I’m a strong believer in music. I’m that person who recognizes the Victor Hugo saying, that music—and I’m paraphrasing—expresses everything or anything that can’t be said, though such sentiments are impossible to keep silent. Such understanding can be found in my offbeat series, “In The Key of B,” when I can no longer find my own words to get my point across. Music has a beautiful way of touching us emotionally through the melody or the poetry of a beat. It really does say it all.
What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?
Music was always being played in my house. Whether it was foreign music that my mom would be playing loudly in her room and singing along to; or, my dad singing Ricky Nelson tunes while tinkering with things in the garage; or, my sister listening to New Kids on the Block while reading teen magazines in her room; or even, my older brother blaring the Cocktail or Top Gun soundtrack in the basement over and over (remember when Tom Cruise owned the 80s?)–music was and has always been around me. I was exposed to new music, old music, and foreign. With all of those influences surrounding my growth, I’ve found as I got older, I have a great appreciation for music of all genres and styles because of this. I’m that girl who will listen to Françoise Hardy when driving at sunset, or Glenn Miller when watching shooting stars dance across the sky, or even sing to the best of my ability Fred Astaire’s version of “Cheek to Cheek” from Top Hat to the most perfect and beautiful man I have ever set eyes on (and something I would do over and over, even if I sounded off-key).
The Beatles. The Monkees. The Beastie Boys. Nine Inch Nails. Artie Shaw. Paul Simon. Miles Davis. CCR. Bond. Kelly Clarkson. The Ink Spots. The Killers. Talking Heads. Lana Del Rey. Johnny Cash. Bruno Mars. David Bowie. I could go on, really. There are so many artists because I love so many different styles of music. And if you know me well enough, you will know of the incredibly broad palette I have. I enjoy listening to music from the 1920s, all the way to present day. Do I know every artist from every decade though? No way. That wasn’t the question anyway, but that doesn’t mean I listen any less. I feel like, listening to older music really feeds into the hunger for the understanding in the evolution of new music, how it’s changed, how it’s drawing from its predecessors. As a subscriber to SiriusXM Radio, I am very grateful I get to continuously shower myself with amazing music.
Because of my father, I’m someone who listened to a ton of Elvis Presley and still do to this day. Elvis is a musical master–a genius during his time who single-handedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s.
Story time: When I was seven years old, my dad would drop me off to school in his 1984 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, and it was a big, majestic car–I was incredibly small in front of it, but I still love it to this day. (Fun fact: it’s actually the same car Mike from Breaking Bad had for a while–just not the same year.) Anyway, he would drop me off to school and we would listen to Oldies 1050CHUM and he would sing along to every tune. I eventually caught on and when we’d sit listening to the radio in the school parking lot, waiting for my friends to appear and traffic to build up. We would talk about things while the radio played and every time Elvis came on, we would start singing and he would gesture a guitar while I’d sing it out. It was my favorite part of the day! I didn’t like elementary school because of the bullying, the teasing, the lack of real friendship (I only actually have have one real friend from elementary school now), and those moments just made my mornings brighter.
Now as I’m older, Elvis means so much more to me because not only do I still occasionally sing a tune with my dad in the car when listening to Elvis Radio (the best thing since sliced cheese), but I get to share my love of the hip shaker with my best friend who was instilled with such values from his gloriously beautiful late grandmother; and, my little sister from another mister, Elizabeth—two of the coolest cats who are probably the only people around my age who “get him.”
So back to the question: I really have listened to everything, and because of it, I am so much more appreciative of musical styles. Of course, that being said, I do have favorites and I do have dislikes, but I am always open to expanding my musical tastes. That’s how I discovered some great artists like The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons, and now they are constantly played on my iPod.
From everything I’ve learned about music, it is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom, and if you don’t live it—make it that soundtrack to your life—you won’t understand it. One of my favorite musicians, Paul Simon said it best when he said: “‘Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.”