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 Seay, an entertainment attorney at The Seay Firm, shares the artists and songs that have impacted his life and career.
By Kyle Bylin, author of Song Stories
My name is John Seay and I am an entertainment attorney at The Seay Firm. I work exclusively with artists, and the majority of them are musicians. I have a lovely wife and two lovely daughters (3.5 years and 18 months).
What song have you most recently played non-stop or on repeat?
Hiss Golden Messenger – “Biloxi”
What song most compels you to sing along when it plays?
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Boy Problems”
What song do you play when you need to feel motivated or inspired?
The Replacements – “Bastards of Young”
What song are you most embarrassed to admit that you enjoy?
Beauty and the Beast (Soundtrack) – “Belle”
What song in your library has developed a personal or deeper meaning?
Sam Cooke – “You Send Me.” It was the first song my now-wife and I ever danced to together, was the song for our first dance at our wedding, and I had the title engraved on the back of a watch head that she wears around her neck.
What five artists most influenced you when you were a teenager?
1) Prince – “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”
2) David Bowie – “Sound and Vision”
3) Led Zeppelin – “Good Times Bad Times”
4) A Tribe Called Quest – “After Hours”
5) Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”
What year did you graduate from high school?
What were your favorite activities or hobbies in high school?
Listening to, playing, and writing about music. I was an “indoor kid” primarily. I read a lot and wrote a lot. Music was always a major part of my life and something that I was known as being connected to.
What five artists best represent your favorite music today?
1) Prince – “I Wanna Be Your Lover”
2) David Bowie – “Modern Love”
3) Marvin Gaye – “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”
4) Jimmy Cliff – “Many Rivers to Cross”
5) The Cure – “In Between Days”
What is your most prized music possession or memorabilia?
The first time I went to SXSW as a speaker, I saved my badge, which I have hanging on a board in my office. This was an important moment for me, because it was this nice moment of validation of my career. I’d attended the festival for years as a journalist, later as a law student, and even later still as a lawyer, but this was the first time I’d been invited as a speaker.
How would you describe music’s role or importance in your life?
It can’t be overstated. It’s so much a part of my life that I had to make it my career too. Although I no longer play (except around the house), I work exclusively with artists. I listen to music all day every day, pretty much, preferably loudly. Music helps clarify my moods.
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.