Life’s Ultimate Playlist

Have you ever heard a song that made you catch your breath and think “omg, this song was meant JUST for me!” If you have then you know exactly what I mean when I say that music is apart of my soul and has been a constant friend in my life.

To say that my family is musically inclined would be an understatement. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by music. My dad learned to play the guitar when he was 15-years-old and has been playing ever since. His parents (my Nana & Grandpa John) raised him around music as well. My Nana used to sing in a mariachi group and my Grandpa John plays the guitar and the accordion. We spent countless weekends as a family, crowded in my grandparents living room or in their backyard, just playing and singing together. Some of the strongest memories I have of them are tied to music.

My mom’s family is no exception to these talents. Her dad (My Grandpa Chavelo) was an incredible accordion player and taught my tio Junior to play as well. My mom comes from an extremely LARGE family and while I can’t remember who all exactly has musical talents, I do remember the many family gatherings we had growing up. Where my grandpa would play the accordion, my godfather would play the saxophone, a few of my tios & cousins played guitar and sung. (One of my cousins even has his own band Mojave Sol & so does my father-in-law Groupo Calibre)

All this to say that throughout the course of my life I have slowly complied a list of songs that truly resonate with me. Songs that touch my soul, move me to tears. When I hear a song that gives me chills and raises every hair on my body, I hold tight to it. I keep it in my arsenal to use whenever I need to feel something. Know what I mean?

I think what I love so much about music is that it allows us to express ourselves in a healthy and creative way that keeps pushing us forward. At least that’s what music does for me. I have playlists for every moment under the sun. Playlists for long road trips, playlists to belt out in the shower, playlists that remind me of people or certain events in my life, everything. As a matter of fact there was a time in my life when I considered being a music director. You know the person who adds music to movies and finds the perfect song at the perfect moment, yeah that guy. But it was never something that I took seriously so it just didn’t happen. Instead I’ve taken to creating my own playlists and finding the perfect songs for MY life. Which is what I want to share with you all today. I know just by reading my blog you can kind of get a sense of the person I am. However, like so many things in life, music can also tell the story of someones life and this playlist is no exception. Assembled on this list are songs that remind me of the people most important to me, songs that are signify special moments or big life changes, and songs that have just kept me strong when I felt broken or lost or needed reminding of who I am and who want to be. I know what you’re probably thinking…Riaa, that’s A LOT going on in a single playlist – I know this. But it’s the truth and it’s apart of who I am that I want to share with you all. So, enough of my rambling and carrying on let’s just jump into it!

My Souls Revival

  • Don’t Stop Believing – Journey (1981): This song reminds me of my dad. It’s one of those classics that I love and honestly I have to give my dad so much credit for my eclectic taste in music. Growing up he introduced me and my siblings to so many different genres of music. The was never time to get annoyed with any of it because we just genuinely love to bond through it. I love jammin’ out to this on the highway and it’s one of our families go-to songs for karaoke.
  • What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts (2003): This song is one that has multiple purposes in my life. Around the time it came out was about the time that my Nana moved away from us for the first time. Being as she was someone I saw often it was a big adjustment for me and my siblings. At the time I didn’t understand what was going on but this song helped carry us through it. And it has since become one of the many songs that my brother, sister and I sing together. We might not be professionals but I gotta say our harmonies on this one are *perfect*.
  • One Day at a Time – Marilyn Sellars (1974) –> I like the Christy Lane Version (but if I’m being honest know one sings it like my Nana).
    This song, man this song is my families, life-song. We’ve sung this song together for years and years and I never get tired of it. The phrase “One Day At A Time” is so popular all over the world but for me, it’s really helped get me through many many hard times. I love this song so much so that my sister and I have matching tattoos together. It is incredibly special to us and I hope that when you hear it (if you haven’t heard it before) that it resonates with you as deeply as it has for me.
  • I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz (2012): This song came out right about the time that my parents got divorced. It was a ROUGH time for my family and we truly struggled to find our footing in what was becoming our new normal as a broken family. My parents had been together throughout my childhood and I had just graduated from high school when they called it quits and things changed. But despite it all we really all tried to be there for one another and support each other as best as we could. This song really hit home for me and I’ve been thankful for its exhistance ever since.
  • Different – Micah (2016): This song reminds me of my mama. My forever friend and the woman I admire with my whole heart. In 2018 my moms life changed for the 100th time when she went into acute renal failure. I won’t get into too much detail (it’s a whole story for another time), but the courage and the strength my mother showed during that time was something fierce and amazing to behold. Thankfully within 6 months God answered our prayer’s and on my 26th birthday she received her kidney transplant and it was successful. My mom and I share a lot of similarities. Not just in looks and personality but in genetic health problems as well. So as we sat one day in the hospital dialysis center one day, I played this song and I could see how much it touched her, I could see how much it moved her and I knew exactly how she felt in that moment.
  • Make You Feel My Love – Adele (2008): Being a type 4 on the enneagram chart I am very in-tune with my feelings and often times find myself contemplating ALL the things at any given moment. This is my ballad that I love to sing and listen to on any given day that makes me feel happy and sad simultaneously. When I was pregnant I loved to sit in my rocking chair and sing this song to Scarlett as I rubbed my belly. Fantasizing about all of the incredible things to come… little did I know the journey she would take me on.
  • Fearless – Jasmine Murray (2017): MY own personal anthem! This song encourages me to be not only who I want to be, but who GOD says I am. Something I struggle with from time to time and need reminding of. I am constantly trying to push my own boundries and be fearless in all that I do. I want my daughter to be able to look to me, and see the kind of God fearing woman that is unafraid to take risks and follow her heart and. do things that she loves and feels called to do .
  • Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur(2016): BJ doesn’t know this yet, but WHEN he decides to ask me to marry him this is the song I want us to dance to at our wedding. It’s beautiful and the lyrics just tell so much truth to our tale and I love it. I literally get choked up when I listen to it. We have grown and changed a lot over the years and like any couple we’ve had our fair share of rough patches but through it all we have always managed to overcome our differences and love each other to the best of our ability.
  • No Roots – Alice Merton (2016): I love the beat and the rhethym of this song. Its fast paced, fun and energetic. And the fact that its a song about a girl with no roots makes it even better. I’ve moved away from home several times and each time I’ve done it I’ve left my immediate family behind to go off and find new adventures. It’s scary and sometimes lonely but I’ve never once regretted my decisions and I love it. I do have roots, but I am a girl who has never been too scared to leave them because I know that no matter where I go I always have a family to go back to when/if I ever need to.
  • Trust in You – Lauren Daigle (2015): Lauren is my GIRL! lol I love her music so much. Crazy story but I had heard several of her songs on the radio for a while and loved them all, before I finally realized that they were all sung by the same person lol. That’s how unique Lauren’s voice is. When I listened to her “How Can It Be” Album, I discovered this song and I distinctly remember standing in my kitchen, pregnant with Scarlett, and I could feel the Holy Spirit just wash over me and light up my soul. I get goosebumps every single time I hear this song and it is one of those that I constantly listen to and sing my heart out to when I hear it. This song is special to me for several reasons but mostly because of Scarlett (my daughter). When I was hospitalized this song helped me keep calm and remember that God had a greater plan for me. It was my reminder that I wasn’t alone and that I just needed to have faith and TRUST in the LORD. It even played on our ride home the day we brought Scarlett home from the hospital. #GodstimingisALWAYSperfect

There are so many more songs I could add to this list & I could give explanations and meanings for each of them. But this list would be never-ending. If you’d like to check out the full list for yourself you can do I’ll leave it for you here.

Thank you so much for letting me spend some time with you today and give you a little insight on my childhood and what life has been like growing up. I’d love to know and listen to your own personal playlist so please feel free to share them with me! Y’all have a blessed and beautiful day!

Love, Riaa


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