Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. Lauryn HillMTV Unplugged No. 2.0

It’s funny, I don’t really remember how I discovered MTV Unplugged. But I didn’t know The Miseducation. My music knowledge was spotty, and not really related to MTV or things that were happening culturally. They had to do with me being in a cave outside culture, and I didn’t have a sibling to guide me in it. In France we had a sort of public library where you could borrow CDs, and it was kind of like me in the darkness making moves. I listened to that record so much, obsessively, and never knew about The Miseducation. My relationship with music is not so much about finding something I love and wanting to know everything about the person and know their discography. It was like a one-off relationship. It’s very minimalist and essential as a record. She’s not a big guitar player, it feels simple or rudimentary or something – almost like loops and mantras. Indian classical music has also been part of my regime or diet, and I think there’s something similar in here. Not in the form, but in the way it calls things in little circles. I loved how her voice was always on the point of breakage without ever breaking, I was really attracted to that. It almost sounds like she’s soothing herself on this record. I think I also was feeling some peace about a woman expressing her emotions, as I sometimes had a hard time with this as a young girl. It’s bold and bare, and I can see how it stayed with me. How I’m interested in both ends of that spectrum.

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