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Brain Music Ep. 33: Martissa Williams and Rod Coleman

Brain Music Ep. 33: Martissa Williams and Rod Coleman

Brain Music Header

There's no doubt that finding the perfect playlist can motivate and inspire you. Whether it's finishing the last mile of your run, tackling that laundry you've been putting off, or getting you through your workday, tunes can change everything. So let's motivate and inspire each other, shall we?

This is Brain Music: a selection of songs curated monthly by different members of the Rochester community that we hope will inspire you the same way it inspires its curator. Today, we bring you a playlist curated by yoga instructors and change makers Martissa Williams and Rod Coleman. Without further ado, here's Brain Music Episode 33.

Rod and Martissa Brain Music Intro

Photo by Julia Merrell


I turn to music for everything between needing creative stimulation to needing something to lull me to sleep. This playlist lands more on the stimulus side. I am a huge fan of lyricism, if the lyrics speak to me, regardless of the music, I'll probably fall in love. In this playlist, I have combined some of my all-time favorite lyrists — Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Mick Jenkins — with some lesser known names that have a great message and the occasional instrumental to cleanse your palate.


Photo by Julia Merrell

This playlist has both soothed me during one of my many existential crises and has moved me out of creative blocks. I hope you find a little freedom somewhere between the lyrics.

— Martissa

Listen to Martissa's playlist here, or preview it below.


Through every stage of my life, it seems as if music has been interwoven into some of my deepest memories. As a child my family would take at least 10 road trips a year, and to pass the time my parents would take us on what they described as “a journey through music.” As the miles stretched out, we’d sonically traverse from classic rock, to metal, to 80’s hip hop and R&B and everything in between. It soon became a rite of passage to not only learn these songs word for word, but to deeply understand the genre and the cultural influences of the artists.

Fast forward 20 years and now each time one of these songs comes on, my mind is flooded with precious memories; each song as odd or as silly as it may be acts as a reminder to some of my happiest memories. As the playlist exits the 90s we briefly dive into early 2000s hip hop which is one of my personal favorite time periods in music because artists were having fun and making music you can dance to like a complete maniac. And from there the playlist comes to more modern hip hop, featuring verses that I believe contain a rare-to-find delicate balance of lyricism, flows, and clever, unique beats from artists that don’t always get the love they deserve.

Martissa and Rod

Photo by Julia Merrell

Because of my parent’s influence, I became obsessed with artists that somehow broke the mold, or redefined their genre. This playlist couldn’t possibly share all of the music that is near and dear to me, so I attempted to recreate an abridged version of the “journey” my parents took me on so often, highlighting artists that were unique in their time, in their own way, taking my own personal liberties from time to time.

Music is deeply personal to all those who listen, which is why I chose to share a playlist that contains relics of my childhood. It’s my hope that this odd cluster of music can inspire a listener to compile their own hodgepodge playlist and take their own personal journey down memory lane, reconnecting with memories they may have forgotten.

— Rod

Listen to Rod's playlist here, or preview it below.



Join Martissa and Rod for one of their upcoming classes! Register here.

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