EDITOR’S MIX: Photography Director Barrie Barto

From Lonnie’s to sophomore fall break, listen to my playlist reflecting on Vanderbilt memories.


Alexa White

Graphic with a CD case and photo of Barrie Barto. (Photo courtesy of Barrie Barto) (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

Barrie Barto, Photography Director

When you take a look through my text conversations, you tend to see a lot of Spotify links. Upon first glance at my Spotify profile, it may seem that I care more about maintaining an aesthetically pleasing Spotify account — especially considering my many “aesthetic black and white wallpaper” Google searches for playlist cover art. However, there are a lot of memories to be found in the chaos of my account.

My first year at Vandy holds a lot of core memories, but none more than the time all of my hallmates gathered in Hank 436 to sing “Clarity” by Zedd. That was the soundtrack to our lives. We played it religiously on Friday and Saturday nights, but also when we needed a pep in our step walking to Gen Chem exams — or when we needed to cry once those exams were over. During breaks, we would send each other videos of us listening to it. Every time it comes up on my shuffle, a movie of all my most precious first-year memories plays through my mind. 

Other songs that we played in that Commons room hold a special place on this playlist, from “UCLA” (which we would promptly state we hated because one of my best friends didn’t get in) to “Starships” (you must know all the words or you’re kicked out for the night) to “Pursuit of Happiness” (the boys loved this song but we would often not make it to the end without switching back to Nicki).

Freshman year also held fond memories out on Broadway. A classic first-year memory for so many at Vandy is going to Lonnie’s, so I included my go-to Lonnie’s karaoke song: “Wagon Wheel.” Broadway also means concerts! Standouts from freshman year are Blake Shelton (my and my roommate’s first Nashville concert) and Pitbull (round one, we of course went back in 2023). We finished out the year at Ryan Hurd where Maren Morris also made a guest appearance, whose songs “Hell Is an Island” and “Chasing After You” are featured.  

A classic spring 2022 memory for many on campus was Rites of Spring, so I of course included “No Hands,” which I dedicated a week to memorizing leading up to the weekend. Another classic from Rites weekend was the set we called “abcedfu girl,” or as she is known on her label, GAYLE. We ended up becoming such big GAYLE stans that we chose to watch her play again at Lollapalooza. At that summer meet-up in Chicago, my friends and I cooked in the sun while watching Evan Giia, Djo, COIN and Claire Rosinkranz play. 

This fall break, my friends and I took the perfect trip down to the South Carolina coast. There is a song for every memory. On the drive there, we made a stop at the Bass Pro Shops in Knoxville and heard Bad Bunny blaring through the speakers. South Carolina sunsets on the roof were set to “Stick Season” on repeat. On the drive back to campus, we recited every word to “Hollaback Girl” with hands at 10 and two to stay sane in Sunday traffic.

Fall 2022 also heralded a trip to Atlanta with my staff and editors from The Hustler. When we attended the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, we also saw Billy Joel in concert. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium rang out with the sounds of the Piano Man himself as he sang us to laughs and tears. Sheryl Crow opened for Billy Joel that night (the second time I saw her this year; she headlined for Live on the Green as well.)

Back home in my Branscomb Scales suite, the second semester of sophomore year has come with even more songs. A rediscovery of Olly Murs’ music started a weekend craze in our room listening to his “Marry Me” album on repeat. The appearance of Camp Rock on the playlist is to honor my suitemates’ perfect rendition of “Wouldn’t Change a Thing.”

Late-night drives to “Cleopatra.” Sunday scaries amplified by listening to “Where It Ends.” The Super Bowl turned on for the sole purpose of seeing who would win the bet on what song Rihanna would sing first. “Calabria” is our new favorite Saturday night song, but it is the same group of friends that now gathers in a Zeppos double instead of Hank.

Listen to it HERE!