The mix tape. It’s an art. In fact, there’s an entire movie dedicated to it (High Fidelity). Somehow, making a mix for someone can express feelings we otherwise might be too scared, or uncomfortable to share. It also has the capacity to connect us to each other in new and different ways, and change our outlook on life and how we participate in the world. As one of our staff members said, “the tape made me feel ‘seen’ and known when I had thought I was pretty much invisible.” This is essential to the Workshop’s work with youth. When young people participate in art, make aesthetic choices and express their individuality, it gives voice to emotions they might otherwise not know how to share. Have you ever gotten a mix tape that made you feel that way? What was the best mix tape your ever received? Listen to our version here. Mix Tape

What are some songs from a great mix tape you received?

  • Gary, Artistic Director – Sadly, I never received a tape or CD mixed or otherwise from a girlfriend or any other friend.
  • Jessica, Executive Director – De La Soul
  • Beverly, Individual Giving Manager – “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star and “Reasons” by Earth, Wind & Fire.
  • Annie, Development Fellow – “Jolene” by Ray LaMantange.
  • Karena, Program Director – “You Belong to Me” by Patsy Cline.
  • Ivy, Finance & Operations Manager – “New Wave Music” especially, U2, DM, HL, TFT.
  • Laurie, Institutional Giving Manager – “Too numerous and private. Instead I’ll share my favorite mix tape story. After college I moved out to the Bay Area and worked in this music store/café on the Berkeley campus called A Musical Offering, I was only there for about 4-5 months. The clerk who worked in the music store, Robin was quiet, a music geek and DJ at a local station. He was vaguely hippy-ish; I aspired to looking creative and oppositional but really I just dressed like the dirt-poor student I was. Robin & I had made amiable small talk, but I wouldn’t say we were kindred spirits. I recall feeling like I mildly irritated him. On my last day, he calls me over and hands me a cassette. ‘Laurie’s Attitude Tape’ scrawled in red on its white label. Intriguing. I get home, pop it in, and out comes all this music that’s new to me, yet feels like it was already my old favorite music:
    • ‘See No Evil’ and ‘Marquee Moon’ — Television
    • ‘Bone Machine’ — Pixies
    • ‘Clap Hands’ — Tom Waits

He also included reading by William Burroughs.

That this person I thought barely knew me took the time to make that mix for me amazed and delighted me then, and does to this day. In fact I’m listening to Marquee Moon right now. Thanks, Robin.

  • Anne, Program & Communications Manager – It’s funny, but the best mix tapes have always come to me from friends. Two in particular really stand out, “The Trickster Mixter” which was my first mix tape ever from a great high school friend. It was basically an introduction to hip hop. “Ladies First” was given to me by my best friend, Maggie, as we were graduating high school. Many gems appear on both, but here are some highlights.
    • “Ladies First” by Queen Latifa
    • “Wide World” by Cat Stevens
    • “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest
    • “Turn It Up/Fire It Up” by Busta Rhymes
    • “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool
  • Larry, Program & Administrative Assistant – Surprising for me, considering my normal responses, but “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens still sticks out in my mind.