What do you listen to?
I have always listened to a lot of different kinds of music. Growing up, my ears were filled with classical music and opera. My father's family owned a music store - they sold records (RECORDS!) and stereo equipment. He brought me home my first record, a Beatles record. I got hooked on rock and roll: I think the Rolling Stones were my favorite band at the time.
In college, as a music major, you pretty much geek out on all things classical. I was introduced to composers who were new to me (Mahler blew my mind). But once I graduated, a good friend began introducing me to jazz. From there I discovered world music. The rhythms, the different ways these musicians use their voices and instruments, and the cultural traditions opened a whole new world to me.
Now I am delighted to hear ANYTHING that makes my ears and brain jolt, whether it's an early Baroque composer I've never heard of, a new way of approaching vocal music (Roomful of Teeth!), or a contemporary song of extreme energy.