GTC EXCLUSIVE: 5 Albums That Inspired and Shaped Songwriter MONICA ABEN
Monica Aben – In Your Universe is available @ Apple Music.
by Monica Aben
Making this list ended up being much easier than I expected thanks to my old iPod touch, which is now a time capsule from my early writing days. These aren’t necessarily my top 5 favorite records of all time, but they’re the records that inspired me to write and helped me find my sound. These are in no particular order, so here we go!
Keane – Hopes & Fears 
I was in 5th grade when I first heard Hopes & Fears and there are 3 songs on it that I played into oblivion for having such intoxicating melodies. Everybody’s Changing was my theme song when I graduated from 8th grade. It was everything I felt, but couldn’t put into words & 11 years later it’s still relevant. The Last Time remains one of my favorite melodies ever. And perhaps a bit cliché, Somewhere Only We know, because I remember being 12 years old and thinking, “If I made music, I would want it to sound like this.” You can tell I’ve always been one for driving piano melodies. Keane introduced that sound to me.
Ingrid Michaelson – Girls & Boys  & Everybody 
These albums go together for me because I discovered them at the same time. I started writing songs in 2010 and I really feel like these two records taught me how to write. The phrasing in songs like Breakable (some of my favorite lyrics ever), Sort Of, and The Chain just blew my mind. The lyrics are poignant and simple. To this day it still feels like, genius to me.
Sara Bareilles – Little Voice 
This record taught me about rhythm and the power of the pocket. Her phrasing on this entire album is impeccable. My favorite examples are Bottle It Up, Come Round Soon, and Many The Miles. I love how she sings the words the way you would speak them. It feels so natural.
Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim 
This record influenced me more than you’d think. This was played many, many times during my first year of writing. Laura Marling proved to me that my words and my stories were important. That someone out there would relate. Her songs Failure, Ghosts, & Cross Your Fingers wrapped me up in her world. Every song felt like a short film that she was narrating.
Taylor Swift – Red 
Everyone knew this was going to make the list, and not just because All Too Well has one of the best bridges ever written or because it’s a song I wish I wrote myself. “Red” has always felt like several snapshots of painfully beautiful memories from “State of Grace” to “The Last Time”. They seem to have been born out of catharsis, much like my new record, and those are my favorite types of songs. You can just feel it. These songs, each an anthem in their own right, will forever break my heart in all the best ways.
GTC Video Premiere: The Beginning of Things
Artist photo/press quote via Public Display PR
In Your Universe
Recorded/ engineered @ Dockside Studios (Louisiana) with Justin Tocket and Ben Alleman
The Beginning of Things (video)
Written and performed by Monica Aben
Directed by Devin Schiro
“A Venice, CA native, Aben’s new full-length In Your Universe is a testament to passion and resilience: an examination of the ever-evolving conditions in our lives that transform and cascade into violent dissonance to the point where your feelings threaten to overwhelm you, until you realize, perhaps quite suddenly, that everything you’ve gone through has finally led you to the perfect place, and that you actually wouldn’t change a thing. Sung ardently over lush foundations of piano and sensible pop melodies,”