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Dev Patel Finds Hope In Ben Harper's 'I'll Rise'


And now it's time for the feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we talk with some of our guests about the music they love. Today we hear the personal playlist of British actor Dev Patel. He's best known for his role in "Slumdog Millionaire," of course, but more recently starred in, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

Here's the music that inspires him on and off screen.

DEV PATEL: Hey, guys. My name is Dev Patel, and I play a character called Sonny in the movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."


BEN HARPER: (Singing) You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may trod me down in the very dirt and still like the dust I'll rise.

PATEL: So what's in my ear at the moment is a song called "I'll Rise" by Ben Harper.


HARPER: (Singing) So you may shoot me with your words. You may cut me with your eyes. And I'll rise. I'll rise. I'll rise. Rise. Rise. Rise.

PATEL: I recently found out it's based on a famous poem by Maya Angelou. It's a really kind of inspirational get up on your feet kind of song, so give it a listen.


HARPER: (Singing) I'll rise. I'll rise. I'll rise, rise, rise.


JARLE BERNHOFT: (Singing) C'mon and talk to me. I will try the upmost to be honest with you. Try to be honest with you. Every single work I'm going to talk to me. I will try the upmost try to be rhythmical. Try to be rhyth, rhythm, rhyth...

PATEL: Another song that I'm listening to is called "Come on Talk" and it's by an artist called Bernhoft. He's pretty much unknown but he's amazing live. He does these great performances using this device called the JamMan or it's a kind of looking device which, where he can record his voice and it plays back and he can overlap different sounds. It's really interesting, so catch his stuff. It's great.


BERNHOFT: (Singing) Come and talk. I've been thinking a lot since the end of our family affair and the things that went wrong, in a matter of speaking. I should have been more forthcoming about the things I needed to say...

PATEL: My third song is by Bill Withers. "Use Me." I think it's a classic and there's not much that needs to be said about that.


BILL WEATHERS: (Singing) My friends feel it's their appointed duty. They keep tying to tell me, all you want to do is use me. But my answer...

PATEL: And my last songs by an artist called Emeli Sande and it's called "Next To Me" is the song.


EMELI SANDE: (Singing) You won't find him drinking at the table. Rolling dice and staying out 'til three. You won't ever find him being unfaithful. You will find him; you'll find him next to me.

PATEL: She, in my eyes, is like the new Adele. She's got an amazing voice, great diction and she's a real soulful artist from my neck of the woods, in the UK, and I think you guys should hear this song "Next To Me." She's amazing.


SANDE: (Singing) ...where the rest go. You will find him; you'll find him next to me. Next to me, ooh. I will find him; I'll find him next to me.

MARTIN: That was actor Dev Patel of the "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," telling us what's playing in his ear. To hear my previous conversation with him, please go to NPR.org and click on the Program tab for TELL ME MORE.


SANDE: (Singing) When everyone's lost their head all around us, you will find him you'll find him next to me. Next to me, ooh. Next to me, ooh.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. And remember, to tell us more, please go to NPR.org and find us under the Programs tab. You can find our podcast there. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TELL ME MORE/NPR. I'm Michel Martin and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Let's talk more tomorrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.