AJ Wander, the son of a pianist father, had music in his genes from an early age. Varying instruments were scattered around his childhood home in the suburbs of south-east London; a musical landscape that inspired a young AJ to sing, play and eventually to write. He grew up listening to his parent’s favourites and was influenced by some of the greatest songwriters of all-time including The Eagles, Elton John, Carole King and The Beatles. With his new single, Time Out, out now, we caught up with him to find out what songs make him...
Babylon - David Gray
Aside from it being a melodic and lyrical masterpiece, I associate this track with heaps of happy memories.
It reminds me of time I spent renting out a beach house in the summer with a big group of friends, we sat around a campfire most nights and this song made an appearance most nights. It’s also my mum’s favourite song and was always playing in the car on long road trips as a kid.
Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
This song is such a blatant truth and I challenge anybody not to fall into grasp of the frank-talking story telling of this song. It lays out injustices in such a powerfully plain way.
Vincent - Don Mclean
My favourite lyric of all time. It’s painfully beautiful and effortlessly narrates Van Gough’s troubled existence. I can’t help but feel so helpless whilst listening to this song. It get’s me every time, most often at this point - “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”.
Does your mother know - Abba
This takes me back to putting on cabaret shows with my sister and cousins at family get-togethers. We’d all dress up in feather bowers, TV remote controls in hand as microphones and then that intro would kick in.
Want to work out
Songs can make you want to do that!? Please send me some. They’re needed.
Mexico - The Staves
As you’ve probably noticed by now, most songs make me reminisce in some way but this track always takes me so vividly back to a specific moment. I was 19 on a clapped out overnight bus in Thailand; My girlfriend was sleeping on my shoulder and the air conditioner was dripping water onto my head. The sun started to rise from behind the sea of trees we were driving through and this song started playing in my earphones…I remember thinking at the time, ‘you’re going to remember this moment’. (Just a shame the bus wasn’t in Mexico, but then again perhaps that’d be little too perfect)
Nothing - Bruno Major
Relaxation is at the heart of this song. It’s a modern day pop lullaby and never fails to leave me feeling content. “We’ll take off our phones and we’ll turn off our shoes” is what this song inspires me to do.
Blackbird - The Beatles
Flawless from the tapping foot to the tweeting birds. Not to mention the beautiful chord progression and quietly optimistic lyric. I think the subtlety of this lyric’s motivational angle is what makes it so powerful. “You we’re only waiting for this moment to arrive”
I wanna be your lover - Prince
This has been the anthem to my lockdown for me and my housemates. We’ve spent far too many Saturday nights dancing to this banger in the kitchen this year. Well I say too many…but you can’t really have too much Prince in your life can you.