BBC Sounds brings us Songs To Live By, a new podcast celebrating Black voices and their experiences through the songs that shaped them.

Song to Live By

Hosted by Radio 1’s Vick Hope, each episode features chats with two guests, of different generations, about the music that has defined them – personally, politically, musically.

Extracts from the songs will be played throughout the episodes as guests swap stories about their formative years and why the songs mean something to them. Vick will also hear their experiences from across the decades, and about the music scenes and artists they loved and how they influenced them.

“Led by a Black team, this podcast is about our backgrounds, our heritage, our culture, our home lives…”

Guests already confirmed for the series include: actor and rapper Doc Brown, jockey Khadijah Mellah, comedian Dane Baptiste, singer Mica Paris, actor Paterson Joseph, performance poet Sophie Thakur, Radio 1Xtra’s Tiffany Calver, YouTuber Zeze Millz, writer Niellah Arboine, poet Benjamin Zephaniah, rapper Eve, actor Akemnji Ndifornyen, founder of UK Black Pride Lady Phyll, rapper Hardy Caprio, comedian Sophie Duker, blogger Toni Tone, actor and singer Jordan Stephens, and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu.

Vick Hope said: “Songs To Live By is a really special project: a listening party that I cannot wait for you all to get down at; a labour of love that has made myself and my guests both laugh and cry together, brought great joy but also reflection on the world we live in, how far we have come and the obstacles, the pain and suffering that those who went before us withstood, whilst looking with optimism to the future.


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“We cover civil rights to Windrush, Black LGBTQ+ Pride to racism and activism in the diaspora, but also our passions and when we realised them, excelled at them, inspired others with them. Led by a Black team, this podcast is about our backgrounds, our heritage, our culture, our home lives: the Motown we listened to growing up, gospel in church on Sundays, dancing with our parents to Afrobeat on a Saturday night, sneaking out to hip hop clubs… The moments we lost ourselves in music and found ourselves in music.

“This podcast shines a light on our roots and our routes; the changes these amazing guests have made, but also the change that still – in the words of Sam Cooke – is gonna come. Expect Gospel, Soul, Motown, Hip Hop, Funk, Jazz, High Life, Roots, Reggae, Rap… the rhythm and indeed the blues.”

The first episode of Songs To Live By is available on BBC Sounds now, with new episodes available weekly.

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