If I had to pick one genre of music to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be country. I grew up singing along to Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, and George Strait on the old tape deck in my dad’s truck. Then, I taught myself guitar. The first two songs I learned were “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. “Folsom Prison Blues” is still my favorite song. Everything about it — the words, the rhythm, the melody — is simple, yet it’s a timeless piece of music that never gets old and will always be played. The story is so vivid that you can see it in your mind as you listen to the song. Who needs musical frills when you have that power? In honor of World Music Day, and in honor of Johnny Cash, I asked my team to share their favorite music songs with you. Feel free to steal them for your summer playlist!
‘Wherever You Are (Donde Quiera Que Estés)’ by Selena
Rosie’s favorite artist is the late Mexican superstar, Selena Quintanilla. “Her entire aura was mesmerizing. She was charismatic, humble, talented, and kind, and her laughter was contagious,” she says, adding that she still remembers hearing about Selena’s death in third grade. “As a Mexican American, role models were scarce for young girls like me at that time and that is why her death was such a huge blow.”
‘La Carcacha’ by Selena y Los Dinos
Jacky also shouted out Selena and called “La Carcacha” “one of the best cumbias to exist.” All of her favorite music is in Spanish. “When I was about 6 years old, I vividly remember the long trips to Mexico me and my mom would take in her little red Chevy Cavalier. She had a glove box full of cassettes of different artists like Juan Gabriel, Miguel y Miguel, Alicia Villarreal, Ana Gabriel, and Joan Sebastian. All Mexican legends,” she says.
‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver
Jacqueline grew up with a different soundtrack: Her parents’ favorites like The Beatles, ABBA, Jimi Hendrix, Barbra Streisand, and Queen. When she started picking her own music, Kelly Clarkson and Fall Out Boy made the list. But her favorite song is John Denver’s country anthem. “Every time I’m on a road trip, I have to listen to it,” she says.
‘You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)’ by New Kids on the Block
Jessica’s love of concerts started with a childhood trip to see New Kids on the Block. She remembers wearing a band T-shirt and singing along! Since then, she’s seen dozens more shows. “I grew up in a household that preferred playing music over watching TV. We tend to do the same at our house with our girls, who know how to have a good dance party!” she says.
‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ by Coolio
“Gangsta’s Paradise” is Ashley’s go-to karaoke song, but she’s also a self-proclaimed “Swiftie.” “[Taylor Swift] is someone I can relate to as I navigate life, love, relationships, self-reflection, and life’s passions,” she says. “I have deep respect and admiration for her courage to re-invent herself while remaining true to who she is as a person.”
‘MMMBop’ by Hanson
Cristina’s first-ever concert was a local radio station bash, and for her, Hanson was the highlight. “Ashley and I stood in line for what felt like hours in a sea of people. We made concert signs of the Hanson symbol and wore Hanson T-shirts. I couldn’t tell you a single other artist in the lineup that night because all that mattered was hearing ‘MMMBop’ in person,” she says.