Baking & Playlist Making w/ Cortney

Growing up with a musician as a father and a nurse as a mother, I can remember my dad often comparing music to math. He said notes and numbers both indicated beats which is how we keep track of what we’re counting. That meant, whether we were counting money or counting in a fellow musician, there was a rhythm to follow. And then sometimes, of course, there was no rhythm to follow at all because it was freestyle: like an entire jazz song or a solo from a pioneer like Winton Marsalis. Either way, I gathered early that all things could be musical just like they could be numerical. Take baking...the recipe is based upon numbers and, ironically, the beating of an essential ingredient like eggs is both musical and methodical. Playlist maker, baker and Social Media Manager Cortney Rae explores the parallels between food and music often. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, and a pro-black home, Rae embraced her heritage through music, food and time spent with family a.k.a. creating really great, soul-shaping and identity-molding moments.

Rae first started navigating her worlds through writing. “I’d always been a talkative kid and then I started keeping a journal. Now, if I’m not writing, I’m making a playlist.” Thankfully, sites like Spotify and Pandora figured out how heavily we rely on music to convey our feelings. And both playlist-building platforms have provided easy and quick processes that allow for one of millenials favorite qualities of an experience: customization. Rae shared that the seasons and her current qualms are two of many things that can affect the mood she sets and selections she chooses for her playlists. However, before getting to where she could express herself in this way, there were episodes of Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and lots of reading in Vogue. “I would cut out clips of the quizzes and stories that were interesting. I wanted to be Oprah!” Interviews and fashion held her attention until it came time to apply for graduate school when a close friend suggested that she follow the well-loved path she’d already set for herself: music.

“I’ve learned that more often than not your ideas are great, but it’s just about executing them greatly.”  Rae, fittingly, went on to produce a thesis that focused on playlisting. It was around this time that she also delved deep into baking, with it being the first time that she lived away from home and on her own. She purchased a cookbook and began comparing her finished products to the photos of the dishes in her book. “I’m definitely organized and type A. Creating things that are comforting and aesthetically pleasing, I enjoy this!” Through her blog, playlists and Instagram, Rae has been able to cultivate creative outlets. She’s also taken an interest in makeup artistry, attributing her obsession to YouTube tutorials and a trip to Austin in 2015 (where she returned home with every must-have products from that time). Now through cooking, playlist making, beauty and, yes, boxing, the renaissance do-it-all-er  is making strides for Black women and women everywhere: reminding us that from struggle, visually-stunning, progress can be made or baked, if you will.

Ashley Nash