Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist…

PLAYLISTI can’t write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with this book! Set in Nashville, Before He Was A Secret – the third standalone romance in my new adult Starstruck Series) is the story of Stephanie and Conor, both from very different backgrounds, learning how a shared love of music can help them re-write their stories. I was inspired by a mix of everything, from country (of course) to indie pop and the classics. I hope you enjoy this playlist!

Brad Paisley – Perfect Storm

I think this one is how Conor feels about Stephanie – absolutely! He falls for her when he doesn’t really want to, because she’s pretty much a hurricane who’s blown into his life and shaken it up. She’s forced him into living his dreams the way he never dared to do before! ‘She’s Sunday drive meets high-speed chase, She ain’t just a song, she’s the whole mixtape, She’s so complicated that’s the way God made her, Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane…’

Hozier – Take Me To Church

I’m a huge fan of this song and I can imagine it’s the way Conor feels. He’s so done with his father’s strict religious outlook. He believes in worshipping Stephanie and every other thing that makes him feel his authentic self. ‘Take me to church, I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your life…’

Emmylou Harris – Boulder to Birmingham

Such a beautiful song. Stephanie grew up in Birmingham but home is quickly becoming Nashville and Conor. In fact, she’s starting to feel she’d go anywhere with him, even though his problems seem to follow them everywhere and she has enough on her own plate. ‘And I don’t want to hear a sad story, Full of heartbreak and desire, The last time I felt like this, It was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire..’

Matt Nathanson – More than this

I really feel like this song represents Conor’s plight to stand on his own two feet without his father’s constant put-downs and preaching. He wants to show Stephanie who he really is, and she wants the same from him. ‘She said, “I know you, you’re a salesman’s son, And you’re pimping pretty junk,
And I said, What am I supposed to do, They’ve built the scenes around you, And I need more than this”

Striking Matches & Sam Palladio – “I Ain’t Leaving Without Your Love”

Recorded live at the Opry, this track is one of my faves from the Nashville TV show. I can also imagine Stephanie and Conor jamming to this with their friends in the yard, or living room, way before they become Jackson and Judge! ‘Jukebox dies, closing time, take me by the hand.’ Just that line holds so much promise and a bit of the tension building up between Conor and Stephanie!

This Town – Bryan White

I listened to a lot of Bryan White when I was younger, his soulful voice always got to me! He made his way into the book as this was the song Stephanie wanted to play when she asked her parents to go out and get the music for the piano version. The lyrics ‘I hear the wind blowing at my door, voices telling me there’s so much more, it’s easy to get bored in this town,’ really resonated with me when I was younger, like they did Stephanie. Ok so yes, she’s a little bit me!

Joshua Radin, ‘I’d Rather Be With You’

What a haunting tune! I love this guy’s voice too. I can picture Stephanie and Conor writing this together as a duet, based on pulling each other of their respective darkness. ‘Now here’s the sun, come to dry the rain, Warm my shoulders and relieve my pain, You’re the one thing that I’m missing here, With you beside me I no longer fear…’

Brett Eldredge – Mean To Me (Official Video)

This one, and Brett’s soulful country voice really describes for me how Conor feels as he watches Stephanie lighting up the room with her amazing talent! ‘Standing here, Watching you, Turning every head in this crowded room, The lights down low, Dancin slow, Oh, if falling’s how you feel,  And perfect is what you see, Then I’d be what you mean to me…’

Lauren Aquilina | Sinners 

Conor’s whole life has been dictated and controlled by his strictly religious family and their community, but when he meets Stephanie he realises that if he’s considered a sinner, it’s more than OK. This is a song about courageously following your heart, no matter what the naysayers say! ‘So lets be sinners to be saints, And lets be winners by mistake, The world may disapprove, But my world is only you, And if we’re sinners then it feels like heaven to me…’

Nashville Cast – A Life That’s Good (feat. Lennon & Maisy)

I love this simple, catchy tune from the TV show Nashville, it really put me in the mood for listening to more country, and more duets from these girls. Oh and Conor and Stephanie, of course. It’s a sweet song about appreciating all the goodness in your life. If you have good people around you, four walls and a lot of love, you have a life that’s good.