The Reason Why I Love To Sing

The Reason Why I Love To Sing

I aspire to touch the lives around me with music.

I remember sitting in front of the T.V. as a child, watching American Idol. I loved hearing so many beautiful voices, and I always wished that mine sounded like theirs did. As an eight-year-old girl, I certainly couldn’t belt like all of the talented men and women I heard on the radio, but it didn’t stop me from trying. When I was younger, singing was a pastime, but certainly not one that I took seriously. The realm of rock stars seemed too far away to be a reality.

In fifth grade, I began participating in musical theater. I tried out for the play, only to realize how weak and small my voice was. After hearing countless female singers with higher ranges, I assumed that was how a girl should sing, and I wouldn’t unlearn this stereotype until a year later. The audition left me with nothing to go by, but my director’s advice to work on my lower range.

I must briefly discuss my love affair with rock music, in order to explain everything that would follow. One day, fourteen-year-old me, was sitting in the car with my father, when an Evanescence song came on the radio. Amy Lee’s voice was strong and powerful, yet she possessed an elegance to her voice. I immediately knew that I wanted to sound exactly like she did. I spent countless hours singing in my room to music from "Fallen," and "The Open Door." I modeled my own voice after Lee’s. I became passionate about finding my voice, and spent my waking hours trying to find out how to sound better. I read article after article, on how to improve, but none of it made a difference. I was able to strengthen my voice, but I still possessed little to no technique.

I remained a shower singer, exclusively, until I joined my high school’s chorus in my sophomore year. Much to my surprise, my chorus director placed me as a soprano. At first, I was contemptuous, but upon further exploration I realized that my range was much wider than I had previously believed. I learned to breathe properly and develop my range and tone. More importantly, I eliminated the word ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary. I learned that the only thing holding me back was myself. My greatest realization was that I must open my mind before I could effectively use my instrument.

Music became a living and breathing thing for me. It was no longer the two-dimensional people on TV or the faceless voices from the radio. Music lived inside of me, and in the people around me. Suddenly, notes became my alphabet, and harmony was my language. All of the research I had done on the human voice was finally contextualized.

Simultaneously with my increased vocal understanding, I was learning more about musical culture. I discovered new artists and bands every time I opened my laptop. Vocalists became my closest confidants. They articulated everything that I felt, and in a way that I understood. All I had to do was sing along, and I felt that I had a place where I belonged. Names like Josh Ramsay, Gerard Way, and Taylor Momsen, would make their way into my everyday vocabulary. I began attending concerts and using my voice to scream back the lyrics that I loved so much. I met people and made personal connections with many other musicians and singers.

Singing has empowered me in so many ways. I now write my own music and sing in my free time. I still participate in musical theater and choruses, but I use my voice for so many reasons. I sing to encourage, to express, to understand, and to feel. I sing because it is a mechanism for me to experience emotion. The excitement of performing gives me chills, I never smile wider than when I sing with people I love, I always choose the music over the tears, and it’s much less expensive to sing rather than breaking things when I’m angry. However, I believe that my voice is not only for myself, I am able to effect those around me. Whether I am healing, encouraging, or creating with, I aspire to touch the lives around me with music.

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Why I Listen to Depressing Music Even Though I'm Depressed

Music that's powerful, music that speaks to me, music that means something.

It took me a long time to find my preferred genre of music. In middle school, I remember listening to pop songs that I often heard on the radio. I could (and still can) rap the entirety of Super Bass by Nicki Minaj and I dreamt about my crush professing his love to me by serenading me with Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. 

By my freshman year of high school, those songs were no longer cool, so I went along with the crowd and started listening to the next most popular type of music: trap music. In my experience, these artists talked solely about fucking bitches and smoking ganja, even though, at that point in my life, I had no intent of having intercourse or "doing" the marijuana (boy was I naive). Though I listened to these genres to appease everyone else, I never felt completed like so many people claimed to feel when they listened to music. I did not have a passion for any bands or artists and I did not feel any sort of deep connection while I was listening.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to explore certain genres that I hadn’t yet explored. The first bands I really grew to love were the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and The Kooks. Their music not only sounded great, but the lyrics actually meant something. They spoke about relationships, internal struggles, mental issues, and societal problems. Their lyrics resonated with me, and, surprisingly, the most depressing of their material resonated the most.

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, though I was not diagnosed until a little over a year ago. I’ve been on meds and have learned coping techniques, but the most counterintuitive of those techniques is listening to these depressing songs.

One of the hardest struggles I have with depression is not being able to tell people how I am feeling, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words. I find that listening to others put into words the exact emotions that I have not been able to convey myself is quite reassuring.  These songs help me better understand my own emotions and give me an idea of how to turn those emotions into spoken language. 

When Alex Turner says “you can shriek until you’re hollow or whisper it the other way” or when AJJ says "everything is real, but it's also just as fake” I feel as if someone has entered my thoughts and put into lyrics the fears and feelings I struggle with on a daily basis. These songs make me feel as if there is a whole community of people out there who experience the same, seemingly-lonely experiences that I do. I feel more connected to the world when I listen to this type of music. I feel understood.

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Two Inspiring Movies Everyone Should See

Movies that take you on an emotional roller coaster.

I have always loved watching movies, especially ones with inspiring and emotional storylines. I get very invested and intrigued (maybe a little too much), but I love having that whirlwind of emotions throughout the entire movie.

Recently, I got the opportunity to see two amazing movies that I think are very important and had a huge effect on me. The films were “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name”. Both of these films came out in 2017 so they are fairly new. They are making a huge impact and receiving a lot of deserved recognition.

“Lady Bird” has such a special storyline. It follows the relationship between a mother and daughter in such a realistic way. As many girls know, a relationship with a mother is not always an easy one and the film really captures that frustration.

It follows the life of a young girl that is about to leave to go to college. So many things change for girls during this time and there are so many emotional challenges and obstacles. I absolutely love how this film displays this situation and many relationships in a very graphic and honest way. I think it is so important for young girls to watch this film and channel all those feelings. It is incredibly relatable and it reminds girls to be courageous.

“Call Me by Your Name” is seriously one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is a love story, which we have seen is countless movies, but this film displays a relationship in such a unique and beautiful way.

The best thing about this movie is that it is awkward at some points and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I admire this because love and relationships aren’t always magical and perfect. It expresses a type of love that is so unapologetic and pure. I could watch it over and over and still have the same inspiring feeling at the end. If you are a fan of emotional love stories or small independent films watch this movie. You will not regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Connor Limbocker

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