The TEN Project came about when two friends, Chris and Neil, met while working together in London.
We had both grown up discovering music through finished articles: records conceived and produced to be listened to from beginning to end. Some of our most personal and favourite songs were buried away on albums, never released as singles. Now, with the availability of streaming, we found ourselves no longer foraging off the beaten track for hidden gems; there was no track – everything was levelled out and immediately available. With so much familiarity within reach we both found ourselves leaving our comfort zones less often; reinforcing our own tastes and branching out less as a result. The openness had become stifling.
What we both needed, we decided, was to rediscover the mixtape. To exchange our comfort zones with those of others and introduce ourselves to areas of music unfamiliar and exciting again. And so the TEN Project began.
The premise was simple: ten by ten. Ten participants invited to share ten songs each. By limiting the mixtape to ten songs, we set all involved a challenge: to take a snapshot of music they love and let it tell a story; to give it a beginning and an end. The results were always surprising. We found trajectories we didn’t expect. Tracks that previously passed us by became stand-out moments in a different context. Beyond discovering the music tastes of others, we also learned to rediscover our own.
Across the 100 songs in each round, endless new paths are opened up for exploration. We pick people of different tastes, different ages, different countries. We’ve received mixtapes from teachers, architects, chefs, writers, even top-40 musicians (amongst many others) - spanning across five continents.
We’ve discovered a lot over the past few years, we hope you do too.