"I'm not necessarily using music to pump myself up," says Vasek Pospisil, "I use it more just to relax before a match."
Music will exert its calming influence on the Canadian tennis star at the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year, getting underway this week in Indian Wells, Calif. He's competing not only in singles but will also be making a run in doubles with American Steve Johnson. (Pospisil won the 2015 doubles title and reached the doubles finals in Indian Wells in 2016, playing with Jack Sock.)
"Music is there to keep me normal, keep me sane," he told us recently by phone. "I turn to music as this thing away from tennis, something that I really enjoy, like a hobby."
Pospisil is more than a fan. He's also an amateur guitarist and singer-songwriter, a passion that runs in his family. "My dad had a band back when he was in the Czech Republic and my brothers have a band together. I learned the guitar completely on my own, just watching YouTube videos. I was looking for a hobby and I felt like I wanted to know how to play an instrument and just do some cover songs." He now has a YouTube channel where you can watch him perform.
While Pospisil says his tastes tend toward rock, alternative and indie, it's melody that really draws him in. "If I hear a song with good melody, it doesn't really matter what kind of music it is, I'll generally like it or get hooked on it." He's also no stranger to the repeat button. "I'm one of those guys who can listen to an album for months before I move on to something else. Right now I have a few that I'm really into."
We asked him what he'll be listening to in Indian Wells, to relax before his matches. Here's his playlist.
"Lumineers are No. 1 on my playlist right now. Their last album, Cleopatra, is just amazing. That's been a constant for the past few months."
Chris Stapleton, 'The Traveller'
"I had never really gotten into country music. I guess I had never really given it a chance. So I've really gotten into that lately. Some of Stapleton's stuff is really good and of course his voice is pretty amazing."
The Shins, 'Name for You'
"James Mercer from the Shins is coming out with a new album now, so he has a few tracks that were just released. He hasn't released the full album yet, but I'm pretty much dying for that to come out. I love his style of music and I think his voice is underrated. It just sounds different from other things. In my opinion he's one of the underrated artists out there."
Arcade Fire, 'The Suburbs'
"I've always been a big fan of Arcade Fire, especially their first few albums. I'm waiting for them to release another one. I was meant to go see them in Melbourne in 2014 — I had VIP backstage passes — and I had to pass up on it. I had hurt my back and I had to leave the city early, so I was really bummed out about that."
Coldplay, 'The Scientist'
"I'm also a fan of Coldplay, you know, some of their older stuff. One Coldplay jam I wouldn't want to live without is 'The Scientist.' It's an unbelievable song. It never gets old."
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