Playing It By Ear: Meet Dani

August 4, 2017

A while back, one of my close friends, Steve, was asked about his taste in music. He nonchalantly answered, “Check out my starter pack.” After asking, “What’s a starter pack?” Steve explained he meant his Spotify playlist, “The Steve B*#& Starter Pack.” (His last name isn’t a swear word — that’s four letters, not five. I just didn’t want to post his last name on the company blog.)

A starter pack is a playlist format created by Steve that includes 25 songs and perfectly defines an individual’s taste in music. The only rules are that it must include exactly 25 songs, all songs must be at least a year old, and you cannot repeat an artist. So, if you love Taylor Swift, you cannot have more than one of her songs on your starter pack. You have to pick one to define your love of each artist. It’s incredibly difficult to choose. Lyrics from each song on your starter pack do not necessarily have to be what you think, but the genre, artist or feel of the song should be a good indicator of the type of music you listen to. 

“The Dani Shupe Starter Pack” is at the end of this post, and it holds a piece of my soul. This playlist is filled with songs from my past and songs that I’ll never get tired of — everything from my (hip?) indie side to my (nerdy) Disney and show-tune side. It’s a great way to define who I am. 

Most of my starter pack is indie-pop: Think Walk the Moon, Bastille, Passion Pit, and Two Door Cinema Club. There’s also a sprinkle of Top 40, one old-school Disney jam, one show tune and “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John — a childhood favorite. Some of you may already be judging me, and I’ll admit my musical taste isn’t the “coolest,” but a good starter pack tells the truth.

The background on a few of my choices…

When I listen to “Kamikaze” by Owl City I remember my first no-screen iPod Shuffle. Thrown back in time, I’m 13 again, walking to the bus stop, the sunrise colors blending and the wind in my air. It’s sort of dreamy and poetic.  

“Avalanche” by Walk The Moon and I’m back to freshman year of college, 10 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium, glitter in my hair, the drunken crowd and a cheap concert T-shirt, dancing around with my dorm friends. 

Singing along to “New Romantics” by Taylor Swift and I’m driving through the German Alps in a rental car during spring break my senior year of college with the window down, pointing out castles in the mountains and holding my breath when we pass through long tunnels.

If you read all that and think we’re musical besties, I’d highly recommend listening. I organized it from upbeat to slow and it takes exactly 1 hour, 31 minutes to listen all the way through. My humble and non-biased opinion is that my musical taste is awesome. I have DJed a church house party, so I have some credibility. 

Hopefully, “The Dani Shupe Starter Pack” will be playing on all four Fast Horse floors soon, and if not, then maybe this post will prompt a few of you to create your own starter packs.