2020 was a year of adjustment for Illicit Ghost. With no more live shows happening she had to figure out new ways to connect with her audience. “I started my show on Instagram Live called “Anti-Anxiety Hour” as a way to bring people together and form a supportive community around mental health,” she tells Eat This Music. “I also started an “Anti-Anxiety” playlist on Spotify of songs that help me to feel grounded which I shared with my listeners. I update it as soon as I hear a song that makes me feel relaxed.”

Eat This Music: Who was on your “Must Listen To” List at the start of 2020?

For me I always come back to Fiona Apple and Alanis Morrissette. “I Want You to Love Me” and “Hands Clean” were my top listened to tracks on Spotify this year. Their music brings me so much peace.

Has that list changed in the previous 12 months?

It has grown to include Hayley Williams, especially one of the songs off of Petals for Armor called “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris.” The lyrics speak so well to reclaiming your power, especially as a woman. Having boygenius singing back-up vocals on the track really drives the message in, which I love. Plus the string arrangements are so well-done and spooky. It’s a song that really makes me feel inspired as a songwriter, producer and violinist.

What type of new artists/bands have you discovered in 2020?

Some of my listeners have introduced me to Caroline Polachek this year. I listened to the entire Pang album in my car one day when I on a long drive. I was struck by her vocal delivery and performance. I actually had to go back and listen to the entire album again because I was so focused on the vocals on the first listen! The second time I was blown away, again, but this time by the production because there are so many nuances throughout the album that make the sound so unique and fresh.

Did you have any guilty pleasure songs or albums in 2020?

I listen to it all!

Which song, or songs, of yours in 2020 would you recommend to listeners?

I would strongly recommend every song on Fiona Apple’s new album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” The record is a work of art, I love every song on there. When I listen to it, I feel like things make sense and I feel at peace with myself which is rare for me.

What were your personal (or professional) highlights this year?

Starting “Anti-Anxiety Hour” was a great way for me to keep up the communication with my listeners and to try to help each other with tips for managing mental health. I also released my first ever music video for my song “Present” which I was really happy about. I got a lot of writing and producing done this year, for myself and for others, and I cannot wait to share it!

What keeps you making music?

I have to create in order to feel alive.

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