Bon Iver's 'Holocene': A Perfect Song To Write To

Andy Marra writes passionate essays about her experiences as a transgender woman. For the regular segment 'In Your Ear,' she shares some of the jams that help get her thoughts on paper.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we're going to hear from Andy Marra - a transgender activist who writes about different kind of freedom - freedom from wondering about her roots and fear of not being accepted. She spoke to us about finding her birth mother in Korea after coming out as transgender. For a regular segment we call In Your Ear, she shared some of the songs that helped her write that story.

ANDY MARRA: My name is Andy Marra and I am listening to "Lullabies" by Yuna.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LULLABIES")

YUNA: (Singing) I wanted to go away with you.

MARRA: She's a Malaysian artist and she was discovered and brought the states.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LULLABIES")

YUNA: (Singing) And I will leave all my troubles here.

MARRA: Her vocals are so dreamy and beautiful. And her voice is very clear and I love falling asleep to the sound of her music and to the sound of her voice. It puts me into a nice relaxing state that lets me fall asleep.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LULLABIES")

YUNA: (Singing) Like lullabies you are forever in my mind. I see you and I, the pieces in my life. Though you weren't mine. Like lullabies you are forever in my mind. I see you and I, the pieces in my life.

MARRA: Another song I'm listening to is "Holocene" by Bon Iver.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOLOCENE")

BON IVER: (Singing) Someway, baby, it's part of me, apart from me. You're laying waste to Halloween. You [bleep] it friend, it's on its head. It struck the street.

MARRA: That's a perfect song to write to. I particularly like to write to that song when I'm in front of a fireplace and it's quiet outside and it's night out. So it's a wonderful song to write to.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOLOCENE")

BON IVER: (Singing) and at once I knew I was not magnificent. Strayed above the highway aisle, Jagged vacance, thick with ice...

MARRA: Another song I really love is "Go Do" by Jonsi.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GO DO")

JONSI: (Singing) Go sing, too loud. Make your voice break - sing it out. Go scream, do shout. Make an earthquake. You've all wished fire would die and turn colder.

MARRA: It's a wonderfully happy and exuberant song. It has a lot of pep and it reminds me of the fall of 2010 when I found my family in Korea and I was able to begin building a relationship with them. So it has a lot of great memories, and it's very motivational for me when I am feeling down.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GO DO")

JONSI: (Singing) Go drum, do proud. Make your hands ache - play it out.

MARRA: Another song I really, really love is the "The Lark Ascending" By Vaughan Williams. It's more of a classical piece but again it's a wonderful song to write to, especially when you're feeling reflective and introspective, if you will.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LARK ASCENDING")

MARRA: I love playing the piece when I am sitting down, when it's raining outside and writing more thoughtful, meaningful pieces.

MARTIN: That was Andy Marra telling us what's playing in her ear. If you want to listen to our previous conversation, just head to npr.org/tellmemore. And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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