How to Find Music for Your Burlesque Act
Going down the rabbit hole to find the right song.......
Psst, over here. I know what you are looking for, come in a little closer, I will whisper it in your ear…… a good song. I can help you find it but you will have to follow your own path and go down many rabbit holes to find the perfect song for your next performance.
I find music inspiration everywhere. The background song on the new HBO Max series, old movie playing late on a Saturday night film noir special, playing over the speakers at the grocery store, even on my boys’ video games. I use my Shazam music discovery app as much if not more than my Online banking app. Shazam makes it easy to find the title of a song and the musician and then buy it or save it to a playlist.
I save music that I like onto different Playlists, collecting songs for a new act, a show, or just for a good driving playlist. I don’t know what they will become but I enjoy collecting the songs.
One of my favorite places to find new music and unique remixes is on Soundcloud. I bought the monthly pass, which means no commercials and it opens up a lot more music options and allows you to really find amazing music. You can make playlists and share them easily. As you like songs and use the app more it gets to know you and will send recommendations. Check it out, you won’t regret it.
Ok, so now you have a few pointers on where to find music, but you might be asking, but what if I don’t know WHAT song I want to use? Ok, I have a few tips to find the right song:
1. Make sure it’s a song you like to listen to, over and over again. As you create your choreography you will be listening to the song on repeat and hopefully you will be able to perform that act over and over again. Another option is taking one of your all-time favorite songs and find an interesting new remix or version of it. SoundCloud is great to help you find different versions of songs. For Cabaret & Cocktails mermaid act, I was listening to the radio and “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper came on. I LOVE this song! I immediately searched SoundCloud and eventually found a remix of “Bizarre Love Triangle/Time After Time” by The New Limb.
2. Remixes & Covers are a great way to put a spin on your number as the audience will recognize the song but be intrigued by the new version you are sharing. It adds another layer of detail and audience engagement. For our Robot number, we start the act in a dive bar in outer space (very inspired by Futurama– a great TV show) as broken down stripper robots and we dance to Richard Cheeses version of “Baby Got Back” and then it changes to a cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by Pomplamoose as we strip down to very sleek silver robot feme fatales.
3. The OG. Sometimes nothing beats the original version of a song. Our Squirrel number is a good example of using the original version. None of the remixes or covers had the right feel as the original “Hey Good Lookin’“ by Hank Williams Jr.
4. Sometimes the song will find you and inspire the act. You will hear a song and instantly see your costume, dance choreo, and storyline of your performance. Or you will come up with an idea and find the song on an old playlist you made. You never really know, sometimes it was right under your nose the whole time! With my Whip Cream number, I was on Instagram and saw a performance clip by one of my favorite Australian Burlesque performers, Miss Rosie Rivette. She used the song “Gopher” by Yma Sumac and I instantly saw cupcakes and Marie Antoinette and put my own spin on the fabulous song.
5. Lastly, listen to a lot of music. No seriously, SO MUCH MUSIC, to the point you don’t even remember if you still like music or have any musical taste at all. For every gem you find you have to listen to hours of junk to get there. You have to commit and go down that rabbit hole.
For our Christmas show I was tasked with finding the perfect Christmas song for our virtual numbers. Those were some dark days endlessly listening to Christmas songs in October. I still get Santa Baby cover flashbacks (shiver).
I hope you feel inspired and on your next morning drive you will be listening to fabulous music and envisioning your next time center stage in the spotlight.
I wish you luck and share your playlist with me…
XOXO Lily O Lei
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