Ever wondered which tracks your favorite players listen to before a game? Curious which concerts they’re going to? Then join Jon Langford, bassist in The Chevin, for his musical Q&As with Major League Soccer’s biggest stars.
This week’s DJ is Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud.
MLSsoccer.com: What was the first album you ever bought and what was your favorite track on it?
Lahoud: The first album I ever bought was Nelly’s Country Grammar. My favorite track on it was either the title track, “Country Grammar” or “Luven Me.” I used to play them both on repeat.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s the most memorable concert experience you’ve had?
Lahoud: It was an Usher concert at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. I was 15 years old and I went with my cousin. It was just before Confessions came out and he was blowing up. That was my first real big concert experience and it was amazing.
MLSsoccer.com: You were born in Sierra Leone. What’s the music scene like over there?
Lahoud: African reggae is huge over there, as well as old-school Jamaican reggae, like Bob Marley. Traditional Sierra Leone music is popular, too; it’s very tribal-sounding with a lot of drums in it.
MLSsoccer.com: Who is most responsible for shaping your musical tastes?
Lahoud: That would be two of my friends. One was my college roommate, Marcus Tracy, who plays for San Jose Earthquakes. I used to write poetry and Marcus brought me out of my shell and persuaded me to share some of my work with him. Then one day he said, “Why don’t you try converting the poetry into a beat?” And so I did. He’d grown up with music in his family and he introduced me to the art of writing songs. The other influential person is a good friend of mine from Los Angeles, the musician John Torres. John got me to feel more comfortable about showing my music to people. The most important thing he taught me is that music is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all. That was a pivotal moment for me.
MLSsoccer.com: Speaking of sharing your music, last summer you made your live musical debut when you performed two of your songs at The Queen in Wilmington, Del. What was that experience like for you? Were you more nervous than before a game?
Lahoud: It was a totally different feeling to a game. Soccer is something I’ve been doing for a while now and I know how to feel comfortable doing it, but this was my first time ever singing live. It’s not something I would normally do, but John Torres gave me a nudge and I just went for it. I know not everybody is going to like my music, but all it takes is just one person to appreciate what you’re doing and that makes it worthwhile. I’m really happy I took that risk because it’s given me the confidence to keep taking risks with my music.
MLSsoccer.com: What can you tell us about the tracks you performed?
Lahoud: The first song is called “Coffee Cartel” and I wrote it when I was living in Los Angeles. It’s in honor of Catalina Coffee & Cafe in Redondo Beach, where I used to hang out. The second one is titled “Say Goodbye.” This one was co-written with my friend Stephen Duss.
MLSsoccer.com: Did your teammates come out to watch the show?
Lahoud: Yeah, a few of the guys came out. Danny Cruz and Ray Gaddis were there. Chris Konopka helped me arrange the songs and played the guitar and Marcus Tracy was on the keyboard. The three of us have formed a little band called the Outsiders – so called because none of us are originally from Philadelphia.
MLSsoccer.com: How would you describe the sound of the music you make?
Lahoud: That’s a tough one. I’d probably say it’s acoustic soul. I love the acoustic ballad and the whole unplugged live sound. I tend to write soulful lyrics so that sound lends itself to my words. I guess you could compare it to John Mayer’s sound.
MLSsoccer.com: We all have guilty music pleasures. Care to share one of yours?
Lahoud: There are definitely a few that I’d roll up my window and sing to. [Laughs.] I’m a closet Katy Perry fan — I won’t even lie about that one. I think her songs are catchy and upbeat.
MLSsoccer.com: What music do you listen to when you want to get pumped up before a big game?
Lahoud: I have a game day mix of alternative rock songs that I listen to. They’re pretty chilled though because I like to be calm before a game. I often listen to John Torres before a game, too. His stories really speak to me and that helps take my mind off the pressures of the game.
MLSsoccer.com: Which musicians, dead or alive, would you have over for a fantasy dinner party and why?
Lahoud: Stevie Wonder. The guy’s soulful and he’s classy man! When you see him smile you can’t help but smile yourself. I think he’s one of the most talented musicians that’s ever lived and the fact that he’s still doing it is a testament to his true talent.
MLSsoccer.com: Which new artists are you listening to?
Lahoud: I think Ed Sheeran is top notch and he’s amazing live. He’s got a really solid voice and I enjoy listening to artists that tell stories through their music.
MLSsoccer.com: What song do you like to sing in the shower?
Lahoud: I have a rotating playlist for the shower. Right now I’m singing Justin Timberlake. Anything off his FutureSex/LoveSounds album works.
MLSsoccer.com: If the MLS Cup final had a halftime show like the Super Bowl, which artist would you like to see perform?
Lahoud: I think the Black Eyed Peas would be good. I’ve never been to one of their concerts, but I think they’d be pretty entertaining and their songs are catchy and upbeat. For a halftime show you need good spectacle, and the Black Eyed Peas would be just that.
MLSsoccer.com: Is there a genre of music that you don’t like?
Lahoud: I’m not the biggest country fan, I’ll admit it. I have a lot of family members who have a connection to it though, so it’s growing on me.
MLSsoccer.com: Which song should be used in a montage of your game? In other words: What’s your Rocky theme tune?
Lahoud: “Love Generation” by Bob Sinclair. It was the theme song for the 2006 World Cup and I associate it with soccer.
MLSsoccer.com: Time for some 1-v-1. Beatles or Stones?
MLSsoccer.com: Fleetwood Mac or Return of the Mack?
Lahoud: Return of the Mack.
MLSsoccer.com: Lady Gaga or Rihanna?
MLSsoccer.com: Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi?
Lahoud: Jon Bon Jovi.
MLSsoccer.com: Strawberry jam or jam bands?
Lahoud: Strawberry jam.
MLSsoccer.com: Kings of Leon or Coldplay?
Lahoud: You’re killing me with this one! Probably Coldplay.
MLSsoccer.com: '80s or '90s?
Lahoud: '90s, for sure.