Questions or comments?

Shoot us an email or call one of our studios.

request a SoulCycle in your area

Let us know if you'd like to have Soul come to your area, and we'll make sure you're the first to know when a new studio opens near you!


10 Songs That Changed Valentine's Life

hich songs helped shape your life? Instructor VALENTINE BUREAU shares the music that made the biggest impact on her...

It isn’t hard to imagine how much you have to love music to be a SoulCycle instructor. We eat, sleep and breathe it in multiple times a day, every week. Growing up, my father was a studio musician in NYC and my mother — well, my mother just enjoyed turning every sentence into a whimsical song. So needless to say, music has always played a major role in my day-to-day of figuring out who the hell I am and what I’m doing on this planet. The fact that I get to use it to help riders feel good in class as a JOB still has me pinching myself.

I try to play all genres in class and I love a great sweaty singalong. If my first two concerts were any indication of my wide musical tastes to come, I’d say they were very on point: Peter Gabriel and Debbie Gibson! No better pairing since fine wine and Fruit Rollups. Here are a few songs that changed my life for the better. Do we have any in common?

1. “Heart Of Rock & Roll” by Huey Lewis & The News
This is my first real musical memory. My parents ran to the grocery store and left me by myself at eight for a whopping 15 minutes. I remember the freedom I felt as I took my sneakers off, popped the CD in and turned the volume up high. The heartbeats, the horns, and Huey’s raspy magically perfect voice were the soundtrack to my very first solo dance party of many to come.

2. “Is This Love?” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bob Marley was a constant in my home and my family and I were fortunate enough to spend summers in East Hampton. When I play this, I’m immediately brought back to having dinner with them outside on our deck, likely laughing about some lyric my mom massacred. The positivity of this song combined with the ease of the melody has always made me feel so good. I’m also 99% certain it’s to blame for my phase of wearing sarongs and trying to balance fruit bowls on my head. #NotCarribeanButTried

3. “U.N.I.T.Y.” by Queen Latifah

While most of the other kids in my Catholic school were jamming out to Spin Doctors, I was drawn to Queen Latifah’s no-BS ladies anthem. The message still stands today; as a woman you own your worth, support each other, and don’t let anyone push you around. Of course, my father wasn’t thrilled that the lyrics were, “You ain’t a b*#ch or a ho, here we go” and that CD got shelved ASAP. I was 12, so… fair enough.

4. “Criminal” by Fiona Apple
When you’re a teenager, angst just seems to naturally develop in your bones as a rite of passage. Fiona Apple was mad and we were all going to be mad with her. It was decided. I loved the low register of her voice combined with her overuse of sophisticated vocabulary. It was all I needed to ride the M66 bus on my way to math class in a rage over something trivial. She understood me.

5. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
I couldn’t possibly choose one song off of this album. To me, it is perfect and remains my favorite of all time. When I moved to LA at 19 for pilot season, I bought a white Honda Accord hatchback for $2000 with a maroon interior and flip-up lights. It was hideous and the fan belt sounded like a horse whinny, but I had discovered the BLISS of driving and blasting whatever I wanted! The album had a song for every emotion possible. Was I feeling empowered on my way to an audition? “Doo Wop.” Was I feeling lonely and uncertain? “Everything is Everything.” Devastated over a breakup? “When It Hurts So Bad.” If you haven’t heard this album, I encourage you to take a listen.

6. “Breathe Me” by Sia
I was watching the season finale of Six Feet Under when this song quite literally stopped me in my tracks. What was this flooding of feelings coming over me? I couldn’t stop them! My ears had never, ever experienced anything as raw and vulnerable as Sia’s cracked voice. I connected so deeply to the lyrics. I LIVED for the sweeping violin and drum breakdown. No matter how many times I played it, I got chills. It was the beginning of my love affair with all things Sia.

7. “Lazy Sunday” by The Lonely Island

I woke up one morning at my best friend’s apartment after a long day and night of spending our $402.00 tax refunds around the city. While we drank coffee and laughed over the previous night’s antics, her boyfriend YouTubed “Lazy Sunday.” I watched these SNL dudes rapping about Chronicles of Narnia and cupcakes and it was CATCHY! We looked at each other, feeling stuck in auditioning ruts and said, “Why don’t we write one called Tax Refund Time for fun?” That silly, ridiculous notion became a full time project. Soon we were MVPleez- comedic female duo with over 40 utterly ridiculous videos on YouTube, Huffington Post and Maxim. One little song inspired five years of unforgettable creativity.

8. “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan

I resisted Steely Dan for a long time. To start, my dad played them relentlessly and I was over it. Secondly, I hated how Donald Fagen said, “Lost my old man back in Oregon” in one song enough to boycott them for years. It wasn’t until I lost my godfather in 2013 that I circled back and really connected with Hey Nineteen in particular. Losing my godfather Hugh, the most loving and gentle human I’d known was the deepest loss I’d ever experienced. Like my father, he was a studio musician who’d shared his talent on a lot of records- so I discovered that when I missed him, I could play a song and just listen to him. His guitar chords on “Hey Nineteen” match who he was as a person perfectly; subtle, familiar, incredible.

9. “Pony” by Ginuwine
Yes, really. I had been hemming and hawing for a long time over whether anything was going to develop between Will and me. We were at a bar with a bunch of friends and it felt like it was now or never — but edging closer to never as I could feel our nerves increasing. Why was I so nervous anyway?? Why did I suddenly feel like such an uncertain spaz around this person who I’d known for years? Hours passed and not having kissed yet turned into what felt like the most giant elephant in the bar. Suddenly, the stupidest and also let’s be real, best song ever blasted over the speakers. “I’m just a bachelorrrrrrrrr, lookin’ for a partnahhh!” PONY! I don’t know what it was, but that jam was exactly what I needed to look at him and say, “I have a small butt but my personality is fire. Kiss me.” We now live happily in Jersey City with a Pomeranian.

10. “Where The Streets Have No Name” (Live) by U2 feat The Soweto Gospel Choir
Throughout most of my SoulCycle training, I worried if I’d ever feel as physically ready as the rest of my team. They all seemed superhuman to me! I was a fit human in general, but deciding to become an fitness instructor is an entirely different beast. It’s undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We’d have drills, endless classes, I’d ride all the time with the best — yet there’d always be one move my body just wouldn’t support. Time was going by so quickly that I started to panic I would be cut from the program. This of course, was a story only I was playing over and over again in my head. Everyone on the training team kept assuring me it was all going to click — that I was going to be okay. I continued to panic anyway. During our last drill with Melanie Griffith, (another superhuman) she closed with a live version of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” It started with Amazing Grace and just kept building into this beautiful harmonized sound. The pack of us, 23 new great friends in training, in this wild ride together, swelled with energy I can’t even explain. In that moment, I actually asked myself if I was going to let myself enjoy it all, or whether I was going to cloud the whole thing with my fear. I gave in. I just enjoyed the moment. And naturally, it clicked.

Catch classes with VALENTINE at Short Hills and West Village. Want to ride? Grab a series HERE and book a bike!
Shape Created with Sketch.