Music shapes our identities and changes our lives. It brings back our memories and stirs up our emotions. My Song Stories asks music professionals and indie artists questions about the songs in their libraries. Today, John Raso, SVP Client Services for Harry Fox Agency and Rumblefish, shares the artists and songs that have impacted his life and career.
By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories
I'm John Raso and I work as SVP Client Services for HFA (Harry Fox Agency) and Rumblefish. We administer mechanical licensing for the biggest music streaming services and on behalf of tens of thousands of music publishers. My team and I work to ensure music is properly licenses and royalties are paid out correctly. I also host Brooklyn Bandstand every Friday afternoon on www.RadioFreeBrooklyn.com.
What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?
Foxygen - "Follow The Leader"
What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?
King Harvest - "Dancing In The Moonlight"
What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?
The Sonics - "Shot Down"
What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?
Ted Nugent - "Stranglehold"
What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?
There are so many but the one that comes to mind first is "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan. He was one of my dad's favorites and I didn't appreciate my dad's "corny" taste as rebellious teen. Only later did realize what an amazing talent Jordan was and how he essentially was just playing Rock ‘n' Roll before it had a name.
What five artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?
2) The Ramones
3) Iggy Pop
4) James Brown
5) Jonathan Richman
What year did you graduate from high school?
What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?
Hanging out in record stores, listening to the radio (left of the dial), and starting a rock band.
What five artists best represent your favorite music today?
1) Foxygen - "Follow The Leader"
2) Spoon - "Rent I Pay"
3) Parquet Courts - "Human Performance"
4) PWR BTTM - "Dairy Queen"
5) Meatbodies - "Kings"
What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?
Reel-to-Reel copy of Beatles '65/Early Beatles. This is a copy purchased by my dad around 1965 or so for his new Ampex Reel-to-Reel entertainment center. It's beat to hell from having be threaded and played hundreds of times - mostly held together by Scotchtape splices...but I would never give it up.
How would you describe music's role or importance in your life?
That's like asking the role of oxygen and food! My entire life has been informed by it. I can trace back so many of my interests that were sparked by a song or interview with a musician.
Kyle Bylin is the author of Song Stories: Music That Shaped Our Identities and Changed Our Lives, a collection of essays about songs that impacted people's lives. Read an excerpt here.