Talkhouse Playlist: Alicia Witt’s Biggest Influences

Some songs can you make you cry anywhere, anytime.

Alicia Witt, known for her acting in David Lynch’s Dune, The Walking Dead, Nashville and more, is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to record her new EP, 15,000 Days, with producer Jacquire King. To tell you a little about the inspiration behind her album, and her love of music, Witt made this playlist with tracks from Tom Waits, classics from Nat King Cole and more. Enjoy!
– Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager

Music has always been the through-line of my life, more than any image, scent or sentence anyone has ever said to me. A song has the ability to summarize an entire memory and make it indelible, so that you can bring it back to you at will with all its joy and heartache, laughter and tears.

Here are ten songs that have meant a whole lot to me and why:

Tom Waits – “Take It with Me”
It is fitting to start with this one; Mule Variations is one of the five albums I’d bring to a desert island and it’s one of the first that Jacquire King worked on. Now, astonishingly, he is producing my record 15,000 Days. I have heard this song in my heart at the moments when I’ve felt the greatest love. It can make me cry anywhere, anytime.

Nat King Cole – “That Sunday, that Summer”
When I was little, all I wanted to listen to was my Dad’s favorite music: the big band classics and jazz standards of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. It’s hard to pick just one Nat King Cole song, but this would be the one; it’s such a simple depiction of love. It’s no coincidence that when I think of the most profound experiences I’ve had with love they’ve all been on Sundays.

Rickie Lee Jones – “Company”
She has always been one of my favorite artists. I love her raw emotion and unaffected style of singing. This song breaks my heart, but resonates because I believe that even when we can’t stay in touch with someone in this life for whatever reason, we will remain connected…and will meet again.

Grouplove – “Welcome To Your Life”
I love the carefree joy in this one. I also love that it applies if you’re thinking of someone else…but it’s even more powerful if you imagine it’s a personal anthem. We’re back in business. You’re such a big mess and I love you.

KT Tunstall – “Everything Has Its Shape”
I only just discovered this song and I love it. A beautiful original way of expressing what I’ve always believed: all things happen in their own time if they’re meant to be.

George Michael – “A Different Corner”
It’s hard to believe we will never hear another original song by this legend. When you think of all the different corners you could have turned down, all the different roads your life could have taken and the people you would never have collided with if one thing had been different… I find it impossible to believe it’s all coincidence.

AWOLNATION – “Kill Your Heroes”
Such a gorgeous, celebratory anthem about being your own hero. Our heroes inspire us and lift us up, but when they get raised up on such a pedestal that we forget to shine ourselves or link our light to theirs…therein lies the problem. This applies to people in the public eye, as well as to those we idolize in our own personal lives. I just love this song.

School of Seven Bells – “Open Your Eyes”
A little-known band that I discovered recently. Such an honesty about these lyrics. It’s about the idea of loving someone and knowing they are not in a place of bravery to where they can love you back in the same way. You wish you could help open their eyes, but it’s so out of your hands.

Shawn Colvin – “Polaroids”
She’s one of my absolute favorites and one of my greatest influences as a songwriter. I love how this song tells such a painful story in such a matter of fact way, and with such wisdom and innocence. There so much affirmation in it. I have related to it from the time I was twenty until now. It always makes me think of my first love.

Alicia Witt – “Love Anyway”
Sorry, I had to include this one because it’s important to me right now! It had been written about unrequited love, both of the heart and of this crazy world I pour my heart into (acting and making music) and how the only way forward is to keep loving anyway even though you know it might hurt like hell. Keep believing in what you want most and being authentic.

And then there’s all the negativity and ugliness that has surfaced over the last few months with the politics in our country and the beautiful people who live in it attacking each other. In our hearts, we really want mostly the same thing. I felt it was timely and recorded it quickly to release it.

It’s currently out on iTunes and Spotify, and I’m donating half of all proceeds to Feeding America. I also designed T-shirts with the “Love Anyway” slogan, which are available on my website I feel we all need more of this now.