Ricky Himself: The 10 songs that changed my life

The hip-hop-loving pop-punk, Ricky Himself, guides us through the music that made him who he is...

Ricky Himself: The 10 songs that changed my life
Kerrang! staff

Something of a musical sponge, Ricky Himself has grown up immersed in varying styles and genres – from grunge to hip-hop – and has recently found himself channelling his love of pop-punk into new EP, Poser. Here the pop-culture obsessed Californian guides us through the ten songs that mean the most to him...

The first song I ever remember hearingVanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles (2001)

"It came out when I was five years old, and I remember everyday while I was getting up to go to school it would be playing on the radio that my mom had on as background noise, then I’d hear it in the car on the way to school, and in the car on the way home. That piano riff was constantly playing on loop in my five-year-old brain, and to this day if I ever have too much quiet time it’ll still creep in. It's one of the most awesome riffs and songs ever."

The song that properly got me into musicNirvana – Heart Shaped Box (1993)

"I was in 6th grade the first time I heard it. Going into 7th grade, they made us bring books to read during free time, so I had my mom take me to Barnes & Noble and buy me Kurt’s biography, Heavier Than Heaven – pretty heavy subject matter for a 7th grader, but thank you mom, that band and that book changed my life. I really love Nirvana, but Kurt’s life story in particular shaped so much of how I view the intersection of where life and music meet. I know Smells Like Teen Spirit is the pop culture moment for rock in the '90s, but I think Heart Shaped Box is the true quintessential Nirvana song."

The song that reminds me of my first gigSugar Ray – Someday (1999)

"The first show I ever went to was at the Orange County Fair in 2005, and the song that I will eternally associate with that is Someday by Sugar Ray. I don’t know how people feel about Sugar Ray but let me tell you something, Mark McGrath’s frosted tips and soul patch goatee were unmatched at the time! He put on a great show and honestly made some of my favourite songs from my childhood. That first show is one of my favourite memories from being a kid."

The song that inspired me to be a musicianKanye West – Street Lights (2008)

"I know the influence is not apparent in my music, but Street Lights is the song that directly inspired me to want to do music. The same year I went to that Sugar Ray show is also the year that I first bought a CD with my own money – which was College Dropout – so Kanye has been a huge part of my musical upbringing. Fast-forward three years to 2008, I’m now 13 years old and into tons of different kinds of music, and the thought of becoming an artist myself has been roaming around my mind for a short period of time. The day [Kanye album] 808s & Heartbreak came out I listened to it top to bottom, and the moment I heard Street Lights was when I knew what I wanted to do with my life."

The song I love to sing at karaokeRod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)

"I’ve never sung karaoke, but I know what song would be my dive bar rock star anthem, and it’s Maggie May by Rod Stewart. Anyone who doesn’t understand why, please go watch the scene in Lords Of Dogtown where Heath Ledger waxes a surfboard to this song with a drunken charm. It makes me wanna cry every time."

The song that always picks me up when I'm downAdam Sandler – Grow Old With You (1998)

"You know what always picks me up when I’m down? A good Adam Sandler romcom. Adam’s song Growing Old With You from The Wedding Singer will never fail to lift me up. It’s a comfort movie and in-turn has created one of the greatest comfort songs ever. Thanks Adam!"

The song that I can't listen to anymoreCounting Crows – A Long December (1996)

"I don’t have any songs that I could never listen to again, so I’ll answer this question with which song I think I’ve overplayed, like just really played over and over to the point that people were like, 'Dude what’s with you and this song?!' And that song is A Long December by Counting Crows. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time, it’s perfectly melancholy and reflective and nostalgic, so it puts me in that mood right between happy and sad, and I think a truly great song will do that to you. To everyone who’s complained about how many times I’ve played this song, I’m not going to stop playing it anytime soon. Sorry."

The song that I'm most proud of writingRicky Himself – Parasocial (2021)

"I mean c’mon, Mark Hoppus is on it! Being from California I grew up idolising blink-182, they shaped so much of my personality, my sense of humour, my taste in music... so for that to come full circle and have someone as amazing as mark work on a song with me, means the whole fucking world. Every time I hear it I get chills; one of my favourite artists ever is on a song with me. It's definitely the most proud I’ve ever been when it comes to music."

The song that I wish I'd writtenThe Replacements – Unsatisfied (1984)

"That song encapsulates what it feels like to be beaten down so many times that you feel like there’s no point in trying anymore, but also having the unwavering stubbornness to never give up. Is it because I'm determined to attain my dream life? Or is it because I’m addicted to complaining about not attaining my dream life? This song perfectly explains the inner monologue I have pertaining to my music career. It’s the greatest song about coming of age, in my opinion."

The song I want played at my funeral (actually, wedding)Lucinda Williams – Sharp Cutting Wings (1980)

"This is dark. Was my last answer not introspective enough for you?! I’m changing this question to what song I would want played at my wedding! Yes, it’s true, I’m a hopeless romantic... Actually, it depends on who you ask, some would say I’m just hopeless.

"Anyway, the song I'd want played at my wedding is Sharp Cutting Wings by Lucinda Williams. Why, you ask? Give it a listen and you’ll see exactly why, but don’t use it at your wedding – that’s my idea and I will be taking legal action against anyone who purposely or coincidentally uses this as their wedding song!"

Ricky Himself's Poser EP is released December 8 via Alamo Records.

Check out more:

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?