Mistress of the Mix: Shazam!

I can’t even count on all my fingers and toes how many times the following has happened: I’m out somewhere. I could be pretty much anywhere, doing pretty much anything when it happens. Checking out size 8 1/2 shoes at Ross Dress For Less, driving to the airport to catch a flight to (or from) Hawaii, deciding which flavor ice cream to take home from Safeway, or sitting in the back row at the dollar movie theatre. A song comes through the speakers that speaks to me. No, it sings to me.

It’s as if I just tasted the best thing ever. Like pesto. Truffle oil. It’s as if I just found the perfect bra, the right haircut for my face, the most comfortable shoes, or just had the best kiss ever.

I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s that feeling you get when you finally get matched up with the perfect thing for you. I get that same feeling from time to time with music.

The problem is, you never know when it’s going to happen. You’re out in public, you hear the strains of a song that is so awesome that you absolutely have to know what it is and who’s making it happen right flipping now.

Remember back in the old days when you had to wait for a month or two to find out who did it? Remember when you’d call up a radio station and sing the song to the DJ, hoping you remembered it right, so that they’d tell you who sang it? I still get these calls, at least once a week, and I’m always willing to lend my detective skills to help them find their musical holy grail, since I know all too well the pain associated with hearing, but not knowing who sings the Best. New. Song. Ever.

And then along came Shazam.

Well, first came one of my best girlfriends, Judy Tofflemire. Then came the iPhone (and she had one long before my husband finally talked me into upgrading). And then came a night when she and I were out somewhere across town in a crowded drinking establishment, when a song came over the speakers, and when I exclaimed, “Oh I like this, I wonder who does it?” she responded with, “Hold on, I’ll Shazam it!” She pawed through her purse for about 30 seconds (if you know Judy, you’re already chuckling at the image of her, elbow deep into a gigantic purse), pulled out her phone, pressed something on her screen, and then held it out, at arms length, high above her head.

I can’t remember what the song was, only that a treasure chest had just opened up right in front of me.

Shazam!

The first app I downloaded after I got my own iPhone last year? Give you one guess.

Today I’m paying homage to the greatest app ever invented, in my not-very-humble opinion, with a playlist of songs that were introduced to me (or finally revealed to me) via Shazam. Because it keeps track. So I can tell you exactly when I Shazammed (or is it Shazamed) a song, and for the most part can even tell you if I was on my way up to the top of Haleakala on Maui, sitting at my desk at work, or watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. Or watching a documentary on chimpanzees at 8am on Easter morning, which is what I was up to when I last Shazammed (I decided…it’s Shazammed) a Best. New. Song. Ever.

Today’s playlist is also in honor of my friend Judy, on the occasion of my anniversary moving to Redding a dozen years ago. Judy was my first friend, who welcomed me to the neighborhood with bagels, fresh picked flowers, and a dinner invitation. Thanks for being my own personal welcome wagon to Shasta County, my little petunia!

Click on the play arrow below to stream, or go directly to the Shazam! playlist at Grooveshark.

  1. Pharrell Williams – Come Get It Bae Newest. Best. New. Song. Ever.
  2. Ingrid Michaelson – Girls Chase Boys
  3. Zee Avi – Concrete Wall
  4. Hot Chip – Let Me Be Him Happy to say I heard this for the 1st time last week on JPR at 89.7 fm!
  5. Caro Emerald – That Man
    Ana Tijoux – 1977
  6. Bebel Gilberto & Nat King Cole – Brazilian Love Song This song has the distinction of being the first song I can ever recall shazamming. On Judy’s iPhone, of course.
  7. Bajofondo – Pa’bailar
  8. John Mayer – Call Me The Breeze This Shazam was a result of a debate over whether this song was John Mayer singing by himself  or with the original songwriter, J.J. Cale. 
  9. White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
  10. E.L.O. – Long Black Road
  11. Black Keys – Lonely Boy
  12. Divine Fits – Would That Not Be Nice
  13. Locksley – The Whip
  14. TJR – Funky Vodka
  15. will.I.am – Scream & Shout Shazammed on the way to the Oakland airport, Hawaii bound.
  16. Black Keys – Unknown Brother
  17. Major Lazer – Original Don
  18. Angel Olsen – High & Wild
  19. Peddlers – On A Clear Day
  20. Feed Me – Trapdoor
  21. Alice Russell – Breakdown
  22. Wang Chung – Space Junk I Shazammed this song twice, because I refused to believe the first time that it was actually Wang Chung. I thought for sure Shazam makes mistakes! Nope.
  23. Butch Walker & the Black Widows – Synthesizers
  24. Enrique Iglesias – Turn The Night Up Another mistake on my part. I thought this had to be Justin Timberlake. Yeah, no.
  25. Parachute – Can’t Help
  26. Stone Temple Pilots – Big Bang Baby
  27. Citizen Cope – Sun’s Gonna Rise
  28. Tame Impala – Elephant

Valerie Ing-Miller has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for nine years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She’s the mother of a teenage daughter and a 7-year-old West Highland Terrier, and can’t imagine life without them or music. Valerie wakes up with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.

Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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11 Responses

  1. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    I watch movies on television to pass the time while I’m walking on the treadmill twice a day. I just caught up with “Notting Hill” for the first time, and the song “She” sung by Elvis Costello won’t leave my brain.

    • Avatar `AJacoby says:

      Wonderful Charles Aznivoir (sp?) song. Il Volo did an amazing version on a French awards show out of Quebec a couple of years ago.

      • Avatar EasternCounty says:

        When I was researching “She,” I learned that Charles Aznavour (I had to Google the spelling!) had written it. There are YouTube videos of both him and Elvis Costello singing it. I’m getting my “She” fix!

        Valerie, tell us more about Shazam. What do you have to enter to tell Shazam something? Do you hold your phone up to a song while it’s playing? Do you hum a few bars? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    Oh, good heavens , . , . I’m way to old to be hip, like you, but it turns out that we are “Sahazam Sisters!” It was the first app when I finally broke down and got my smart phone. Fellow musician, ‘CoachBob01’ grabbed my new phone and said something like, “Here’s an app you just can’t (or was it shouldn’t) live without.” Don’t tell him I said it, but it was right. Mostly happen to me when I’m driving. I have to pull over, but I don’t drive anymore unless my phone is out and open to the Shazam screen. I used to call DJs who don’t give that info over the air a lot of nasty names . . . now, I just Shazam. sure saves on the blood pressure!!!

    What an amazing app . . . How DO they do that??!!??

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      I have often wondered how the heck Shazam does its thing too, Sistah! Also, thanks for giving me the opportunity to shamelessly plug the radio station I work for. One of the things I love about JPR is that we always give a rundown of everything you just heard. And if you missed it, we keep detailed playlists (with a link to a place where you can purchase the music) at !

    • Avatar CoachBob says:

      You’re welcome!

  3. Avatar James says:

    I have never heard of these songs before. I truly need to get out more

  4. Avatar JoAnnie says:

    I’ve used a similar app, for the past few years, called SoundHound. I’ll have to check out Shazam!

  5. Valerie Ing-Miller Valerie Ing-Miller says:

    To answer Eastern Shasta County’s question, for those who have never used Shazam, when you open up the app, it says “Touch to Shazam.” You touch the button, hold your device (phone, iPad, iPod) near the source of music, hopefully without too much ambient noise to interfere with the app’s ability to listen, and Shazam will either tell you exactly what song/artist/album is playing within about 10 seconds, or it will tell you that it couldn’t find the song. I’ve only had that happen a couple of times, but it happens.
    It does NOT work if you sing or hum a tune. And yeah, I know that because I’ve tried it!

    • Avatar Ron says:

      yep and whats really amazing it will do instrument songs only too. for example classical, jazz,etc with no singing. i dont know how they do it but its cool….

    • Avatar CoachBob says:

      ….and on mine, it’ll usually tell me were/how I can buy it!