The Songs That Inspire TIME’s Most Influential People of 2019

The Songs That Inspire TIME’s Most Influential People of 2019

The 2019 TIME 100’s list of the world’s most influential people features plenty of names you’ll recognise instantly. And for the ones you don’t, chances are you’ll be inspired by the work of these artists, athletes, activists, and more. In either case, TIME asked them each a question: What song inspires you?

Below are songs selected by 10 people on TIME’s list, plus an explanation of why they find meaning in that particular track. From Eminem to Beethoven, the music spans genres and eras, yet all these songs will likely stir something inside you—just as it does for them.

1. “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

“Fleetwood Mac is one of my favourite bands, and they have always been a main source of inspiration for me. I love Stevie Nicks so much, and her voice is just amazing. ‘Dreams’ is a timeless song, and that represents everything I aspire to be in music.”

Khalid, singer-songwriter

2. “Nessun Dorma!” from Giacomo Puccini‘s Turandot

“My surgeon father would put on the record player and sing along to it at the top of his voice, standing with clenched fists, in the middle of the living room. He sang it to give himself strength.”

—Glenn Close, actor

3. “Downtown” by Petula Clark

“My parents have a home video of me singing it to a spoon. It’s all about getting out, going somewhere and doing something with your life.”

—Ryan Murphy, screenwriter, director, and producer

4. “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

“It’s one of my favourite songs to run to.”

—Aileen Lee, venture capitalist

5. “Better Together” by Jack Johnson

“It was our wedding song, and I cannot possibly listen to this song without smiling.”

—Alex Morgan, athlete

6. “Not Afraid” by Eminem

“It speaks volumes (to me specifically). I fear nothing.”

—Caster Semenya, athlete

7.  “EARTHA” by Jamila Woods

“The song is based on sentiments Jamila shares with Eartha Kitt about compromising with men and holding them accountable.”

—Indya Moore, actor

8. “To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees

“I’m a big romantic and am someone who believes at my core that the most important thing in life is who you love and who you choose to spend your time with. This song reminds me how important it is to my own happiness to show the people I care about how important they are to me.”

—Jennifer Hyman, CEO and cofounder of Rent The Runway  

9. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem

“It talks about how you’ve gotten knocked down before, and you may have failed then, but an opportunity presents itself for you to obtain the thing you desired for so long. When you have that opportunity, will you seize the moment or will it slip away? It spoke to the movement to restore voting rights to returning citizens. Politicians who wanted to deal with this issue presented an opportunity and voters were ready to deal with it. This was the moment, that once in a lifetime chance, to deal with it.”

—Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

10. “Symphony No. 9” by Ludwig van Beethoven

“There is still reason to be hopeful and courageous.”

—Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

For the complete Time 100 list, visit http://time.com/100.  

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