A large part of what makes Alabama unique is its people. They come from far and wide, bringing their talents, affinities, crafts, and passions. Or, they were born here and have a rich heritage rooted in Alabama culture. Whether they are here for a lifetime or only a few short years, each person has the ability to leave a lasting impression. L.E. Acuff is no exception to this phenomenon. Originally from the Nashville, Tennessee area, L.E. is a freshman accounting major at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. L.E is also a master crafter, a retired high school swimmer, and a published author. Her father, John Acuff, is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including his most recent book, “Your New Playlist,”co-authored by L.E. and her sister McRae Acuff. “Your New Playlist” is “the student’s guide to tapping into the superpower of mindset.” A student herself, L.E. knows the power of mindset, especially as a freshman in college in a new-to-her state.
We sat down and asked her all about “Your New Playlist”and, of course, her thoughts on Sweet Home Alabama.
You are throwing a dinner party and only have 5 invitations. Who is on your invite list?
I would invite Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway, Will Ferrell, Julie Andrews, and my dad. They would be so interesting to get to know and hear about their stories. Also, I like to laugh, and I feel like these people would have a fun conversation!
How has your transition to college and Alabama been?
It has been a blast! These first two months have absolutely flown by, and I can’t believe I am halfway through my first semester. I’m so lucky to attend Samford because they do a fantastic job reaching out to all of their students and getting everyone plugged into campus, so the transition has been relatively smooth. And I love living in Birmingham. It is just the cutest city, with the nicest people.
Tell us about “Your New Playlist.”
So the idea for “Your New Playlist” came about with the release of my dad’s book called “Soundtracks”. He says that this book was different from other books that he’s released because parents reached out to him asking if there was a version of his book for teenagers. “Soundtracks” is about how to rewire your brain against overthinking and how to replace those repetitive negative thoughts with positive ones, so we made a version for students. My dad would give me and my sister assignments, and we would write about broken soundtracks that teens struggle with or experiences that teens go through. The writing process was a great learning experience.
What is one topic or chapter from your book that you think everyone should read?
One of the most essential concepts in the book is how to identify a broken soundtrack. We talk about “retire, replace, repeat” as the strategy to change broken soundtracks, but first, you need to recognize which soundtracks are broken. This concept is important because sometimes it is hard to hear the negative voices in your head. After all, they are spoken in the one voice we know best: our own. Learning about what makes up a broken soundtrack is crucial because you can listen and be aware when they are loud.
What has been your favorite thing about Birmingham?
It is so beautiful here! Something that was definitely surprising about moving here was how hilly it is—I always thought that Alabama was flat, but there are a TON of hills here. I was shocked at how many places there are to watch the sunset, which is one of my favorite activities. I also love all of the variety. I feel like I could live here for years and never fully explore all of Birmingham’s secret places. There are so many hidden gems, and I can’t wait to learn more about this cool city!
Is there anything else you want us to know/would like to share?
It is hard to be a teenager these days, especially with social media, and I want everyone to be equipped with the tools to change their own mindset! Check out “Your New Playlist.” It is such a valuable tool for all ages, but especially students.