Theo Lawrence shares a collection of songs that inspired him while writing the young adult novel, Mystic City.
collection of songs that inspired me while I was writing Mystic City and represent some of the struggles and feelings of my
main characters, Aria and Hunter, and others:
War” by Janelle Monáe: I love
the cool tones of Janelle’s voice, plus the funky beat of this song. The line
“Do you know what you’re fighting for?” was something I thought about a lot as
I wrote Mystic City.
Beautiful” by James Blunt: The
unique sound of James’s voice always gets me (and he’s great in concert!). This
is what I imagine Hunter would play on the guitar and sing to Aria if he were a
a Losing Game” by Amy Winehouse: For me,
this is Davida’s song. The dark, sultry tone of Amy Winehouse’s voice never
grows old. She is able to capture such heartbreak, and this is what Davida
feels regarding Hunter, who loves Aria—not her.
& Wine” by The Civil Wars: Another
beautiful and tragic love song. This song is about the push and pull of love,
which is very present in Aria and Hunter’s relationship.
Cure” by Jordin Sparks: Jordin
is a fantastic singer. I like this song because it’s about the love you give
being a cure for previous heartache. It reminds me that, with love, every
broken heart can mend.
by Jump Little Children": I love
the simplicity of this song. When someone hurts you, sometimes you want them to
get as far away from you as possible and never come back! At times, that’s how
Aria feels about her parents.
Love” by Leona Lewis: How can
you not love this song? Aria and Hunter’s love is forbidden, but he has awakened
something special inside of her that she never thought she would feel—and she’s
not going to let anyone take that
away from her.
Your Love” by Brendan James: Have you
ever liked someone so much that it made you do crazy, stupid things you’d never
do otherwise? That’s what this song is about—it’s something I can relate to,
and so can most of the characters in Mystic
Meet You Anyway” by Gavin DeGraw: This
song expresses exactly how Aria feels when Hunter brings her to Java City in
the beginning of the book. She’s intrigued by him and wants to get to know him
better, but she’s engaged to Thomas . . . plus Hunter is a rebel mystic. And
yet there’s something that draws her to him. Thankfully, Aria listens to her
gut instead of her parents!
Against the World” by Coldplay: Toward
the end of the novel, this is 100 percent how Aria and Hunter feel. Sometimes
it really does come down how much you’re willing to fight for what you want
when the odds are stacked against you.
Artistes” by Santogold: Aside
from having a great beat, this is one of Aria’s theme songs. One of the lines
is “I hope it will be worth what I give up.” This is what Aria thinks when she
decides to betray her family and support Hunter and the mystic cause. She is
doing what she believes is right, but in order to do so, she has to go against
everything she knows.
Country” by Tift Merritt: Love is
many things, but sometimes it can be so wonderful that it transports you to a
whole new place. That is what Aria and Hunter feel for each other, and that is
what this song expresses to me—that love is worth fighting for because it’s
It” by Macy Gray: I love
how fun this song is. It’s what I imagine Aria might sing to her parents if she
ever had the chance!
York, New York” by Frank Sinatra: Although
this standard was originally performed by Liza Minnelli in the Scorsese film of
the same name, the Frank Sinatra version is my favorite. It celebrates the city
of Manhattan . . . so it’s the perfect song to encapsulate Mystic City!