments.

You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don’t wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself
Standing in the hall of fame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame

Just like Fire by P!nk

I had nearly forgotten this song till later into the year when I heard the lyrics on the radio. A family relative recently described memories of child me as “a ball of fire.” And honestly remembering, it’s a great description. As a kid, I had so little that held me back. I lived life loudly, boldly, unafraid to express every bit of emotion and thought in my mind. I was just like fire. Besides maturing since then, I’ve been smothered a lot too, through fear and depression and insecurities of all sorts. But I really want to get back to being like a ball of fire again. So, I’ll keep singing this song to myself to I’m finally who I was made to be. Cause no one can be just like me anyway.

Just like fire, burning out the way
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way
Just like magic, I’ll be flying free
I’mma disappear when they come for me
I kick that ceiling, what you gonna say?
No one can be just like me any way
Just like fire, uh

Before I end this, I just want to pose a question for everyone to think about quietly to themselves: What are the words and lyrics you allow into your head and why? I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to that question. I just think it’s a great question. ❤


The Greatest by Sia

Wow.I just flipping love it; the rhythm and beat and lyrics and dancing and instruments and emotion are just all too perfect for me. I love it.

I freaking love Sia so much; her music the past three years has really touched me; I’ve found a lot of emotional connection in her lyrics and melodies. I just feel really at home when I listen to her music. There’s room for me; I’m understood I guess. And Maddie’s modern dancing and ability for expression are incredible too. I was so happy when I saw this new music video a week ago!! ❤

The extra level eeiry-ness is incredible too, considering in many ways this feels like aa tribute to the Orlando shooting. So, just wow.


ABC Challenge || “M”


Move Your Body by Sia. I just love Sia so much; her songs are just so memorable and powerful to me. This is another one of my biking songs, too. Such a great tempo and beat!! ❤

Me & My Girls by Selena Gomez. This is such a unique song from Selena Gomez and it sounds so raw and teasing and fun. I love her Spanish origins coming through in this song; it makes me want to go wild with a bunch of a good girlfriends for the night.

Magnets by Lorde. At one point I couldn’t stop listening to this song; the beat and tempo are RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. I absolutely love beats Lorde can create in her songs.


A Man For All Seasons Theme from A Man For All Seasons. This is actually a really good film and I remember being really spellbound by the music a child for whatever the reason. I just really love this theme; the harpsichord is just beautiful; it’s so haunting and medieval.

Mirror’s Edge Theme from Solar Fields. I WROTE A SHORT STORY TO THIS SOUNDTRACK. I love it so much. It really gave me the underwater vibe I was needing to immerse myself into the dreamscape setting I was writing. Just so beautiful and airy!

Makoto Kowata from Flying Witch. Screw this anime for actually being so enjoyable. This has become one of my favorite relaxing, comfort songs! Beautiful piano, guitar, and flute! ❤


Merchant Prince by Thomas Bergerson. Hands down one of my favorite songs of all time. I generally don’t care of slow songs, but this one builds up to a epic finale and I’ve never grown tired of it in over five years of listening to it. Just a pure epicness.

Morrigan by Adrian von Ziegler. I love how this song starts off more steady and soft, and then swells into more rhythm adventure/quest/mountain conquering like music with the swell in tempo and instrument usage. Such a rich, dark celtic song. Also the bird cry throughout is a fantastic addition and adds excellent atmosphere.


Misbehavin’ by Pentatonix. This song is actually very personal to me; the words hold a lot of meaning to my personal life and my personality and stance on loyalty. Besides this just being a really enjoyable song by PTX, its just a incredibly relevant song to me. I love songs like that! <3<3<3

Meadowland by Amethystium. I remember the first time I heard this when it began on Pandora and I loved it immediately! Just UGH. I LOVE IT.

Mama by EXO. Hands down on the best KPop songs ever, at least in my book. Everything about this music video and song is stellar. I love the unique monk-like chanting throughout especially. This is such a powerful song with POWERFUL vocal work and it’s just amazing to listen to. Everything else is just fantastic: sets, costumes, dancing, special effects, power. Just wow. ❤ In so many ways, Kpop blows western music videos WAY out of the water.


Maria from The Sound of Music. Classic. Classic. Classic. My childhood. Ugh. I can still sing this without missing a beat. Ugh. Just classic.

Marian the Librarian from The Music Man. Ahhhhh this musical. And this song is great; sadly I can’t find a good full version; in its entirety there is some AMAZING choreography with the dance number, but the song by itself is almost just as good.



ABC Challenge || “E”


Elastic Heart by Sia. I actually had a hard time finding songs that begin with E, but I’m happy that I eventually did track down a few favorite to share today! My pop song today is by Sia, her popular Elastic Heart. I enjoy this song a lot, but Sia is always great. ❤


The Exodus from The Ten Commandments. Grew up on this epic starring Charlton Heston as Moses. This is the classic track that plays during the actual exodus montage we observe all the many slaves walking free. Love this old classic soundtrack, full of strings and brass!


Echoes in Rain by Enya. Enya again! I actually really love this song though so I remembered it to include it. I listened to this on repeat A LOT last semester while working on my math. It was soothing without being a bore and I hummed along with it a lot. Humming interesting songs while doing my homework really saved my skin last semester.


The Elven Treasure by Peter Gundry. I actually have shared this once here on the blog before it’s just SO GORGEOUS AND A HUGE FAVORITE OF MINE I HAVE TO SHARE IT AGAIN. That harp at the beginning, followed by the amazing percussion beat and crying violin. Just ugh, the feels I have for this song. I can feel such agony and mystery and fantasy in this. ❤


Everybody Dance Now. UGH. NOBODY HATES THIS SONG. NOBODY COULD. I dare you try not dancing to this. I dare you.


Epiphany from Sweeny Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I dearly love this super dark musical; Johnny Depp is fantastic as always. However, I loved the soundtrack long before I saw the movie–this song has always been on of my favorites. It’s such a turning point for the main character as he realizes the man who’d stolen his family had escaped his blade. Jonny gives this song such raw anger. That dawning realization of the pure depravity of man is just so intense…and Sweeny completely letting go of moral restraint. Just wow, what a powerful musical piece.

Feels funny ending on such a dark note, but there’s no other song I’d rather share for this one but Epiphany, so it will have to do. XD


ABC Challenge || “A”

Anna Elizabeth on Facebook invited me to share in her ABC music challenge and I’m totally game to join in when I can. It’ll be a great way to help me find something post as I settle into my new job too. Today’s letter is A, so I’ll be posting songs that start with A below according to genre categories as I can find them. ❤


Alive by Sia. This song is incredibly personal to me. There have been so many points in my life when I’ve felt beat tp the pulp and left for dead emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But I’ve always tried to keep fighting. So Sia’s lyrics in “Alive” really connected with me. Its a really fight song; fantastic percussion and tempo that makes you want to take up kick-boxing, with delicate piano blended with electropop. And Sia’ voice is just amazing. “I’m still breathing. I’m still breathing. I’m still breathing. I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive.”


Almost Home from Finding Dory. I’m obsessed with the Finding Dory soundtrack right now. It stands up well with my long time favorite from Finding Nemo (as does the movie itself.) This is a softer, quiet song with some brief moments of suspense.


Adiemus. I’m going to classify this as classical. XD This is a long time favorite of mine, I remember stumbling over a piece of it as a teenager while on one of those bunny trail-trips through Wikipedia links. The few moments of vocal work stunned me and a few years later I was able to find the full song. It’s very otherworldly and heavenly, tinged with a bittersweetness that’s incredible to listen too.

country instrumental

Autumn Love by Thomas Bergerson. I don’t listen to much country, so I thought I’d make this genre a personal change: either fpr another soundtrack or an independent’s work! I had several candidates for this song, but I chose this one because it’s so sweetly romantic. It’s quiet and blossoming and warm, like the beginning of a new season.


Always with Me from Spirited Away. This is kind of a freebie genre, so today I’m sharing the peaceful, incredibly memorable and moving song from the end of Spirited Away. It’s far from being my favorite Studio Ghibli movie, but this song as