#SelfCareSunday: A Playlist

Music has always been a calming force in my life. No other medium other than writing brings me a sense of calm.  When my spirit is down or when I need to de-stress and decompress, I play music.  When I’m angry and upset, I play music.  When I have a broken heart, I play music. When the world doesn’t make sense, I play music.  Music and writing are my therapists.  Music speaks the words I cannot say, and writing allows me to pour out the songs I cannot sing. 

 It’s not just the melody; it’s the lyrics that speak to my soul and my spirit.  My playlist and album choices change on a regular basis, but lately, I’ve found myself listening to a few artists on a regular basis.  I always play music when I’m writing, and their music inspires me creatively. Their music and the messages within also allow me to relax and de-stress on the days when I’m just overwhelmed by it all.  They also create music that puts some “pep in my step” when I need to remember who I am.  

Solange: “A Seat at the Table.”

I’ve been a huge fan of hers for so long, but I connected with this album; I don’t know if it was the timing of this album with where I was in life emotionally, mentally and psychologically but since its release, I still play this album on a regular basis.  The lyrics, melodies, and mood of this album are perfect for late nights that I spend pondering life and society. 

Mary J. Blige “Strength of a Woman.”

Many people say Mary creates better music when she’s going through, but I think Mary has an incredible gift. Her ability to process her pain through song is a reason so many connect with her.  Her music is authentic, even when it’s not pretty.  The song, Thank You” is my favorite on the album. The lyrics that stress being grateful for a failed relationship.  That is not an easy place to get to emotionally. She captures that emotion and the struggle to get to that place so authentically.  I love to play “Glow-Up” when I’m getting ready to start a new project, or even at the beginning of my day. 

Jill Scott “Woman.”

Jill Scott is an artist on constant rotation in my home. She’s one of my favorite artists. I love her poetry, her lyrics, and her music. She’s so real and authentic. Her vulnerability always shines through her music.  Lately, I’ve been playing songs from her latest album, Woman.  Say Thank you, Prepared and Pause are in regular rotation. She has so much more that I have on my playlist, but those are the ones I am listening to now.

Beyoncé “Lemonade.”

If you know me, you already know I’m a card-carrying member of the Beyhive.  I like most, were giddy with excitement when she released “Formation” but I was utterly speechless at the release of the visual album, Lemonade.  The themes, the poetry of the brilliant Warsan Shire and the visual connected to me in such a real way.  The subject of loss, betrayal, forgiveness, redemption, etc., literally spoke to where I was in my life at the time. I still listen to this album.  Notably, 6 inch, Love drought, Sandcastles, Forward and Freedom.

Nina Simone

One of my all-time favorites, Nina Simone’s voice is magical to me. Sometimes sad, sometimes haunting and sometimes pissed, her music carries a certain amount of weight and substance that gives you so much to take in.  Feeling Good, Four Woman are two of my favorites.


Ursula Rucker

She’s one of my favorite contemporary poets. I love her writing, her lyrical style and the way she balances the power of her words with the femininity of her voice.  Her song, “Lonely” is one of my favorite poems.




I don’t know how you have a self-care playlist and not have Sade on it. Her music makes me think, makes me relax and reminds me of love and love lost.   Cherish The Day is a classic.

Donny Hathaway

When the world doesn’t make sense, I play Donny.  His voice and the sadness and pain behind the lyrics allow me to have the cleansing cry I tend to try and hold in.  I just let it go listening to him. Sometimes that’s all you need after watching the news, reading the paper or logging on to social media.

Saul Williams

Another brilliant and amazing writer and poet.  I play “Patience” when I’m frustrated with society.  The song is like a call to arms. When my pen needs to turn into a sword, I play his music.   His music is revolutionary.

I have so many different songs for so many different moods and emotions.  What do you listen to when your spirit needs a boost? If you were to create a self-care playlist, what songs would be on it?

Until next time,

Take Care of yourselves and one another,

D. Sanders

Click here to check out my Self-Care Playlist on Tidal!