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News > Tonbridge Profiles > Portia King's Essential Playlist

Portia King's Essential Playlist

Our Careers Adviser, Portia King, shares her Desert Island Discs with us, featuring Taj Mahal, Joni Mitchell and Oasis

As someone who only sings out loud when on my own, at home or in the car, I’ve chosen songs I can sing along to as loudly and as badly as I like on my desert island and not a soul will hear!

I have a range of musical tastes, or thought I had until I realised I’d just made a list of singer/songwriters so I tried again and then removed the rap artists as language and topics didn’t really seem appropriate (I love Anderson .Paak). So here goes, although next week it would probably have been completely different.

1. Queen Bee - Taj Mahal

Growing up I loved listening to the blues and Taj Mahal in particular, Queen Bee is such a lovely song it rocks me to my soul. I have four brothers and life was noisy growing up. Escaping to my bedroom to listen to my records or radio Caroline and to read a good book was my idea of heaven.

2. May You Never - John Martyn

Solid Air was definitely my most played album as a teenager, I could have picked three or four from this album - Go Down Easy and Over the Hill are both fantastic too. I’m instantly transported back to my sixth form, bringing this album in to play on the common room turntable, whilst everybody else wanted to listen to Dire Straits.

3. The River - Joni Mitchell

Everything Joni does turns to gold. She’s such an inspirational artist and really rated by other musicians too, the list of people she has collaborated with is phenomenal. Nearly picked Hejira, but went for The River from her album Blue in the end. It’s a timeless, beautiful song about breaking up with a lover – it’s also a Christmas song. It was featured on the Radio 4 series Soul Music recently, which is always a good listen.

4. Champagne Supanova - Oasis

I think I was more Blur than Oasis at the time, like I was more Rolling Stones than Beatles, but over time I’ve swapped over – on both counts (love Gorillaz though). Champagne Super Nova from (What’s the story) Morning Glory is one of my kitchen songs. I like to sing along and dance round the kitchen when I’m cooking, and this is on that playlist along with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads and Paul Simon.

5. Why Didn’t You Call Me - Macy Gray

I have two children and they and my husband have their own musical tastes. When we’re together in the car we have to ensure all four are happy with the music choices. Macy hits the right notes musically at least, so she’s played quite a lot. Stevie Wonder gets the thumbs up from us all too as does Steely Dan and David Bowie.

6. Nothing Compares 2 U - Chris Cornell

This is a cover of a Prince song, although most people will know the Sinead O’Connor version. I think Chris Cornell has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. My son suggested I have a listen to this only after Chris Cornell had died. I wish I’d seen him and Soundgarden play live.

7. Alphabet Street - Prince

I’m a huge Prince fan too, did he really play the Hop Farm..?? Unlike my daughter, I’m not a great dancer, but there are some tunes that it is impossible to keep still to, and this is one of those. Always enjoyed a funky bass line. Interesting that both husband and son are bass players.

8. Sea Shanty 3 - Kololo

I was going to finish with John Lennon, but suddenly thought I’d like to have some of my son Ollie’s music on my desert island. This Kololo song was realeased in spring and has been doing well; they can be quite weird and wonderful and can get pretty funky. Kololo get a bit of radio airtime and have a bit of a following these days. When I’m rescued from my desert island, I expect they’ll still be rocking.

Book and Luxury Item

I worked in a bookshop for many years and love my books, choosing just one is really tricky. I remember being really affected by Wild Swans by Jung Chang when it first came out. And I loved Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but I think I’d return to an old favourite like Middlemarch by George Eliot. A good big fat one to keep me busy for ages.

I’m the only member of the family who can’t play an instrument. I got a shiny red telecaster for Christmas and am teaching myself to play (slowly). I’d take that and a solar-powered amp and a book to help me. I could try and learn these eight songs ready for the homecoming concert, I’ll be the warm up for Kololo.


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