Mocha Man Style Mixtape celebrates the music we all love by asking creative people to share their favorite songs.
Sha Davis is a Houston-based performer and lead singer for the band Sha Davis and the 1990s. Her mixtape includes an eclectic selection of songs and musicians.
“Caro Mio Ben” By Giuseppe Giordani Sang by Cecilia Bartoli
“Caro Mio Ben” is one of my favorite Italian Arias by my absolute favorite opera singer, her control and dynamics inspire me. I actually sang this song as my audition song for my music scholarship to college.
“I’m On Fire” by Mystikal
“I’m On Fire” introduced me to riveting storytelling in hip-hop. Of course, I’d heard storytelling before, but this was funny, interesting, and creative in a way I’d never heard. That beat still rides!
“Grindin'” by Clipse
I grew up learning to rap to this song in 6th grade. Everyone beat on the table, but they would never let the girls have a verse. “Grindin’” was the song I used when I was determined to be heard. It’s how I started freestyling at every lunch period.
“My All” by Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is ICONIC! “My All” is emotional and musically simple, but vocally, this song can be difficult. The quick changes from chest to falsetto and back made me want to challenge myself as a vocalist.
“Still in Love (Kissing You)” by Beyonce
“Still in Love (Kissing You)” is beautiful, challenging, powerful. I fell in LOVE with Beyonce the day I heard this song. I knew I was a fan but this song I played a million times not attempting to emulate her vocals but her emotions.
Can’t Knock The Hustle by Jay-Z featuring Mary J. Blige
I first heard Jay Z’s album Reasonable Doubt and it changed my life. “Can’t Knock the Hustle” was my introduction. I have been a hardcore Jay Z fan ever since.
Breaking The Habit by Linkin Park
I really struggled with where to put this song chronologically. Linkin Park is one of my favorite groups and I believe Meteora is one of their best albums because I relate to it so much. Constantly evaluating how to be better and break bad habits is an ongoing struggle for most people. Chester Bennington, the writer and lead singer, worked on these issues yet, in the end, decided he couldn’t continue. I listen to “Breaking the Habit” and forget how difficult it is for me to change, and I think about him and why he might’ve written this song. That’s how it landed at number four on my list.
“My Only Thrill (Live)” by Melody Gardot
“My Only Thrill (Live)” is not simple in any form. This orchestra centered cinematic rendition is a masterpiece. Every time I listen to it, it takes my breath away.
“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday has been one of my favorite artists since 6th grade. “Strange Fruit” is part of the reason. The imagery and historical context bring tears to my eyes and really forces me to stop and listen to the pain in her voice. The writing is blatant and yet still metaphorical. Nina Simone does an amazing rendition, but Billie Holiday brought this song to life.
This Bitter Earth by Dinah Washington (Original and Soundtrack version by Max Richter)
“This Bitter Earth” is my absolute favorite song. I knew it would be my number one choice before I made the list. This song is life, it’s about life – the good, the bad and then, the end. The Max Richter version blended with “On the Nature of Daylight,” is haunting. It gives new breath to the song and really drives home the overall theme. I have never heard anything that makes me feel the way it does. Sad, happy, afraid, proud. It is the epitome of art in its capacity to stir emotion, to change thoughts, and solidify life-altering moments.
Listen to Sha Davis’ full mixtape on Spotify
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