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It’s back! OneTrackMinds asks what’s the one song that changed your life?


Image: Kristian Brodie, co-founder and host of OneTrackMinds

What’s the one song that changed your life? OneTrackMinds, returning on 28 April, celebrates the songs that have been on repeat in people’s brains for decades.

The first single you bought as a teenager, the song you first snogged your life partner to or the last song you danced to when the sun rose at a festival. We remember snippets of these formative memories, but the songs themselves are as clear as they were when we first heard them. After all, joyously, we can play them again and again. (As long as we remember the names of the tracks…)

OneTrackMinds, a storytelling show which returns to Wilton’s Music Hall next Thursday April 28, with tickets available now, celebrates the music that not only brings a smile to people’s faces, but helps define them as people as well.

Past guests have included legendary LGBTQ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, The Observer’s food critic Jay Rayner, and actors Jessie Buckley and Jane Horrocks. On the next event, five new guests will reveal which songs changed their lives, and speak for ten minutes about why. They are Keith Brymer Jones from TV’s The Great Pottery Showdown, Twilight and The Witcher actor Myanna Buring, Mr. Selfridge actor Leon Ockenden, actor and campaigner Crystal Marshall and author Dr. Rachel Clarke.

“I often joke that people must think I have a mental breakdown every time I turn on the radio, so often do I claim that a song has changed my life,” says organiser Kristian Brodie, speaking to Run-Riot.

What’s the track Brodie can’t shift from his mind right now that we should all be listening to? “All That by the band Sparks - it’s featured at the end of Edgar Wright’s brilliant documentary The Sparks Brothers, which I watched the other week,” says Brodie. “It’s a beautiful song and one that makes me think about the brilliant people I have supporting me in my life - my wife Zoe, my co-producer and friend Adam - and all the things we’ve been through together. It’s a proper tearjerker.”

One theme which returns again and again from multiple guests is the idea of a song crafting an identity, says Brodie. “Peter Tatchell, whose track ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ by Nina Simone awoke a burning desire for justice and equality in him as a young man, or composer Blair Mowat, who heard the Doctor Who theme tune as a young boy and decided that he wanted to create music for TV shows and movies - which he now does.”

OneTrackMinds is inspired by nights like Letters Live, where celebrities including Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch read a real historical letter out, live on stage, to an audience, hopefully conjuring some of the energy and feeling of the person who originally wrote it those years ago. TED Talks are another inspiration, and often Brodie will often track down speakers from these events in the hope they’ll speak at his too. “We browse in bookshops and chase down the authors of the books we like the sound of,” Brodie says.

Naturally, conversations about identity reveal a lot about the speakers, and provide a raw - perhaps rare - glimpse into their working minds. “But it’s not just famous people,” says Brodie. “It’s any one who stands on that stage and tells a story, humbles themselves, makes themselves vulnerable.”

He continues: “The magic happens in the reciprocity - in return, the audience makes them feel a part of something, connected to something bigger. The music only helps this. We always talk about the songs as acting like an empathy catalyst, a way for the audience to better understand the emotional experience that the storyteller has shared with them.”

There’s a knack to keeping the event pacy though - Brodie has a strict ten minute time limit policy for guests to tell their stories to keep the audiences’ energy up for the next. “There have been one or two who have gone wildly over,” admits Brodie, “but thankfully they’ve been in the minority!” Although the conversation naturally gets deep, Brodie teases ticket holders “might find themselves dancing too…”

Brodie aims for a diverse range of guests, each talking on a different topic, but the spontaneous nature of the show means “we never know exactly what each of our guests are going to talk about,” admits the programmer. “We try our best to program the running order so that we don’t lay on the heavy emotional stuff too thickly.”

Brodie co-hosts the shows with his co-producer Adam Shakinovsky “after years and years of friendship, which helps the fun.” As they think forward into the future, who else is on their wishlist for future events? “We keep asking Stephen Fry to come on, but he’s so busy,” says Brodie. Other names they reckon would have great stories include Jo Brand, Caitlin Moran, Stephen Merchant, Mark Kermode, Zadie Smith, Thom Yorke, Laura Marling, Adam Buxton  and Billy Connolly.

Smiling, Brodie adds: “If any of them are reading this, get in touch!”

OneTrackMinds returns to Wilton's Music Hall, London on April 28 and tickets are available now.


Image: Jessie Buckley, guest on OneTrackMinds


Image: Lemn Sissay, guest on OneTrackMinds


Image: Jay Raynor, guest on OneTrackMinds

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