My Life In Music, with beauty editor Renate O’Connor

For most people, music is one of the most important things in life. It can inspire you, fill you with joy or even make you cry. But different music affects us all in different ways. Each week, I interview one of our writers or editors about the impact music has had on their life. This week, I talk to beauty editor Renate O’Connor about her life in music. 

Describe your taste in music in three words.

Fun, flirty & throwback.

What’s your favourite musical genre?

I always struggle with questions like this. I was a major indie cindy as a teen so have so many great memories tied up in that genre but you’ll see garage and grime constantly on my most-played list. I adore classic 90s RnB and love most of those pop songs you probably shouldn’t admit to listening to… so your guess is as good as mine really.

Your favourite band or artist?

Based on my above answer you’ll get the gist for this one too, but I always say either Jamie T or Bombay Bicycle Club when I’m asked this.

Your favourite song of all time?

Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Swansea’. (It gives me all the feels.)

What was the first album you ever bought?

Atomic Kitten – Right Now (Let’s not judge this decision, I was 10).

First gig you went to?

Technically the first gig I ever went to was a Madonna concert when my mum was about eight months pregnant with me… That’s probably cooler to mention than my first gig as a fully born human, which was Busted. We were two rows from the front though, can’t complain.

What was the last song you listened to?

The 1975 – ‘The Sound’. They’re definitely on my must-see list right now.

Which musicians do you admire?

Beyonce is my queen. I think she’s such a strong female role model and such a driving force for integrity within the music industry.

What’s your opinion on music videos?

I mean, they’re iconic! I spent hours of my childhood learning Britney and Destiny’s Child dance routines… You could say they’re too over-sexualised and I could definitely talk a lot about the representation of women in many videos today, but putting that aside, they’re such major tools for addressing such key political and social issues. They’re an art form in their own right at times too and deeply impact the beauty and fashion industry. Think of Missy Elliott in a garbage bag suit, TLC in matching silky pj’s and of course Michael Jackon’s timeless style and dance moves! Unreal!

In your opinion, what’s the most annoying song of all time?

Meghan Trainor – ‘All About That Bass’. I despise her.

Who do you think is the most overrated band out there?

The Beatles. SORRY.

Where do you find new music?

I’d love to say I find new unknown bands/artists at small venue gigs in a totally original way, but 99% of the time I hear what I’m currently listening to on Radio 1.

Do you play any instruments?

Sadly no, I don’t have a musical bone in my body… or any rhythm.

Rock or pop?


Classical or heavy metal?


What song will always cheer you up?

Clean Bandit – ‘Rather Be’. It reminds me of summer and my boyfriend. N’aww.

What song always makes you cry?

I’m not really a crier, so I really had to think about this one. There isn’t a specific song that gets me, but the last song I had on whilst crying at the same time was Birdy’s version of ‘Skinny Love’.

What’s your musical guilty pleasure?

Ok so I used to say Taylor Swift was my guilty pleasure but now I’ve just accepted that she is basically her own genre and I’m in love with her. I’ve also embraced being a Belieber now. I don’t even feel guilty about it… have you SEEN him on Instagram?!

What does music mean to you?

Let’s just put it this way, it baffles me that people might actually think they’re not big music fans. It’s everywhere, in everything. I embrace it and love it.

What do you love most about music?

Sounds cliché, but the way it brings people together. There’s nothing like that feeling when you’re all in the moment listening to your favourite songs at a gig. I also love when you’re sitting in traffic and notice you’re singing along to the same song on the radio as someone else – it basically makes you temporary friends.

If you could sit down for a chat with any musician (dead or alive) – who would it be?

Without a doubt, Dave Grohl. He is quite easily the coolest man on the planet. Imagine that conversation… Imagine the selfies…

Tell us your best musical memory.

Festivals always provide you with the best memories. Bestival 2014 was literally one of the best weekends of my life. Watching Foals’ set from on top of the hill looking down to main stage in particular, blew my mind.

What’s your best musical memory? Tell us about your life in music in the comments below!