My Work Music – What I Listen to While Creating

Transcendence #1 - #4 for an upcoming show in December
Transcendence #1 – #4 for an upcoming show in December

Just about everyone has work music they like for studying or focusing on a job. Today I share what some of my favorite sources are that really put me into the head space to create the paintings you connect with.

My general go-to type of music for working is ambient, no real words and electronica based. Hey, I was a raver back in my 20s and went to all-night dance parties and the chill rooms were fantastic. I like taking myself back to the chill rooms of the 1990s and that sound has never left me as one of my favorites. Chill-out, ambient, Ibiza-style chill – most of it is OK, some is rather cheesy. Psy chill, if I’m in the mood, has a psychedelic trance feel to it, but I have to be receptive. I also like funkier lounge.


When I have my tablet next to me while I paint, I often have it on YouTube where there is some great playlists for chill. I’ve also created my own playlists.

This playlist is my Chill compilation of videos I listen to while working. Some of the photo covers make my eyes roll, like the girls in bikinis, but the music in them is really nice!  This one is especially good and this one is my second favorite.

If I want to go deeper, I have a Spirit playlist with lots of works by Deva Premal, who modernizes Sanskrit mantras to appeal to a western audience. Lots of her stuff has an almost reggae-downtempo chill sound to it, that is very appealing. One of the classics is the first one on the list, called the Gayatri Mantra. It is otherworldly. Also on this playlist is music by Craig Pruess. I have bought his albums as a result of listening to them on YouTube.

Music Apps

I have a couple of internet radio apps on my tablet. One is DI Radio, and they only do electronic music. The stations I like are Chillout Dreams, Cosmic Downtempo, Space Dreams, PsyChill, Ambient and Chillout. DI is hit or miss; sometimes I can’t find anything playing on any of those stations that are any good. Other times I set it on one channel and am good to go with work music for awhile. Just be tolerant of the commercials. I ususally take my headphones off when they come on.

The other app I use is SomaFM. Unlike DI Radio, SomaFM is listener supported, like public radio. You will only hear an announcement for support every now and then, and one day I’ll have enough to donate to get a tee-shirt! ($50). But I did just now donate $10 because this post inspired me to do so after thinking about how much I enjoy listening.

My favorite station on SomaFM is Groove Salad. I obviously listen to it in a different format on the app I have, often times I’ll just set the station and go. I’m listening to Groove Salad right now as I write this post, actually!

I know I could download Pandora or Spotify, but so far I’m still OK with DI Radio and SomaFM as my work music of choice.


When I work on my laptop I’ll have iTunes open and I like listening to the Internet Radio tab. On the rare occasions when DI or Soma FM (available in iTunes Internet Radio) don’t do it for me, I like the Groovera stations, particularly Jet City Lounge or sometimes Exotic Lounge. I prefer Jet City Lounge. I just looked on their website and it doesn’t look like they have an app, which is a bummer, because I can only listen on my laptop, which is shut off when I’m painting.


I’ve bought Deva Premal and Craig Pruess on iTunes and listen to their albums. I also have Dead Can Dance – Lisa Gerrard has the most beautiful voice. Often times I will listen to audio books or podcasts while painting!

While I prefer uplifting talks and music when creating peaceful, relaxing¬†paintings, I will admit one guilty pleasure. Game of Thrones. I did listen to the entire audio book set because there is no way I’d have time to read those thick books. And so there are some gorgeous paintings I made while listening to all the stuff that Game of Thrones is about – and it sure isn’t peaceful and uplifting.

So there’s my favorite work music I like listening to while I paint. Now you now what goes on behind the scenes of your favorite pieces!


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