Vagabon Mixes a Chill Playlist that Demands Respect

The singer-songwriter shares a mood-starting playlist featuring Solange, Christine and the Queens, and more.

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

When Laetitia Tamko, better known by her stage name, Vagabon, was 17, her parents bought her a Fender guitar from Costco and she taught herself how to play by watching instructional DVDs. She soon wrote and released songs on Bandcamp and was invited to play in famous NYC underground venues like Silent Barn. Her debut album, “Infinite Worlds,” was named Pitchfork’s Best New Music and she’s on tour now.  Here she is with a playlist that is both low-key and powerful.

Solange – “Don’t Touch My Hair”

Vagabon: It’s one of my favorite songs and I think it would just send a clear message about what kind of dinner party this is: it’s chill but demands respect. The message of the song is just so clear. It’s one that a lot of people with natural hair, people of color face. And it’s kind of playful, but I think overall it represents kind of respect these things about me that may seem that they’re accessible to you or available to you, but what is available to you is what I give you.

Alice Coltrane – “Something About John Coltrane”

It’s just the perfect song to kind of have dinner to or have play in the background, but also definitely sets a mood. You know, it’s classy stuff. I grew up listening to West African jazz, East African jazz, so this is kind of the first, I guess, like American jazz person that I’m really diving into. I love instrumental music when you can kind of listen to instruments as if they are telling the story, as opposed to words.

Christine and the Queens – “iT”

I play it anytime I DJ anywhere. It’s always a hit. Just upbeat enough for a dinner party and you can kind of feel more like you’re at a party to close it out.

People love it because I usually play it to break up overproduced songs, like, overly-compressed for the radio kind of stuff, and this falls a little bit in between. And people can still dance to it, but their brains can have a break from the intensity of what was probably happening before or what is yet to come.

Vagabon – “Cold Apartment”

As people are trickling out and dinner’s over, I would play “Cold Apartment.” Cold Apartment is actually the first song that I’ve ever written, and it’s kind of cool that it gets to be on my first album. I think I would put my all into this party. It would be great, and then everyone would have to go home, so that I can like, dim the lights, and sage my house, and kind of go to bed.