03.09.19

The 10 Best Tracks To Wake Up To, according to MJ Cole

"Untouchable song..."

Waking up to the right soundtrack can put a spring in your step, getting you set up for the day. The musical equivalent of getting out of bed on the right side, if you like. Underground music pioneer MJ Cole, who recently shared the stirring, infectious ‘Waking Up‘ with Cedric Gervais and Freya Ridings, clearly has this concept on the brain.

Having initially cut his teeth in the UK garage game, MJ Cole has since diversified his sound, coming to be one of the UK’s most talented songwriters and working with a number of prodigious talents. Read on below to find out the ultimate tracks MJ Cole wants to start his day with, and make your own mornings better…

1. Ólafur Arnalds – ‘saman’

“I’m an admirer of this man’s piano skills. If you haven’t already, check his live setup. Serious piano levels. I’ve found a lot of inspiration from his work for a new project I’m working on.”

2. Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Erykah Badhu – ‘Afro Blue’

“Another man with a magical touch on the ivories. Erykah Badhu’s voice can’t put you in a bad mood for the day. The way the piano moves through the beat is a thing of beauty.”

3. The Cinematic Orchestra – ‘Diabolus’

“I included this on my 2003 ‘Back To Mine’ compilation and still adore this record as much as I did then. Their recent record is brilliant, but I had to go back to this favourite for something to start your day with.”

4. Gabriel Garzón-Montano – ‘Keep On Running’

“I found this song last year and have had it on heavy rotation since. Another selection in which the piano plays beautifully around the beat. Perfect pre-marathon music.”

5. Tower Of Power – ‘What Is Hip’

“Legendary business. Funk masterclass. Another record I regularly revisit for pleasure and inspiration. The playing on this blows me away and the groove is so strong! I can’t think of a better way to start the day.”

6. Soul II Soul – ‘Back To Life’

“Ok, maybe this is a contender for a better way to start the day. I remember cutting vinyl back in the day with these guys by our old studio in North London. Untouchable song. A timeless masterpiece that brings me back to glorious summers in London.”

7. Bruno Major – ‘Old Fashioned’

“A more gentle start to the day. Since working with Bruno a few years ago I’ve been an admirer of his work. A hugely talented musician. He has an ability to write timeless songs like very few people writing music today.”

8. Tourist – ‘Awake’

“Will Phillips aka Tourist is an alumni of my old label Prolific Recordings. He recently released a beautiful new record. This is one of my favourites from it. I love his use of sampling on this whole record. His live show at EartH this year was brilliant, too.”

9. James Blake – ‘Power On’

“Another brilliant record. I am really in to the more hip-hop direction of this album. He’s someone who I would one day love to work with in the studio. He can do no wrong.”

10. Maribou State – ‘Glasshouses’

“This album has been another on repeat. I love the guitar and rising oriental strings on this and then the vocal comes in and you’re hooked. A beauty to start your day with.”

Listen to MJ Cole’s ‘Waking Up’ with Cedric Gervais and Freya Ridings:

Related: The 10 Best Forgotten UK Garage Gems, according to DJ Spoony