Sans commute, watercooler breaks, and meetings that require moving from your desk to a conference table, it’s easy for your day to feel like one long slog. As remote work continues to be the new normal, a bit of creativity is necessary to prevent working from home from turning into living at work—and the right playlist can do wonders.
Just because you’re stuck in the same space all day doesn’t mean you can’t change the ambience at the drop of a hat (or the tap of a play button). You might already have your perfect WFH playlist—the one that keeps you focused and energized throughout the day. But when it’s time to shut your laptop, enjoy dinner, and get ready for bed, chances are you need a totally different vibe. Here, 10 creatives share the music that helps them switch into off mode and makes their space the perfect place to relax.
Éva Goicochea, founder of Maude
Musical routine: Whereas in the morning we blast French pop or Latin music (my husband, Ian, is Peruvian-American and I’m Mexican-American) to wake up and get moving, in the evening we slow down and turn on jazz or mellow electronica to make dinner and read. Our house is on a corner facing northeast, so the light changes dramatically from day to night, and the music echoes this shift.
Go-to tunes: Mornings: Cesária Évora, João Gilberto, Polo & Pan, Parcels. Evenings: Stan Getz, Nils Frahm, Bonobo, Max Richter.
On repeat: Stan Getz Radio is the best wind-down station: a little bit moody and classic.
Marta Freedman, cofounder of Dieux
Musical routine: When I’m working at all hours of the day off and on, I use music to get into the flow and set the mood. If the playlist isn’t right, I’m not creative and I can’t focus, so I try to listen to things that uplift me and make me happy. I also play Kundalini mantras and quantum frequencies if I feel stuck creatively.
Go-to tunes: I love Nasty Cherry and Tei Shi, as well as Kali Uchis, Empress Of, and Kacy Hill. Over the summer I got really into listening to old albums I loved in college, like Gemini by Wild Nothing and the title albums from the XX and Washed Out. It’s been nice to tap into other feelings and leave the present stressors for a bit.
On repeat: The Row’s April 2020 playlist got me through many days in quarantine. It puts me in a good mood when I don’t know what else to listen to.
Alisha Ramos, founder of Girls Night In
Musical routine: I live with my fiancé, so we work in the same space, eat in the same space, and are around each other all the time. After work I need about an hour of alone time, so we’ve started to bake this into our routines. When I log off work, I’ll retreat to the second bedroom, light a candle, and turn on some music while reading or just scrolling through Instagram.
Go-to tunes: Folklore by Taylor Swift. I am a pretty huge fan and I’ve loved all her recent albums (yes, including Reputation), but this one is so special that it’s been on repeat. I also love Julia Michaels, Khalid, Tennis, and Selena Gomez. I don’t branch out much in terms of my music and I like what I like.
On repeat: I love this playlist because it’s so calming and has some of my favorite artists on it. I like music that makes you feel emotional. Everything could be great and happy in your life, but if a song can make you feel all the feels? That’s a great song.
Susan Korn, founder of Susan Alexandra
Musical routine: I have a strict rule for the music in my home—it must be peaceful and healing. The gentler and more melodic, the better. Extra points for any songs that utilize wind chimes or harp! My dad always told me that the right music can be good for digestion, which I take seriously. My playlist transforms my home into a peaceful oasis even though I’m smack-dab in the middle of bustling Manhattan.
Go-to tunes: Erik Satie, Nawang Khechong, Taylor Swift, Claude Debussy, Yann Tiersen, and Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou.
On repeat: This playlist takes me on a mental vacation.
Cami Téllez, CEO of Parade
Musical routine: My music is equally intense from the beginning to the end of the day. I’m quarantined in Hollywood right now, and I like geographic-specific music when I’m in L.A. Kim Petras’s work is so decadent and fun, especially “Hills” with Baby E and “Malibu”—these songs really make me wish I could wear something asymmetrical and sheer to a house party.
Go-to tunes: I’ve been listening to a lot of post-punk stuff like New Order and the Cure because it makes me feel safe and it’s music I grew up listening to—New Order’s Power, Corruption, Lies is still the best album (and the Peter Saville cover is an absolute work of art). “Blue Monday” is my favorite track. I also listen to a lot of rappers from Atlanta, because I’m a big trap fan—my absolutely favorite album is Future’s HNDRXX.
On repeat: This playlist.
Babba C. Rivera, founder of Ceremonia
Musical routine: I love tuning into Latin music after work; it makes my home feel like home and puts an end to the work vibe. It’s nice to have that contrast.
Go-to tunes: I actually love to just tune into some preexisting playlists, as it removes the need for active choices, which I feel like I have enough of in my workday.
On repeat: South American folk is one of my favorites, and I also love Spotify’s own playlist, Bossa Nova Dinner, for prepping food and hosting.
Aishwarya Iyer, founder of Brightland
Musical routine: I have music playing most of the day, which ranges from Carnatic (classical South Indian) to country (I grew up in Texas!), but it’s usually quieter in the background. To unwind after the day, I usually listen to something more jazzy—lately it’s been Disney and Broadway show tunes.
Go-to tunes: Besides nostalgic Disney songs, I have been listening to quite a bit of Esperanza Spalding and Leslie Odom Jr.
On repeat: I love this playlist because it jolts you awake after feeling numb looking at a screen for hours, and it always inspires me to go into the kitchen, rummage around in the fridge, and find something fun to cook up for dinner.
Lala Lopez, founder of Mothball Memoirs
Musical routine: Each day has been so different lately, but music stays on nearly all day at home. When I’m done working, I tend to listen to artists and playlists that signal me to unwind a little bit but still enjoy that post-work flow of energy.
Go-to tunes: Leikeli47, Disclosure, Osunlade, and Big Freedia when I’m working out. On the weekends I tend to listen to a ton of old Soulection Radio shows. They are around two hours long, so it’s nice to have a consistent flow of music all day long that I know I vibe with.
On repeat: I’ve been making a lot of playlists for the smallest moments. I made this one for those evenings when all you want do is chill, wind down, enjoy your space, and maybe have a glass of wine.
Jen Batchelor, founder of Kin Euphorics
Musical routine: My post-work routine is sacred, so I’ll shut down all my devices and put on some vinyl records—lately I’ve been loving REO Speedwagon, Amber Mark (our generation’s Sade), and some old funk by Bootsy Collins and Curtis Mayfield. Something about the scratch just hits the spot after hours.
Go-to tunes: James Blake released some great music last year that I can’t stop listening to. Bronze Avery is another killer artist and a go-to for dancing the day away. Both he and Remi Wolf are kept in pretty heavy rotation at Kin Clubhouse.
On repeat: I make playlists like a lovesick John Cusack in Say Anything—sometimes they are for myself and other times they’re for my friends, my mom, or for dinners I’ll one day host when this is all over. I made a wind-down one for the Kin community called Dream Lit Nights.
Sierra Tishgart, cofounder of Great Jones
Musical routine: My best purchase of 2020—full stop—was a Bluetooth shower speaker. I blast Florence and the Machine every night while I rinse and it’s extremely therapeutic. Plus I can sing as loud as I desire. My (rental) bathroom is very small and the shower pressure is not great, so music brings joy to this space.
Go-to tunes: Folklore, Folklore, Folklore. And the Normal People soundtrack.
On repeat: I love covers, and this playlist is a compilation of my favorites.
Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.