17 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

To celebrate the release of The Water Dancer—which was just selected as an Oprah’s Book Club pick as part of the launch of her new show on Apple TV+—author Ta-Nehisi Coates has shared a playlist of soul and pop classics both canonical and contemporary. From Nina Simone and The Isley Brothers to SZA and Miguel, these are songs that have moved him, stayed with him and inspired him to write over his life and career—including his first novel. "For me, music just put me in the mood, you know?” Coates tells Apple Music. "It’s like being an actor or something—it put me in the role that I felt like I needed to be in order to write the story.” Chief among his inspirations is Marvin Gaye, who shows up on this playlist twice. "I wanted to write like he sung," Coates says.

EDITORS’ NOTES

To celebrate the release of The Water Dancer—which was just selected as an Oprah’s Book Club pick as part of the launch of her new show on Apple TV+—author Ta-Nehisi Coates has shared a playlist of soul and pop classics both canonical and contemporary. From Nina Simone and The Isley Brothers to SZA and Miguel, these are songs that have moved him, stayed with him and inspired him to write over his life and career—including his first novel. "For me, music just put me in the mood, you know?” Coates tells Apple Music. "It’s like being an actor or something—it put me in the role that I felt like I needed to be in order to write the story.” Chief among his inspirations is Marvin Gaye, who shows up on this playlist twice. "I wanted to write like he sung," Coates says.

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