Community Katy Perry, Paul Simon, and Kendrick Lamar Recommend Running Tunes

    Katy Perry, Paul Simon, and Kendrick Lamar Recommend Running Tunes


    In 2014, I published a book entitled Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now. Not sure if you people are movie fans, but Jesse Eisenberg, from Zombieland and The Social Network, said it was “equal parts inspiring and practical.” At the time, I was covering music for the National Post and got into the habit of asking every musician I interviewed to recommend some running tunes. For the next month or so, I’m going to share some of my favourite responses.

    Katy Perry

    Perry was promoting a new perfume when we met, and this is what the encounter looked like:

    At the time, Rebecca Black was popular, and she recommended the Black song, Friday. “The emotion is cuteness,” Perry said. She also recommended Rihanna—who she said she loved. I asked her to recommend one of her own songs to run to, and she said:

    “Hummingbird Heartbeat. It’s fast and has a lot of double entendres.”

    Hummingbird Heartbeat is 120-beats-per-minute, a great running tune!

    Paul Simon

    In a pinch, I might say Paul Simon is my favourite artist and his one-two punch on Saturday Night Live after 9/11 of The Boxer and Bridge Over Troubled Waters helped my city heal in 2001. Graceland might be my favourite running song. His picks stayed away from the hits.

    Boozoo Chavis. “Some people don’t know this Zydeco musician from Louisiana, and that’s a real shame.”

    Ali Farka Touré. “If you don’t know Ali from Mali, that’s something you want to check out. Years ago, he made records with Ry Cooder, who is brilliant at understanding music from other cultures.”

    Celia Cruz. “The great Latin singer. All of her albums are brilliant.”

    The Delmore Brothers. “That’s country music from the Grand Ole Opry. They influenced both Bob [Dylan] and me.”

    The Everly Brothers. “I also love the Louvin brothers and the Carter family, but that’s probably enough for now,” said Paul Simon, “How far are you trying to run?”

    Kendrick Lamar

    I wish I could find the video from this interview. He told me his running song choices right after his first album came out and we spoke in a hotel room, just him and I.

    Let’s Fall in Love, the Isley Brothers. “On this day, you’re jogging, but not only exercising, but also achieving piece of mind. This song is for your time to do you. You may have kids. You may have a job. Things that totally consume you, but when you hear this one, take some time for self-reflection. It’s the perfect song for a little alone time.”

    Against All Odds, 2Pac. “To get your juices flowing, always 2Pac. This is on your energetic day—you’re really pumped up and you have goals ahead, something through the week that you want to tackle. When you want to stay focused on your running and have that energy, play this record right here.”