Between getting engaged, the solar eclipse, and of course, the many concerts I attended (the most in a year by far for me), 2017 was quite the ride. Lemonade founders, Brandon Enyeart and Aaron Mannari (my fiancé) asked me to be a special guest for their 2017 awards and so with that said, here are my favorites from 2017.
Favorite Album of 2017: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom by Halsey
Halsey blew me away with this album. She started as someone who Aaron made me listen too. Now, I make him blare it so I can sing along.
Favorite Song of 2017: “Silver Lining” by Jacob Banks
First time I heard this was front and center at Jacob Banks‘s concert with Aaron. I decided that this song will be integral during my wedding. It is a perfectly balanced love song. I am not one to like saccharine love songs, I am a realist and this song is real.
Favorite EP of 2017: Surround Me by León
I listened to the title track, “Surround Me” 12 times in succession when it dropped. León is amazing!
Favorite New Artist of 2017: León
Aaron dragged me to Léon‘s concert (which also happened to introduce me to Jacob Banks). I fell in love, then insisted on going to her second Seattle show and made sure we were early enough to stand up right against the stage. Crowds have always been a struggle for me and I usually hang out back in a corner or stay home if I do not have an assigned seat. The fact I braved a large crowd is a huge step. León was the first artist I wanted to be brave for.
Favorite Male Artist of 2017: Jacob Banks
This year I saw Bruno Mars. I saw Imagine Dragons. And I saw Queen, but Jacob Banks hands down was the best.
Favorite Female Artist of 2017: Halsey
I never thought any one would ever come close to replacing Adele in my top spot, there were times where I would listen to British songstress exclusively for months. But now I would say that Halsey has tied Adele. Adele has been cathartic for me, but Halsey is therapeutic.
I am a therapist and it is difficult. I love my job, but I not only carry my own emotional struggles but those of 50+ others at a time. The stress, trauma and pain of those lives can be daunting and heavy. Usually I decompress with podcasts or audio books, but some days that is not enough. Those are the days I listen to Halsey. I can relate to every single song, if not through my stories, then through the stories I hold for my clients.
Her lyrics are the most striking, honest and vulnerable I have encountered. And somehow she manages to be both witty and haunting in her prose. It is her genuine, and often blunt, vulnerability that helps exorcise the weight of all those stories from my soul.
Favorite Band/Duo of 2017: Queen
I know Queen has not released anything new lately, but they have been my favorite band since high school and their concert with Adam Lambert at KeyArena was amazing!
Favorite Music Video of 2017: “Chainsmoking” by Jacob Banks
Favorite Moment of 2017: Various Artists
This feels unfair. Having crossed off a lot of artists from my bucket list this year, I had so many to choose from. I loved Bruno Mars, cried seeing Queen and even teared up at Garth Brooks. If you were raised country, you have to have a heart of steel to not get a little emotional when an arena sings “Unanswered Prayers”. I am supposed to pick one, but I am going to cheat and list a few!
4. Imagine Dragons‘ Dan Reynolds‘s emotional speech after the Las Vegas tragedy.
3. Summoning up the courage to be in the front row for León and snapping an amazing picture as I sang along to every song.
2. Brian May singing his solo at Queen. Tears flowed.
1. Every solitary moment of Halsey on stage. Artists have evoked emotions in me before, but none have ever brought out the spectrum of feelings that she is able to.