Sounds That Inspire Me
Music and sounds and interesting sounds have always been so inspiring for me. My mom and dad are both great singers and use music as interesting inspirational tools for their lives in completely different ways. Growing up, I observed how incredibly important finding new music was to my dad. To me, it looked like a journey of self understanding, finding sounds that spoke the language of who he was inside for him to revel in on his own. He likes a wide array of music from Animal Collective to Jefferson Airplane to modern House music. For my mom, music is a very outward expression of who she is, and I think music helps her express the very best version of herself through upbeat expressive and dramatic music like Whitney Houston and R Kelly. Yep, for reals she loves R Kelly! Bahah.
For me, music has been a huge part of my life in varying degrees. But in recent years, I really put it on the back burner and I'm not entirely sure why. When I was little, I was desperate to sing in my dad's church's choir. I joined choir at school as soon as I was old enough. And by the end of high school I was singing almost 40 hours a week on average inside of school and out, classical vocal performance and writing music on my own. I taught myself guitar was I was 15 and wrote my own music for 10 years. I wrote a folk album when I was 19, performed my music a lot from 19-24. Was in a band for 2 years that was kind of surf rock/weezer inspired. I loved performing classical music as an artistic and kind of analytical challenge, I guess emotional as well as I needed to evoke the meaning and feelings behind the songs through how I sang and performed. And I loved writing and performing my own music as self expression, revealing my inner world, and feeling challenged to create something unique and perform it well.
All throughout that as well, I was desperately hunting for music that not only expressed who I felt I was inside but inspired me to explore new musical movements and discover something new and different. My teenage years were filled with hours and hours worth of hunting chat rooms for new music, sitting and watching songs slowly download on napster, making mixtapes of songs I heard on the radio, recording music videos that I loved on tapes, flipping through music magazines, going to record stores, and writing my own music quietly in my room. For most of my childhood and teen years, I didn't really have any friends who I felt like I deeply connected with on music. But there were a few people throughout my later teenage years who I felt like really got the music I dug, and it felt so incredible finally getting to talk to people my age about all of the music that inspired me and all the music that inspired them.
When it was time to apply to colleges, I had a hard time deciding whether or not to major or minor in music, or just not pursue it at all in the college setting. I remember during a college interview, the interviewer kept trying to hint to me that I should apply to their music school but I was so spacey and set on being an Art History major that I totally didn't catch it until it was too late. I obviously didn't get into that school, ha!
In college, I decided not to pursue a music education. I felt like I had already received so much training in junior high and high school that if I did any more training, I would lose my emotional connection to music and wouldn't be able to express myself the way I wanted to so purely. So I just wrote music in my free time and performed it on campus and around the city. I also got involved in the on campus radio station and was a part of their staff for a few years. I wrote music all the way through college and included some of my songs in my senior art show. But by the time I was 23, I really wanted to be able to experiment with creating music more outside of just playing guitar and singing. But I didn't have the resources to figure it out. I played around on iMusic and wrote a couple of more experimental songs that I loved, but I just wanted to play more with percussions and mixing and didn't know how to go about that within my means. By 23, I was also bringing out a lot of my deepest thoughts and feelings through my music and I was getting nervous about it. I loved music as self expression but I didn't particularly want to share EVERYTHING that was being brought out of me by writing.
So around 2010, I wrote my last song, not intending it to be my last, but the lyrics just felt too vulnerable to share. So I stopped. I quit the band I was in because I wanted it to be all or nothing, I wanted to devote all my time to it and have everyone else do the same but it felt too wishy washy so I quit. I also started dating my husband and realized that I had written a song about almost everyone I had dated or had ever had a huge crush on and I was legitimately worried that if I wrote a song about him, we would be destined for failure. So that was it! No more song writing.
And in the last 3 years of owning a business and working side by side people everyday, I have totally dropped out of hunting for music that I deeply connect with. I spent a lot of time alone in junior high, high school, college, and post college. But as of the last 3 years, I have worked all day beside other people for the first time in my life and as an introvert, I think it definitely drains me, sound wise. So I don't look for interesting sounds in my free time because I want quite. But miss the musical hunt!
I want 2016 to be the year that I connect again with music, seeking out sounds that inspire me and bring out the person that I feel I am in my interior world. So here is a collection of songs I have loved for a long time, and songs that I randomly have heard lately that I find inspiring. It's a wide array and I love all of it.