What’s That Album is a new piece we’re trying out to get local bands and musicians in the limelight a little more often. The concept is simple, pose a series of scenarios and have the interviewee give us their ideal album for each based on their personal tastes.

First up is MJ Baker, a local singer/songwriter and musician. She was just featured in May’s Album Spotlights, but her mix of jazz and soul makes her hard to forget. We wanted to get to know her a little better by what she listens to, so we gave her a few scenarios and asked her to give us her go-to album for each.

What album do you listen to before a show?

MJ: When getting ready for a show I don’t listen to any music really.  I need to relax and listening to anything makes me overthink everything, but if I do it would be jazz.
John Coltrane: Coltrane Plays the Blues
Coltrane’s music, jazz period, is so calming and instrumentally challenging. It just allows me to clear my mind and remain focused on the task at hand. I got introduced to this album in college while studying for exams. A friend suggested him, and from that moment, it was love. I actually checked one of his albums out of the Jacksonville Library and never took it back. I owe them money ’til this day. I didn’t mean not to return it … I just loved it from the first note until the end.

When you’re relaxing?

Classical Music
I am a fan of vintage classical like Johann Sebastian Bach. There’s no particular album. I will just pull him up and it calms me. Although this may surprise some, I really dig music with no lyrics. Most times I prefer to start my day with some classical music. Instrumental are the best. One experience is when a friend, Mr. Al Pete and I drove to Orlando a few years ago to experience QuestLove of The Roots at a downtown Orlando venue. The other friends we were with hated it because Questlove didn’t play any music with lyrics. He just played beats and instrumentals. Al and I were in heaven, especially Al Pete, because he’s a DJ. But for me, it was the best time. You don’t have to think with classical or non-verbal music. I can focus and tune out the world with it.

When you need inspiration?

Chris Stapleton: Traveller
He is a storyteller and so am I. This album reminds me that honesty is the best policy in music. Traveller to me is as raw of an album as one can get. He isn’t speaking all about romancing his lady, but he’s exposing his demons and revealing how he is still a work in progress. When I discovered this album 2015, I cried. I thought, “this is my story. This is my kindred.” So when I’m writing a personal song and I don’t think I can expose a certain side of myself, I put that album on pray to the Creator and get moving. Jesus Christ and Chris Stapleton. Ha …
India.Arie: Songversation
This is another honest album. Reminds me to keep living and doing what I love as an artist and a giver of music.

At a beach day/BBQ?

Bob Marley: Exodus
My brother was and still is the ultimate Bob Marley fan. I grew up with it in the house, so when I got older, I learned to appreciate the Bob Marley experience righteously. Some years ago, his biography became a docufilm. After watching the film, I picked up his album in Walmart. This made me fall in love with the sounds of the music. They get you hype and the spirit of this album is so refreshing. Reminds me of a cool summer’s day at the water, glowing with the sun!

When you’re road tripping?

Katy Perry: Teenage Dream
Classic party album to me. Keeps you up and awake. She’s the 21st century Cyndi Lauper, “Girls just Wanna Have Fun.” Definitely a road trip album.