[Artist Picks] What Music is Photographer Emma Simmons Listening To?

Welcome to the second-ever Artist Picks feature. I was hoping to make this a more regular feature, but, totally understandably, it takes people a while to prepare their list of what could be their Top 10 Songs of All Time. To refresh your memories, let me recap what this feature entails. We are asking people, be they artists, listeners, or fans, what they would do if they were stranded on an island with an iPod that held only 10 songs. Which songs would they pick and why?

[Photo Credit]

Emma Simmons is a Photographer based in San Francisco, California. She is pursuing her dream of capturing the beauty of life on camera, and loving every minute of it. Since finishing school, she has worked as an Assistant and traveling wing-woman to several world-famous photographers. She has mastered the art of portraiture, wildlife, and landscape photography. Here are some links to her work:




And on top of all of this, she just so happens to be my sister! 🙂

Here’s what she had to say:


If I only had 10 songs on my iPod…

Being someone who LOVES to listen to music, be it sitting at my computer editing photos, driving in my car, sitting on a train or walking, I love having music right there, so limiting it to 10 songs was a little difficult, but I decided to categorize why I would choose each song. Sitting here at my desk, I chose to write down the numbers 1-10 on a napkin that was next to me. I labeled each number with a category: Dance to, Whistle to, Relax to, Daydream to, Drive to, Sing to, Smile to, Frolic to, Travel to, and the YOU song.

1. Dance to: ”Say Hey (I Love You)” (ft. Cherine Anderson) – Michael Franti and Spearhead

Last Labor Day I was in Aspen with my boyfriend and best friend. We went to hear Michael Franti, who was playing at Aspen Jazz Fest, and it could not have been a better night. While he performed (outdoor show), the moon was rising over the mountains and dancing with a cold beer in hand was the picture perfect setting.

“Say Hey (I Love You)”

2. Whistle to: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – Bobby McFerrin

An all-time favorite. I did a summer program back in high school, living on a 69’ sailboat in the Bahamas, tagging sea turtles and sharks. The first mate of the boat didn’t allow whistling. I’m not sure if you have ever been told not to whistle, but when you have that freedom taken away from you for 3 1/2 weeks, you realize how much you tend to whistle in life…

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

3. Relax to: “Caribbean Blue” – Enya

My family grew up listening to Enya NON-STOP, literally! We would wake up to Enya playing in the house and go to sleep to Enya playing, the CD was the only one in the CD player and repeat must have been a new function on CD players because it was on repeat for months at a time. I love listening to her music – it helps me slow down (which is hard to do at times!)

“Caribbean Blue”

4. Daydream to: “The Wind” – Cat Stevens

I was having a hard time picking my perfect daydream song, but “The Wind” is one of those songs that just never gets old. I find it too short, but it’s about the journey, which my mind is constantly fixed on.

“The Wind”

5. Drive to: “Settler” – Balmorhea

I can really drive to anything. If there are words to sing at the top of your lungs to, even better! But, a little over a year ago, a friend sent me this song and I had this vision in my mind of one of my all-time favorite memories: driving my parents’ 1982 Range Rover to this lake in Maine with one of my closest friends. We would have the windows rolled down and most likely would be listening to the Top Gun soundtrack (which is the exact opposite song choice). We would park the car on the side of the road, jump into the lake for an afternoon “dip” and then continue on with a beautiful drive with wet hair drying in the crisp Maine air and summer sun in the REARVIEW! Somehow this song is so peaceful that it reminds me of growing up (although I still do this routine with my friend) and beautiful days in Maine.


6. Sing to: “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson

I guess if you are told you can’t whistle, you can always snap your fingers! Absolutely incredible lyrics and inspirational for sure!

“Man in the Mirror”

7. Smile to: “Way You Do The Things You Do” – UB40

UB40 is one of my favorite bands. EVER. Seeing them live (minus the lead singer) was one of the best nights I had while living in NYC. I totally believe in doing things your own way. It’s okay, you too can be custom!

“Way You Do The Things You Do”

8. Frolic to: “Wide Open Spaces” – Dixie Chicks

I went on a trip with my family before the iPod existed…and being that I lOVED listening to music, I decided to bring my whole CD collection with me (not smart-lugging that weight around at that age…). For some reason, though, I gravitated towards one CD: The Dixie Chicks. My two older sisters and I went on a long hike one day and found a huge field, which we happily “frolicked” in. This song will always remind me of this unique experience.

“Wide Open Spaces”

9. Travel to: “Praan” – Gary Schyman

Ever since the YouTube phenomena, “Where The Hell Is Matt,” surfaced, I have LOVED this song. Playing it on your iPod in the airport, on a crowded bus, an open-aired market, it works for any setting!


10. The YOU Song: “Kokomo” – The Beach Boys

I believe everyone has a song that people hear and immediately think of you. A family friend hosted a lunch for me when I was graduating from high school and as party favors, she gave out cds, with one song on the CD to remind them of me. That song was “Kokomo.” I’ve claimed it as my song ever since!



As always, keep your eye out for the next On The iPod feature!

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“Am I Wrong” – QuESt

I believe I was traveling when this song was released…to think I nearly missed the chance to post a song by one of my favorite hip hop artists of the past 2 years. This beat is downright spectacular, and as always, QuESt brings his all – his emotions, his mastery of rhyming, his story. He’s honest, he’s real, he’s personable…I love finding this in hip hop. He’s not rapping about the gold on his wrist or the shooting in front of his building. Listen carefully, he’s got a lot to say. Oh, and this kid is only 19 years old.

Download “Am I Wrong”

BONUS: Another new joint from QuESt: “Everybody Has A Story”

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“Please Don’t Go” – Mike Posner

I was having a debate with my friend the other day, who I should mention is one of Mike Posner’s frat brothers and best friends. We were talking about Mike’s music, and I was making the argument that Mike, also a friend of mine, needs to create more original music. Given that he is a producer, and we know he has the talent and creative mind, he should step back from doing so many covers and produce more of his own work. Said friend told me to wait for his album to drop. So, here I wait, anxiously, for Mike’s album, 31 Minutes To Takeoff, to be released (on August 10th). 

Meanwhile, I got my hands on this leak from his album, which you might recognize if you watched any of his Webisode Series videos. True to form, Mike brings to our ears his unique voice that the crowds are absolutely eating, and his production is on spot. There are a few areas where I think he could add another dimension or two, and towards the end I wish he didn’t try to become Robin Thicke’s little brother with slightly less gifted talents (read: when he tries to hit the really high notes and be experimental with his voice…I wasn’t ready for that. Not feeling it.), but other than that, I applaud him for his work on this track. 

Lastly, I caught a sneak peek of another song on his album, “Cheated,” which comes after he says a few words about his upcoming album and thanks his fans. Sounds like it could be good. Also sounds like Mike still has a ton of animosity toward his ex-girlfriend, the same girl he alluded to in “Red Button.” These are my assumptions, but I can’t be too far off, right? Poor girl’s getting slammed if he truly is aiming his words at her. And now his words are reaching crowds, literally, all over the globe. Goes to show you have to watch your every move these days.

Download “Please Don’t Go”

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Guest Post: Confusion, from Pigeons and Planes

Just the other day, Confusion from Pigeons and Planes won “best choice of Summer Song” by a blogger on the Blogwave Summer Mix through a poll hosted here on Sunset. He won fair and square with 25% of the vote, and as a prize, he was able to pick the next summer jam! Ready to hear what he picked?

Winner of Confusion’s heart is DOM’s summer hit, “Living In America.” If yall haven’t heard this yet, It’s a perfect summertime song, and with 4th of July this weekend…what more could we ask for?

If I don’t hear this blaring from multiple speakers this weekend, I’m going ape shit and shutting down the blog, because you people just aren’t right.

Well, maybe not, but for real…great song. Big ups to Confusion for an epic song choice!

“Living In America” – DOM

(Right click and save linked file to download)

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Mashup Monday!

I can start some Mondays off with a bang…other Mondays, it’s the beginning of the countdown to the weekend. This is going to be one of those. Partly because I’m still recovering from this past weekend (one of the best of my entire life), and partly because it’s a 3 day weekend in America! Either way, here’s the weekly picker upper for Monday. Sorry it’s a bit late in the day. As always with the mp3 files, to download, right click and save the link/file.

1. “The Wavin’ Flag Mashup” (K’Naan vs Kings of Leon vs Matisyahu vs Whitney Houston vs Counting Crows vs Fettes Brot vs Absolute Beginner vs Xavier Naidoo vs Gentleman vs Jamaram) – Mashup Germany

It’s too bad the US team lost in the World Cup. But Wavin’ Flag was a great song even before the World Cup, so I don’t find it at all depressing to put this song up.

2. “Trey-dio Departmentz” (Trey Songz vs The Radio Dept) – The Hood Internet

The Hood Internet. Consistently one of the best mashup artists out there.

3. “Maps To Chicago” (Sufjan Stevens vs Yeah Yeah Yeahs) – Radioface

Can’t ever get enough of either the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Sufjan Stevens. Both in one song? I’ll take it.

4. “The Fly Scientist ft. Page & Silver Medallion (Drake vs Coldplay) – October’s Very Cold (Alternative download link)

One of the top tracks from last week’s Mashup Monday mix.

5. “Juicy Dollars” (Aloe Blacc vs Notorious BIG) – DJ Dizzy (Alternative Download link)

Once again amazed that I’m entertained by a Biggie mashup. There are too many out there, but Dizzy pulls through on this one!

6. “I Want To Get Away” – Mashup-Germany

Delicious mashup.

7. “I Can’t Stand Sultans of Swing” (Dire Straits vs The Police) – Go Home Productions

It’s extremely refreshing to hear a mashup like this. Digging it.

Enjoy the week, and only 4 days until the weekend! Word.

Bonus Edit:

Drake & Coldplay – The Fly Scientist Feat. Page & Silver Medallion (Prod. By Chi Duly) from RemixTheVideo on Vimeo.

Many tracks courtesy of Earmilk.

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