RØRY: The 10 songs that changed my life

From ’00s pop-punk to alternative metal and pop classics, RØRY reveals the soundtrack to her life.

RØRY: The 10 songs that changed my life

Music means so much to us all. But, as she unpacks some of the most important tracks on her life, it’s hard to think of someone who has connected with it more than RØRY

The first song that I remember hearing…Jackson Browne – Late For The Sky (1974)

“My dad had a cassette called The Old Grey Whistle Test and I remember loving this particular song. Rewinding the tape to play it over and over in my living room. Making up dances and singing at the top of my eight-year-old lungs. Listening back to it now, it’s such a deeply painful record full of longing and nuance. It makes me laugh that even eight-year-old me was consumed with such macabre sentiments!”

The song that reminds me of school…Lit – My Own Worst Enemy (1999)

“I was going through the obligatory emo phase in Year 9. And I was in love with a boy named Tom. blink-182 and Lit were bursting onto the scene and there was such an energy of teenage angst in the air. Tom joined a three-piece band and sang this song in assembly. He wore eyeliner as he delivered his punky rendition of this song. In that moment I knew I would never love anybody else. I was convinced that we would last forever. Truth is, we never even got started…”

The song that reminds me of the first gig I went to…Evanescence – My Immortal (2003)

“I was in my first year of uni and had started getting into dance music – well, more like getting into ecstasy, and dance music was a kind of cherry on top. Most of my weekends were spent heading to the now-long-gone Godskitchen in Birmingham. I was one of the youngest members of the also now-long-gone Godskitchen message board. And I had made a friend in Ade. Another undercover emo in the dance world. We bonded over our shared love of Evanescence. When they came to the UK, I went to Wolverhampton with Ade and watched Amy Lee rip my soul out of my body in a small cap room.”

The song that inspired me to be a musician…Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting (1989)

“I had a piano book with this song in it when I was young. I wasn’t a particular studious kid but something about this song just sounded good… I would play it over and over and it was the first real song I learned to play on the piano. I began writing my own songs as soon as I could play a few chords, around the age of 12. Without the simple and beautiful melodies of Mr. Marx I’m not sure I ever would have learned to play myself, or begun songwriting at all.”

The song that made me up my vocal skillsRØRY – Uncomplicated (2022)

“I had been insecure about my voice for so many years. I felt like I had so many failed projects to my name, as well as a history of being a bit of a fuck-up… confidence is a crucial part of artistry, and I didn’t have any. When I wrote the chorus to this song, it was way out of my comfort zone. I actually started singing lessons to help me find the confidence to record and release it! Oddly enough, now it’s my most streamed song. It reminds me of what lies on the other side of your comfort zone.”

The song that picks me up when I’m feeling down…Elton John – I’m Still Standing (1983)

“I never truly knew his story until watching Rocket Man. Having gone through my own sobriety journey, watching somebody so utterly fuck their life up and then make good on it again was incredibly inspiring. The lyrics to this song took on a new meaning and it’s now blasted in our house on our sober birthdays as well as on tough days. Our dance moves are terrible, mind you…”

The song I’m most proud of writing…RØRY – Jesus & John Lennon (2022)

“From my first EP Good Die Young. I still listen to it sometimes and think, ‘How did that happen?’ I am not a massive fan of my own work, and am often my harshest critic. I see the flaws, and the lack, in everything I do. But this song… I’m somehow in awe of it. It says everything I had been holding in for so many years about losing my mother. Singing it live the audience hold up their phone lights and hug each other. There’s something almost spiritual about it. A transmutation of absolute isolation into connection.”

The song I wish I’d written…Queen – No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) (1998)

“It’s pure poetry to me, this song… and touches on the real essences of grief. Written by Brian May and released six years after the death of Freddie Mercury. It was the last song of Queen to reach the charts. It’s a perfect, heart-ripping tribute. And the line ‘only the good die young’ inspired the title for my first EP. Queen without Freddie you imagine would be rather empty, but this song in all its raw honesty and emotion fills the gap in such a beautiful and haunting way. Songwriting at its finest.”

The song that was hardest to write…RØRY – the apology I’ll never receive (2023)

“I had recently gone no contact with my dad. The pain of his long-term affair with my now-step-mother was bubbling up due to my own therapy, and he didn’t want to speak to me about it. He refused to speak to me on Christmas Day, a time of year he knows I struggle with deeply as it’s when my mother died. It was so unbelievably callous and confusing… it felt like a bullet in my stomach. So I decided to cut him off. Anyone who has done that knows it’s torture if you do, torture if you don’t.

“This song was something I worked on through the worst of those times. It took everything out of me, I still can’t hear it without crying. God knows how I will sing it on tour.”

The song I want played at my funeral…The Beatles – Let It Be (1970)

“I sang it at my mum’s funeral. Somehow. Shock and dissociation are powerful things – now I can’t even think about her without a lump breaking its way through my throat. It was a song we all used to sing around the piano when I was younger. In death I will be closer to her, in some way. That thought has haunted me my entire life. But I hope it’s many years before anyone at my funeral is singing ‘when I find myself in times of trouble’.”

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