Music To Inspire

May 10, 2011

Lots of people ask me how to create a mood in the home. It’s very, very easy. Turn on some music! In addition to food (cooking makes the home come alive), cozy nooks, lighting, including candlelight, and dimmer switches (a must!), music is another instant way to add a special vibe to your home. Think about it: when you are in a cafe with great music, doesn’t it feel better to be there? When you’re shopping say, Anthropologie, don’t you feel more inspired because of the sounds floating through the air and into your ears? I do. Music sparks imagination and definitely puts me in a better frame of mind if I happen to be in a rather bleh mood.

Music To Inspire

Lately, I’ve been listening to these cd’s shown on my table above and below. I also found another favorite, a Dutch jazz singer (not shown), who I’m a bit obsessed with at the moment and her name is Caro Emerald and I love her song Night Like This. You can see a video and listen to it here.

In addition to lovely Caro Emerald, these are the tunes I have on rotation in my office linked below. I hope you find some new music in my collection to inspire you at home, on the road, etc. You’ll notice half of it is in German. I listen to German music because 1) It’s good! and 2) I’m studying the language and it helps me while I’m living here to connect more to the culture and language. If you like diversity in what you listen to, want to be transported to another place, or simply want to brush up on a foreign language I also encourage you to listen to foreign language music or even music in English from different parts of the world like Australia or the UK. It’s inspiring to hear what people are being influenced by outside of your home country. I started listening to French pop when I was around 12 years old, thanks to that store Limited Express,  now called Express. Do you remember it had a distinctly French flair at one time? I would buy their French pop music compilations along with my clothes! It was great and I felt very international. For a young girl living in South Carolina at the time, I felt quite international and chic. :)

Music To Inspire
Shown above: Hurts (great song/video), Charlotte Church (Welsh singer, in English): Watch this video to get a feel for her vibe, Adele, Swedish House Mafia (from Sweden music in English), Pixie Lott (English pop singer) and Katy B (also English pop).

Music To Inspire

Clueso (German – love his chilled out sounds), Lisa Bassenge (German), Lena (German pop star from Hannover where I live but she sings in English), Frida Gold (German – watch this video to get a feel for what she does, love it!!!), Annett Louisan (German, you must check out her brilliant website, some clippings below – but don’t miss THIS VIDEO – interiors eye candy all the way!!!), Anna Depenbusch (German), Sia (from Australia), Chapel Club (from England), Lenka (from Australia).

Music To Inspire

Photos of lovely German singer Annett Louisan who lives in Berlin.

What are you listening to for inspiration lately?

(images: top three: holly becker for decor8 bottom: annett louisan)


  • Reply Kathy May 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I see Adele in your mix – try Vicci Martinez. She sang a rockin’ version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on the hit show “The Voice” – her music is soulful. Simply can’t work without good tunes so thanks for the suggestions!

  • Reply Jeff May 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for the great selection of artists. I recently love to listen to Jamestown Revival when working on Etsy. They have such a blues, soft rock feel that just makes me happy.

  • Reply Jane May 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Rufus Wainwright’s “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” makes me feel like a creative superstar and puts a good dose of humor in the room!
    Listening to it now!

    Love your suggestions. . . I need some fresh music b/c old music gets so ASSOCIATED that it can actually be a block to feeling fresh and in the new day. THanks and good idea!

  • Reply Christiane May 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Ohh, I love Clueso! He is great, although I liked him even more when his sound was more hiphop. I will never forget his concert, one of the best memories in my life, seriously.

  • Reply Hanna Tang May 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Hi! I am listening to Taken by Trees, Colbie Caillat, Sarah Barielles and Corrine Bailey Rae for inspiration especially with music. I tend to want to be like them unique but beautiful and what I called INSPIRATION. I am from the Philippines by the way. I really love your blog because it gives me passion and inspiration about life and living it in a positive way.

  • Reply Amy - pride of place May 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Such a good point and I often don’t think of putting music on around the house any more. I did on sunday morning though and my mood was lifted instantly. :)

  • Reply jen {fuzzy sushi} May 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I’m *in* Germany and haven’t heard of a lot of these! I’m excited to check them out. I like a lot of pop-ier, club-ier music and I’ve been listening to a lot of Culcha Candela (sing in German, Spanish and English) and Sexion D’Assaut (in French) lately.

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold May 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    thankyou for sharing your vast and varied collection, holly..nothing creates the perfect mood quite like great music!! have a lovely day..xx meenal

  • Reply Steffi May 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    hey holly, i love the post, but the emerald video isn’t anymore on clipfish, do you maybe have an other link? would love to see/hear it… xo steffi

  • Reply liz seay May 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    i read your blog for inspiration! and i listen to these artists for inspiration:

    The Civil Wars-
    Poison & Wine (ep)
    and Barton Hollow (full album)

    The Wailin’ Jennys-
    Bright Morning Stars (album)

    Breanne Duren-
    Sparks (ep)

    Stranded Under Endless Sky (album)
    Chasing after Shadows (album)

    The Innocence Mission-
    My Room in the Trees (album)

    seriously, all these artists are beautiful, vibey and inspiring!

  • Reply Dulci Dantas May 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you very much for your music suggestions! At this moment I’m in love with The Beatles (specially Magical Mistery Tour with the beautiful song Penny Lane, Hello, Goodbye and Strawberry Fields Forever). And George Harrison and his inspirational-spiritual songs My Sweet Lord, All things must pass (amazing!) and Give me Love. These guys are forever! kisses!

  • Reply ninocka May 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I just looove Melody Gardot
    and Papir (
    Julie London, Frank Sinatra and lovely Lisa Ekdahl.

    Jazzy mood:-)

  • Reply Barbara May 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Definitely inspiring! I needed to update my Ipod list and this is gorgeous. Annett Luisan and HURTS are favorite! I do usually listen to celtic music, metal or Japanese rock/pop music. I am stuck with this recently (KOKIA). I love all her songs (even if you are not familiar with Japanese music, I would suggest trying to listen this, she is truly talented!) – Barbara

  • Reply amy May 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    great suggestions! big adele fan here :) i’m pretty much all emo/mellow music with a bit of rock and roll to it these days. so lots of hey rosetta, city and colour, florence + the machine, mumford and sons… keeps me going during the day that’s for sure.

  • Reply Libby May 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Holly: thanks for ALL the suggestions and I’ll definitely take a look.
    But, I just want to add, that I feel we all listen to too much….of anything! You can’t go into a store, or restaurant, or airport, or train station without having “music” coming at you. Personally, and this is just MY opinion, I think we could all do without so much sound everywhere! I understand completely where you are coming from, but it’s the constant pervasiveness of SOUND that I find so disconcerting and annoying. As for inspiration: well, I find that quiet is the best for me!

    • Reply decor8 May 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      @Libby – I think the reason we hear music out and about so much, at least in America because we don’t have loud music playing everywhere here in Germany, is that Americans tend to talk pretty loud and restaurants and public places tend to play music loudly to cover over the sound… I couldn’t go to most restaurants in New Hampshire before I moved over here because the loud music was driving me nuts. When I go out to eat here, music is always at a very comfortable level, but so are conversations happening all around me.

      My friends and I always use to joke in the states, “Use Your INSIDE VOICE” we would think whenever we were sitting next to Nelly Loudmouth screaming her life story over the table to her friend, and in effect, to the entire restaurant! In Germany, and even in England, people told me that they always know the Americans because we are running around screaming our conversations. But anyway, I think that is why music is used in most public spaces these days but in some ways, it’s not helping because then people try to talk over the music!!!

  • Reply becky May 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Right now, my faves throughout the day are Florence & the Machine, Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Adele & George Harrison.

    if i need to get my butt in gear to get things done, I pop in Girl Talk :)

  • Reply Mindy May 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    you must check out Asa, if you haven’t already! She is a wonderful artist/singer!

  • Reply Catherine May 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Hi, Holly, thank you so much for sharing!
    To get inspiration i usually listen to some nice swing music (andrews sisters, elvis, frank sinatra, ray collins’ hot club etc.), some jazz (stacey kent, louis armstrong – of course!) or some classical music – the piano concerts of Bach are my favourite!

  • Reply mangarosaberlin May 11, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Hello Holly,

    really great sugestions, some of them are really my favorite !

    But at the moment the colorful songs from Hindi Sarah make me really
    high !!!

    Why ?
    Because all her songs are really “handmade” with a lot of love and creativity, enjoy !

  • Reply Lizet May 11, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Oooo yeah, new music to make pots and vases too.

  • Reply fenny setiawan May 11, 2011 at 3:39 am

    I love listening to the music when I want to feel relax or inspired. My choice of music will be of easy listening, light jazz, sometime Indonesian song or once in the blue moon Chinese song. May be you should try to listen Chinese or Korean, I don’t know the meaning but their song always have a lovely tunes :)

  • Reply Lena May 11, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Thanks for sharing. I just recently dicovered your blog and I love it! You bring together such a stunning collection of great views on interior design and different possibilities to bring home great colors and patterns.. Altough, I’m no big fan of German music – maybe because I’m from here ;), I wanted to add another rare good German female singer to your list: Joy Denalane who also sang some great duets with “Freundeskreis” singer Max Herre some years ago.. Check out her song “Was auch immer”. In the end, I would go with John Coltrane and Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra. Kudos to you and viel Spaß beim Deutschland entdecken, Lena

  • Reply Pam May 11, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Avril Lavigne,Sarah Bareilles,Lenka,Beastie Boys,Radiohead,The Fray,Mystikal,Arcade Fire,Mika.

  • Reply Mrs Bok May 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Au Revoir Simone. You’d love it!

    • Reply decor8 May 11, 2011 at 11:58 am

      @Mrs Bok – I’m an Au Revoir Simone fan too!!!

  • Reply Will May 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Oh, I totally agree! I was in Anthro just last night (doing a little birthday shopping for my chap) and I actually thought how much I was enjoying the music. Then, the other week, I was in H&M trying on some bits in the changing rooms and J Lo’s new track came on. Que me having a little boogie in the changing room! It makes shopping even more fun!

  • Reply isavirtue May 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

    i really enjoyed this post holly, thanks.

    i’m going to screenshot these and look into downloading and purchases this music. i absolutely love relaxing but unique female singers.

  • Reply Cristina May 11, 2011 at 10:39 am

    mm.. so many good hints here! Tks!! :-)

  • Reply JanyH May 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

    thanks for sharing your current listenings ! and it’s nice to see that you still buy real cd’s.
    at the moment, i’m listening to Peter Fox’ *Stadtaffe* ( not very new but i love that cd), Gorillaz’ *Plastic Beach* and when i’m in chilling mood any of the Café del Mar compilations.

    Have a lovely wednesday !

  • Reply Jaster Poller May 11, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Your song is as much beautiful as you. Absolutely I like it. :)

  • Reply meagan May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I have to admit I don’t listen to music while I am working! Isn’t that ridiculous being home alone you think I would! Actually, once in awhile I’ll put on Feist or Adele… Feist when I am home sick for Canada – Adele when I am feeling a little more soulful!
    xo Meagan

  • Reply Diakosmisi paidiko domatio May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Melody Gardot and Papir are the best! Jazz for ever :)
    In general i liked most of your suggestions

  • Reply caro May 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I love Annett Louisan too. She is so cute and special. And Holly, if you like german music, you’ll like Kettcar. Today my favorite CD is the de-lovely Soundtrack. I love the sound of Cole Porter.

  • Reply Juana @ Sweet Visual Aids May 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I’m in love with the Danish band named “Oh Land” their music is just lovely and relaxing!!

  • Reply Maria May 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Greetings from Austria!
    Should I try to write my comment in German? I am struggling with the language since two years, I am using everything I can to keep up – TV, music, magazines…the relatives of my husband.
    I came across Annett Louisan from a coffee commercial(Eduscho/Tchibo may be), the song maid me fall in love in her voice:

  • Reply Maria May 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    The commercial was for JACOBS Krönung
    Sorry, I am so concentrated on learning German that I am forgetting how to write in English, like writing maid instead of made, silly me :)

  • Reply Eloisa May 12, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Just wanted to say, I ADORE Sia Furler. I have that album of hers, signed.
    She was amazing with her collaboration with Zero 7. I went to see her at Coachella last year. LOVE HER!

  • Reply Bridget May 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Hey ya! Thank you so much for the list of artists! I love reading about music I haven’t heard yet and further expanding my own CD library. :)

  • Reply Mary Middleton Design May 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    So much inspiration in your post and in the subsequent comments. Been ituning and spotifying since listening (AND BUYING) so thank you very muchly. Always on the look out for a good recommendation. Music (for me at least) has such an influence on my mood and therefore my productivity.

    Holly I think you might like Noah and the Whale and maybe VV Brown. Currently I’ve a mix of Vampire Weekend, LadyHawke and Florence +the Machine on to keep me focused on drawing.

    Love this blog and was good to see you at Liberty’s in London.

  • Reply Lena Hansen May 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Very nice music taste! You must try to listen to Tina Dickow an amazing singasong writer from Denmark:

  • Reply Lisa May 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Hallo Holly!

    I’m always listening to a swedish artist named Christian Kjellvander when I need inspiration, works every time. Check it out! And Lykke Li, her music is magical. And the musicvideo to her song “Sadness is a blessing”, beautiful!

    Take care!
    Love from Sweden

  • Reply Sandi May 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Love the caro emerald. Thanks for the introduction.

  • Reply Jen May 17, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Thank you for suggesting Caro Emerald – I went straight to iTunes to preview her songs and I’m officially obsessed! :)


  • Reply Anna May 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your music list! I looked up Caro Emerald and I love the whole album (so rare)! I’ve sent it to everyone I know :D

  • Reply Kira May 25, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I listen to Coco Rosie and Danish Agnes Obel (If you’re not familiar with her, I highly recommend her!) :) Perfect background music for when I’m doing photos for my blog or creative projects.

    – Kira

  • Reply Sarah Gerritsen May 26, 2011 at 3:37 am

    The music that speaks to me more than anything or anyone in the world is by Over the Rhine… they are from Ohio… Karen (the songbird of a lead vocalist) has the most intense and velvet voice I have ever heard.

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