"Been through hell and back with stories I'd rather keep to myself."

21-year-old Saint Mesa, born Danny McCook, struggled with a rare disease at a young age, resulting in "innumerable" hospitalizations over a two year period. Today, he's thriving — and his music is a reflection of that perseverance.

The California-based, self-taught artist's 2016 debut EP Jungle comes complete with lyrics that touch on that triumph, and has since made waves on Spotify (over one million streams and counting), resulting in brand syncs with Puma, H&M and Electronic Arts and, eventually, a record deal with Interscope Records.

Today (Feb. 2), the singer-songwriter is dropping the music video for striding title track "Jungle," directed by Kevin Clark. And to celebrate the visual's release, Saint Mesa curated a playlist full of his own musical inspirations especially for PopCrush readers.

Watch the video for "Jungle" above, and then dig into Saint Mesa's playlist below.

1. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, "Stick With Me Baby"
"The simplicity of this song is really supported by the feeling behind the lyrics and vocal performance, which I found to be a huge inspiration."

2. Childish Gambino, "Redbone"
"Right when the vocal hits you're automatically in the vibe of the song. Lyrical content is awesome. Just makes you move."

3. The Acid, "Red"
"Hypnotic track. Pulls you into anxiety in a really unique way, and I love it."

4. Lil Kim, "Not Tonight (Remix)"
"Guilty pleasure song, this song is just so fun. Such a fun groove."

5. Massive Attack, "Inertia Creeps"
"This band is just nuts, but this track is one of my favs. Their drum tones alone are insane, paired with incredible sound design just makes for one of my favorite tracks off the album."

6. Animal Collective, "My Girls"
"Sound design and synth and drum work on this track is great, but it's also just such a good energy track. Those toms are a big reference for some of my new stuff."

7. Bill Evans Trio, "Some Other Time"
"I'm not a trained musician, completely self-taught, so jazz seems like magic to me. The ability to modulate in and out of keys seamlessly and within seconds is incredible. This song specially just takes me another place. Also this trio is fantastic."

8. Bon Iver, "10 d E A T h b R E a s T"
"Sound design in this song is incredible. Drums come right in with the nastiest tone and rhythm, which is unexpected for Bon Iver, which is why its amazing. Vocals are incredible as well."

9. Radiohead, "Present Tense"
"I love the somber feeling of this track and the journey it takes."

10. CHVRCHES, "Clearest Blue"
"Until it fully drops, the whole song is one long build, and then it finally hits the most satisfying 80's synth sounding drop of all time. Makes me want to throw something extremely breakable into a wall if that makes any sense aha."

11. Saint Mesa, "Jungle"
"Because it’s my single and I just dropped my music video for it. Awesome!"

For more from Saint Mesa, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and check out the Jungle EP.

Inspirational Thoughts from Pop Superstars:

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