Chop n’ Bop Playlist: Girl Power Anthems for Cooking

To celebrate the publication of Six Feet Deep Dish author Mindy Quigley kindly shares her bopping playlist with us. Read on for more on what writing, music, and Mindy's uncanny similarities with Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps.

Before a big race, swimmer Michael Phelps listened to a playlist to amp up his energy, increase his focus, and get in the zone. Maybe you can picture him, headphones on, bopping his chin to a beat that was audible only to him. I’m exactly the same. You heard it here first. Michael Phelps and I are basically the same person. Except instead of setting world records for a sub-two-minute 100m butterfly and going for gold as the most decorated Olympian of all time, I write novels about a fat cat and pizzas.

Over my years as a writer, I’ve trained myself like one of Pavlov’s dogs. When my Epic Writing Playlist (EWP) comes on, my brain snaps to, and I shift into author mode. My EWP’s tracks keep me on track by drowning out distractions. There’s no particular genre or theme to the music—my EWP contains everything from early Dr. Dre to trendy indie bands to Britney Spears. When a song belongs on the EWP, I just know.

My new book series, the Deep Dish Mysteries, spends a lot of time with the two main characters—hard-charging pizza chef Delilah O’Leary and her BFF/sous chef Sonya Dokter. They’ve known each other for years and have developed the kind of telepathy you get with a long-term friendship. Together, they’ve weathered career setbacks, commiserated over relationship implosions, and shared a lot of good times.

Just as my EWP allows me to get into the right headspace to do my thing, I picture my two favorite chefs grooving as they work, so I built a playlist for pizza prep called “Chop n’ Bop.”

Although Delilah is a control freak, Sonya, with her jukebox tattoo and rockabilly style, is the real music connoisseur. I imagine that she tends to pick the tunes in the kitchen, which is why the Chop n’ Bop playlist is heavy on female empowerment and has a few winks to Sonya’s fellow LGBTQIA+ music lovers. Delilah’s taste in music—singalong power ballads that she can belt off-key—is sprinkled on like a flavorful grating of parmesan. And although their restaurant, Delilah & Son, serves deep-dish pizza, the music on this playlist is anything but cheesy.

I hope you’ll enjoy the mix of girl power anthems I envision the duo rocking out to while they pump out those perfect pies!

  • Open question to readers: Do you, like me and my (for all intents and purposes) clone Michael Phelps, have a playlist that triggers you to get down to business? Let me know in the comments!


“Sit Still, Look Pretty” – Daya

Delilah is the first to admit that sitting still isn’t her strong suit, so this song is a fitting start. At one key moment during Six Feet Deep Dish, she’s supposed to be keeping a calm bedside vigil. Instead, it’s all she can do not to explode out of her skin.

“I sat there for a few moments, feeling utterly helpless and on edge, trying to remember some of the calm, centering exercises I’d learned in the yoga and meditation workshops Sam dragged me along to. The first thing that came to mind was my feeling of supreme antsiness at the memory of having to sit still in those stupid workshops and do nothing for hours. Hours that could’ve been spent accomplishing something.”


“Queendom” – AURORA

Swedish singer AURORA is best known as the mysterious voice that leads Elsa from the castle in Frozen II, but she’s also an incredibly versatile songwriter. Queendom sets an ethereal mood, but when the beat drops, it’s pure energy. Rock out until queendom come!


“Rill Rill” – Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells’ lead singer, Alexis Krauss, is a woman after Sonya’s own heart—retro and a little punk, with an infectious spirit. This song can be interpreted different ways, but at its heart, I think it’s a song about friends navigating life together. Delilah and Sonya need each other, because, for all of their culinary prowess, neither one has been particularly successful in romance. Especially Sonya…

“As capable as Sonya was in the kitchen, as loyal as she was as a friend, her love life had always been a four-alarm dumpster fire. Her heart seemed to have a homing device that headed straight for misery.”


“Roam” – B-52s

When I think of Sonya, I think of the campest band on the planet—the legendary B-52s. The band has an unrivaled ability to fold serious themes into up-tempo “fluff” songs. Lead singer Kate Pierson also lends vocals to one of my all-time favorite songs, REM’s “Shiny Happy People” (which—ironically—is about the Tiananmen Square protests).


“Break My Soul” – Beyoncé

This Queen B banger one is all Delilah. Succeeding as a chef against the odds, she’s been through a lot. But nothing, not even a murder or two, will break her soul.


“That’s Alright” – Laura Mvula

If you don’t know Laura Mvula, you are in for a treat. She was singing about body positivity almost a decade before Lizzo stormed the airwaves with “Good as Hell.” I dare you to listen to her celebration of unrepentant womanhood and Black beauty and not feel uplifted.


*Mindy Quigley Author Photo Credit: Natalie Gibbs

About Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley:

Delilah O’Leary can’t wait to open her new gourmet deep-dish pizzeria in Geneva Bay, Wisconsin—a charming resort town with a long history as a mobsters’ hideaway, millionaires’ playground, and vacation mecca. Engaged to a hunk with a hefty trust fund, Delilah is poised to begin a life that’s just about as delicious as one of her cheesy creations.

Just before opening night, though, Delilah’s plans for pizza perfection hit the skids when her fiancé dumps her and leaves her with a very large memento from their relationship—Butterball, their spoiled, plus-sized tabby cat.

Delilah’s trouble deepens when she discovers a dead body and finds her elderly aunt holding the murder weapon. Handsome local police detective Calvin Capone, great grandson of the legendary gangster, opens an investigation, threatening to sink Delilah’s pie-in-the-sky ambitions before they can even get off the ground. To save her aunt and get her pizza place generating some dough, Delilah must deliver the real killer.

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      I totally relate to the power of music in boosting productivity. Even though I’m not a writer, whenever I need to tackle a challenging task or get in the zone for work, I have my go-to playlist that never fails to energize me. It’s amazing how music can enhance our focus and creativity. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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