5 albums from 2010 that helped me get inspired

05 Jan 2011

In our daily design work inspiration is the one thing that has the most impact. As a designer we need it almost daily and we treasure it when it finally arrives. You can try to use visual stimuli such as my own inspiration stream or resort to music to get into the zone.

Get into the zone

Inspiration is so hard to define in words. Personally I believe that each designer is probably different, and each person has his own set of tricks of the trade that he or she uses to get inspired. For me personally music plays an important part in creating the ideal circumstances. Not any kind of music though, it can't be too heavy or it would have the opposite effect. The music must be able to transfer my thoughts to somewhere else, a sunny island for example. In this post I want to share 5 top albums from 2010 that helped me to achieve design bliss. To me personally, these represent the ignition needed to get in my design zone. That's a zone that transfers my brain to somewhere else, and the best way to shut myself off from the *real* world is by using my headset. I thought it would be fun to reverse engineer the question about what inspired me to what inspired these artists to create their album. As an added bonus I got to talk to some of my musical heroes :)

Andy Compton

Andy Compton

"The inspiration for "KHOLOFELO" came from deep from the soul....which is effected by the positive vibes from the universe, the surroundings that I live in, and the love from my family and friends.

Jaidene Veda

My mama said I was singing before I was talking... I guess I've always loved music. Fast forward to my DJ big brother sneaking me in to the epic (longest running house residency in all of North America - "since 1996") SUNDAY SKOOL à la DJ Rice when I was a minor. The 4/4 stole my heart, became my heart beat...it was still the Naked Music era...120 on the floor, nothing smoother, sexier or more hypnotizing than a faceless, nameless (anonymous) voice weaving in and out of the dance floor - and having the ability to sing itself along in your head for hours, sometimes days after you left the club. That infectious quality of vocal presence in house music is exactly what inspired me to chase this dream. "I wanted to be that voice".

8 years transpired before all the material on "Pisces Pendulum" was ready to compile, and I put it out independently because a journey that long is truly a personal affair. I'm a deep house mama, but I'm an Artist too and I wanted the ability to showcase a range of genres, styles & sounds - all just back drops to poetry (spoken word or vocal).

Jaidene Veda

"Lyricism is something I take very seriously after being inspired all my life by someone as magical as my musical mentor for life, Bjork.

I have a really soft and subtle style of singing, all I truly care about is you hearing what i'm saying - my instrument has the gift of language more than the 88 keys which we will never change - but if you do what you love you can change the world. I wanna move people, lull them to sleep, soundtrack their days, journeys, their tears, their love making... you name it! Music truly is touching without touching. What a blessing...being inspired::

You can get the physical CD + digital album for $9 instead of $15 if you use the code "veerle" or just the digital album for $5.99 instead of $9.99 with the same discount code "veerle".

Samantha James

Samantha James

"For me my inspiration usually comes from whatever it may be that I am experiencing at that specific moment in my life. Whether it be positive, sad, happy, difficult, challenging, etc.

Everything that I experience in life I end up needing to write about. Not only is this healing for me but for others. I am so inspired just to know that my music is inspiring other people! It really is, aside from my own reasons for writing a huge inspiration for me to keep going. That along with me not knowing what life my life would look like if I didn't have music... It truly has been my saving grace and I just feel so blessed that I have been blessed with the gift to share my life with others through songs. It truly is amazing... I feel honored that God is using me as a vehicle of light and hope for others to see and hear!

Jay Denes of Naked Music (Blue Six)

Jay Denes

"I think most people are familiar with the common writer's axiom "write what you know", and pretty much all of my writing comes from my own life experience. It takes time, and over the years I've tended towards more directness in my expression.

I really just write about whatever is on my mind, and try not to be full of shit about it. I'm at where I'm at, that evolves, and hopefully the records do too. I really feel very little relationship to contemporary culture - so much seems possible, and very little seems to be realized. The short explanation being that materialism/consumerism as society's highest value is a recipe for amateurish disposable shit. I guess I've sort of exiled myself to an island governed by my own values.

I think things will come around eventually, but maybe not within my lifetime. Cultures wax and wane, usually based on outside factors - most notably technologies, economies, and governance. The important thing is to keep my own compass at true north.

Sweet Coffee

The brain wave came after the album Naked City, when singer Bibi Diabokua announced her departure. Patrick and Raffaele decided to turn this setback into an advantage. An old dream took shape again: to assemble a unique array of golden voices to record the ultimate Sweet Coffee cd.

Sweet Coffee

"Face To Face was somewhat longer in the making than originally planned. The actual writing went smoothly enough, but there was also the handpicking of the appropriate vocal cords. And finally an intricate puzzle presented itself: which voice would do justice to which song?

The result was worth waiting for. Notice how 'See Myself In You' is the ideal song for the sensuous voice of Samia Verdeyen, who makes her first reappearance since Memory Lane. Admire the powerful soul vocals of Vanessa N'Goga in Daylight and Out In The Desert. Hear how the seasoned Jacky Jones wraps herself round Where Do We Go and Survive. Admire the multi-faceted Tchaï, a lady who has won her spurs in the company of Axelle Red, Natalia and Ozark Henry. Hear her turn Beautiful People into the live favorite it has already become.

These four female voices set the tone on Face To Face. But M.I.S.T.A. is heard again on Face To Face too, together with old faithful Monday Midnight, who joins the fun on Alone, Don't Think So and the bonus track Tomorrow. In addition there are guest vocals by Yannick ‚'Maximus' Uyttenhove, the only white voice in this exotic line-up.The end product is the most varied Sweet Coffee cd ever. Not only because of those voices. The wealth of timbres to choose from lends convincing substance to a broader musical range. The groove tends to be heavier, the vibe deeper and the spectrum wider. Never before has a Sweet Coffee cd given such an accurate picture of the live sound of the group. Add to this the outstanding Niels Scheijvens on sax en the groovy Peter Schneider on drums and you realize that what you have coming is a pretty exciting package.


  1. 1 Rahul Chand 05 Jan 2011

    I am a big fan of Samantha James, her music works well with coding too!

  2. 2 Alisey 05 Jan 2011

    The link to Pisces Pendulum doesn’t open.

    Ed: link is fixed and should work now

  3. 3 Justin 05 Jan 2011

    Thank you so much! Good music.

  4. 4 Zeb 06 Jan 2011

    Blue six and naked music label is a very powerful inspiration of every time ;-)

  5. 5 Edemilson Fernandes Vieira 06 Jan 2011

    The link to Pisces Pendulum doesn’t open. There is a typo in the link. It begins with “hhttp” where the correct should be “http”.

    Ed: This is fixed. Thanks for mentioning!

  6. 6 Paul Armes 06 Jan 2011

    Loving the new site! I am seeming to get script errors up when loading some of your images from your artical pages though.Thumbs up for Samantha James!

  7. 7 Veerle Pieters 06 Jan 2011

    @Paul Armes

    I am seeming to get script errors up when loading some of your images from your artical pages though

    Must be something local as nothings strange here, either on Mac or PC. All images are fine. You’ll have to be more precise or test on another computer somewhere else.

  8. 8 Zeb 06 Jan 2011

    It’s me again ! :-)
    I complete my contribution with few interesting links and albums :
    for chillout music, => http://www.anjibee.com/ many podcasts very inspirational !

    And here we come many albums one of my favorites to create…

    Lisa shaw - Free
    Blue Six - Aquarian Angel
    Jade - Analogic
    Miguel Migs - Those Things
    MOZEZ - So Still
    Naomi - Pappelallee
    Nigel Hayes - It’s your move
    Nitin Sawhney - Broken skin
    Nova nova - La chanson de Roland
    Yello - Touch Yello
    Zero 7 - Simple Things in a trip-hop mood…

    Don’t hesitate to ask me advices in this kind of music ;-)

    You can visit my music’s page =>
    http://www.graphikfood.com/electro/ (you have few sample tracks…)

    Cheers Veerle

  9. 9 Marco Del Linz 07 Jan 2011

    Ok ok
    I’m only a ‘small’ designer from Italy.
    But for me music is the perfect inspiration for a lot of different situation.
    Personaly in the last days I’m listening LINKIN PARK.
    This is not my ideal music style…but try something new, something different, helps me.
    Bye the way…you are great web designer :) I love your style.

  10. 10 jasson 11 Jan 2011

    Sweet Coffee is really worth hearing. I love that.