Most of us have songs that help get us through the Herculean labours we face daily. Music is a drug that many people depend on for soul stimulation and enhanced performance. Just a shot of the right sounds in your system can help with the strength needed to do those 50 push-ups, stay up all night to finish an assignment, or perform your demanding duties at the office with ease.
So, what type of music and playlists are ideal for getting people pumped up and feeling super-productive? We asked our Flowstars and this is what they had to sing …
First up, we have Caroline Smith. Flow’s head of PR is all about the sweet sounds that go down like good pudding. Her selection includes Ukulele Anthem by Amanda Palmer, Did I Shave My Legs for This? by Deana Carter and Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders.
“All of these songs make me happy,” says Caroline, “and I am at my most productive when I am happy … Working away, listening and laughing, not second-guessing myself, just completely in the flow.”
Next on the dance floor is web developer Vashen Mooniyen. Those headphones of his pump the loudest when he’s listening to Strobe by Deadmau5, and Sun & Moon by Above & Beyond. “These are the types of songs that really get me to focus and get in my zone,” he says.
Vashen also listens to a number of podcasts to get the motivation he needs for the week ahead: “I generally start my week with a good podcast, like the Joe Rogan podcast and the Vergecast, to help me be more productive.”
Staying with the developers’ team, Hannah Nefdt also has a soundtrack for almost every aspect of her working day. “For when I need to get energised, I listen to Sinister Souls & Bratkilla. It’s dubstep music with inspiration from drum’n’bass, rave, breakcore and techno,” she says.
“When I drive home from work, I listen to Igorrr. His music helps me think of possible solutions for the next day. There’s also Tricky (a combination of trip-hop, electronic and experimental hip-hop) for when I want to be calmer and just be able to work under normal conditions.”
Cape Town-based content producer Pakamani Nombila gets his spirits lifted by gospel music. His favourite songs include Dawning of a New Day by Ntokozo Mbambo, I Surrender by Hillsong Worship and God Made You Beautiful by Beyoncé. “I listen to mostly gospel songs when I’m working; I personally find them less distracting and they bring me a sense of harmony as well,” he says.
Pulling up a chair, so to speak, next to Pakamani is Joburg-based paid media specialist Muchaneta Madavo. Gospel music artists such as Elevation Worship and ZimPraise leave Mucha feeling like she can walk on water and take on any task. “For me, my faith plays a crucial role in my day-to-day,” Mucha says.
“My playlist is a mix of sermons and music from my favourite gospel artists. I find that my playlist helps to keep me centred and focused on what I need to do. Examples include Sarah Jakes Roberts, Steven Furtick, Pastor Michael Todd.”
Still with the Joburg content team, content producer Selinah Seipei admits to having eclectic tastes. “My choice of music is actually very diverse and depends on my mood and what I’m working on,” she says. “One minute I’ll be listening to Beyoncé and the next, The National; from James Blake to Anderson .Paak; from Ariana Grande to DMX.
“And if I need to concentrate really hard, I listen to classical music such as Chopin and Tchaikovsky, or music soundtracks from movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, Amélie or Transformers.”
Kerry Robertson is all about positive vibes. Selinah’s fellow content producer gets her creative juices flowing by listening to the serene sounds of meditation music and classical music. Songs on her playlist include River Flows in You by Yiruma, Romantic Seville Lullaby for Guitar by Andrei Krylov, and La ville a des princes by Maxime le Forestier.
“The thing that I really look for in the music I work to is a consistent beat or rhythm,” reveals Kerry. “Sometimes Zen or meditation music can be unpredictable, with chimes or a gong every now and then, and then I move on from that playlist straight away. You can also get study or work music that has a consistent guitar or piano sound in it, which I love.”
The next Flowstar to crank up the volume is Flow’s business development manager, Roy Barford. Roy’s playlist is like a box of Bakers Choice Assorted biscuits and everyone can select their favourite flavour from it. “I like Ngud’ by Kwesta. This track always makes me feel good about South Africa – it has authentic attitude, and a beat that helps me vuka,” he says.
“I also like Dancing Again by TiMO ODV. I didn’t initially know this was a South African track; I just love the bassline and the attitude. My third choice is DJ Tiesto’s Adagio for Strings. This track was composed in the 1930s and has been remade many times, but Tiesto brings it to life better than anyone before: a classic melody with modern energy and state-of-the-art production.”
As for me, the tunes that I press play on often when I’m at my desk include Eminem’s Lose Yourself, Power by Kanye West, Win by Jay Rock and DNA by Kendrick Lamar.
Yes, I listen to a lot of rap music. It’s loud. It’s vulgar. And it annoys my grandmother. Rap is probably guilty of all the things it’s been accused of, but what I love about the genre is that it’s full of the best word-warriors to ever lift a weapon that’s mightier than the sword when it comes to writing lyrics.
Lose Yourself is about making the most of the opportunities you are given in life. Power allows me to see myself at the top of Mount Olympus with Zeus polishing my size sevens. Jay Rock’s Win tells you to bulldoze over obstacles and forge a path to victory. DNA makes me want to body-slam blogs, tackle articles and wrestle write-ups into submission. The beat on this track smacks harder than Madea’s backhand. The message encourages you to introspect. Know yourself. Make effective use of your strengths. Figure out how you can fortify those weaknesses.
So, no matter the genre (rock, rap, classical, gospel or other), music has the power to inspire and increase productivity to its optimum levels. Now go out there, visit the nearest music store or shop online, and discover the tune that will help you find your groove.