Michèle Ducray takes influence from every step of life, and every period of music. Here she revisits her favourite tracks, decade by decade.
Michèle Ducray is an observant artist and a careful listener. When she hears something that sticks, she melds it into her own creative output, like on her isolated release, Midnight. You know what they say. Talent recognises talent.
Ducray took a chance to share with us her favourite track of every decade, spanning multiple genres and musical styles. Below are her discoveries, in her own words. Take a look.
As someone who likes to refer to themselves as an “old soul”, I’ve built up quite the affinity for a variety of different artists and their music, throughout the continuum of time.
My sound has periodically been generated and influenced by the melding of their music, to produce what you hear before you, now. Even shaping and inspiring my recently released single, Midnight.
No soundscapes too extraterrestrial, no words too iconoclastic. I thought, what better way to get to know myself, as an artist, than to have a sneak peek into my hidden world of music, with a playlist specially curated – of my favourite songs throughout the decades; going as far back as the ’40s, till’ today.
’40s – If I Didn’t Care – The Ink Spots
What a way to kick off this playlist! This song has found me too many times throughout my life, more specifically, in my lowest of moments. It’s one of those songs I’ve always come back to. After first hearing it as part of The Shawshank Redemption film’s opening scene soundtrack, where Andy Dufresne is just sitting in his car listening to it, foreshadowing the events about to take place in the movie, I knew I’d be hooked for life.
This song actually introduced me to The Ink Spots. My brother and I share a deep love for this band. You’ll find us switching everything off and breaking out into this song in the middle of a DnB-themed party, haha! They’ve since become one of my favourite bands of all time.
The contrast between low and high vocals in this mesmerisingly haunting song about love – featuring Kenny’s beautiful, vibrant falsetto tones, is enough to break anyone’s heart. So it has a very well-deserved place on this playlist. Play it when you’re eating a tub of ice cream or slab of Whittaker’s at 3 am, after going through a bad heartbreak!
’50s – Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
Continuing on the theme of heartbreak songs, the more aptly named, Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, is one of my fave tunes, ever! The cool, bluesy keys feel and dominant bass tones, are enough to make anybody’s heart jump. The song was written in the ’50s based on a rumoured suicide note, where a distraught, heartbroken man took his life by jumping off a hotel balcony, in Miami.
The song was written in under an hour, which is a pretty amazing feat! I first heard it as part of another movie soundtrack, from Lilo & Stitch, one of the best-animated films, in my opinion – and I’m still obsessed!
Elvis, also being one of my top two artists to ever exist. I’ve had a mad crush on him forever, to say the least! That voice could capture even the most rigid of hearts.
’60s – Everyday People – Sly & The Family Stone
Ahh, the decade of free love and Beatle-mania! Yet it’s the funky sounds slingin’ from Sly & the Family Stone that truly get me riled up on the dance floor! Not only did they inspire my other favourite artist of all time, Prince, but they simply had the funkiest of souls and most amazing live shows I’ve witnessed, online. Oh, but to be in that crowd! Sly Stone was one cool cat and a total musical genius. Watching their playback shows even make me nervous, they’re just that good, haha! I really wish he’d make a re-appearance on the music scene, but alas…
I also love their bassist, Larry Graham, who has been credited for inventing the bass slapping technique, he collaborated with Prince in many of his musical endeavours, too. The song Everyday People is a highlight for me, as the message is a truly beautiful one, done in such a fun manner. It’s so relevant to what’s going on today in the world, as well. Sing this song in a bar full of people or on a road trip with the fam! It’ll go down super well.
’70s – Somebody to Love – Queen
This was truly one of the hardest decades for me to suss a favourite song for – as there was a lot of good music coming out at the time. In my opinion, the ’70s was the best decade for music, as they had disco, funk, rock n roll and the budding of electronica/pop sounds.
However, I’ve got to hand it to Queen’s, Somebody to Love, I’ve loved this song since I was a baby. You quite literally can never go wrong with a record by Queen, as well. It’s emotional, catchy and has been a staple song in so many karaoke bars, I couldn’t not choose it!
If you’re looking to engage in a heavy-duty lip sync battle, choose this song, you’ll win for sure!
’80s – The Beautiful Ones – Prince
This one was a no-brainer for me. If you know me, you know It’s gonna be Prince. Ask anyone around me and they’ll tell you all about my love of Prince! The song I’ve chosen above completely hooked me onto him. After he passed away, I watched a clip of The Beautiful Ones, from Purple Rain on YouTube and I haven’t been the same, since.
Everything about that song struck something deep within my core.
The video, included! It’s got these heavy synths, echo-like/reverb effects and has a true “live” feel to it. The purple smoke, costumes, heels, make-up and his suave moves, make my synaesthesia seriously kick in. I can just smell the ’80s! The words in the song also hit me hard, as I was absolutely crushed by his sudden death. His voice is one in a billion; that range – simply putting it, “wow”.
’90s – Everybody – Backstreet Boys
Spicing up this playlist even more-so, Backstreet’s back, alright! I’ve gotta hand it to the Backstreet Boys, this song is addictively good and super fun when you’re out with your friends and want to choreograph some badass, yet cringe y, dance routines. The music video is also insanely colourful, I have a deep fascination for Halloween-themed things, as you can tell. It’s my go-to sixth-grade “dance battle/let’s throw it back” song. Fun fact! The video was inspired by Michael Jackson’s, Thriller, one of my other favourites!
’00s – Without Me – Eminem
No playlist is complete without a bit of Eminem, as per the song title. I chose this song, as it’s my favourite song of his and not to mention, one of my musical awakenings, especially into the rap world. I spent most of my very young life-based in China, for my parent’s work – and I got really into Eminem during this time (“where were the parents at”, haha). I think I had an entire album memorised line by line at one point, which got me sent to the principal’s room on many different occasions!
I remember that I became best friends with this German boy at the time and we would just rap Eminem all the time, in really strict/business-based environments, assemblies, on the streets of Beilun, we were as thick as thieves and the biggest troublemakers you’d ever seen. It takes me back to a time in life where I was exceedingly rebellious and where I made some amazing, life-long, internationally-based friends.
’10s – Blue Jeans – Lana Del Rey
Out of the many talented artists to come out of the 2010s, I’d have to say Lana Del Rey would be my favourite, hands-down! She has a hauntingly-majestic feel to her music and most of her visuals capture the 70’s so well. Her lyrics are also very relatable and quite profound. She has such a unique sound.
I listened to Blue Jeans feverishly during a time where I was reading a lot of Wattpad, haha! I was consumed in the fantasy of ever-lasting love, i.e. his name’s “Damien”, he’s a vampire/supernatural witch and he’s a misunderstood bad-boy with a heart of gold”, kind of story. It kind of served as my backing track. It’s certainly a song you’d find yourself dreaming to.
’20s – Midnight – Michèle Ducray
What better way to end this playlist off, than with a casual plug-in of my latest single, Midnight? Which I’d love you all to check out, btw! This one means a lot to me and is my OG baby. Writing this song, mid-COVID lockdown, it carves out a story of isolation, one that I feel people would be able to
It’s a chill, electronic-based song, one that I feel has paved the way for me to tell my story as an artist. For most effect, listen to this song whilst lying outside at night, gazing up at the stars or driving at night (safely, of course). I also had someone comment quite recently that they heard this song outside in a McDonald’s parking lot
and it was raining, it seemed to really hit home for them in that environment, so there’s certainly another opportunity to do so there!
Listen to Midnight below:
And listen to the playlist below: