“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me—like food or water.”-Ray Charles
I’ve had lots of constants in my life. I’ve constantly experienced love. I’ve constantly experienced stability. Success, even. One of my favorite constants is music. I feel like I was connected with music from the very beginning. Some of my earliest memories revolve around it. Sitting in my dad’s beat-up pickup truck listening to country music in the summer. A large black boombox that was always on in the morning as my parents got ready for work. My sing-along tapes and tape-player with a built in microphone. My Mom often said she knew where I was in the house due to my love of singing.
As I grew older, my parents got me my own boombox. I often could be found in front of it listening to various things, the radio being my main go-to. I also listened to a lot of classic rock and country CD’s that were in my parent’s music collection. I even developed a taste for the music of the time, which is now considered retro, for some reason. I feel like the 90s were yesterday; they definitely weren’t.
As I went into middle school, music became a sort of security blanket. I was a somewhat awkward kid during that time (like most kids that age), I didn’t quite know where I went. I got into band and choir because it seemed like a good fit and luckily it was. It didn’t help me in the super-important popularity contest that is middle school, but whatever. I was a nerd, so I was never going to win it anyway. Music gave me a social life with people who shared the same interest. I can never thank it enough for that.
I was in band all through high school. I was a section leader and I took it pretty seriously. We went to competitions. We won a lot of them. On the side I took guitar class, finished my piano lessons I had been enrolled in since grade school, and got ready to gear up for college band. I think high school really solidified my love of all things musical. I just couldn’t imagine my life without it.
The college marching band phase didn’t last long, just one year. I wasn’t ready for the intensity of both college and it at the same time. Although playing music went to the side (I still play both guitar and piano when I can find the equipment and time), my love of music didn’t waver. When I came to K-State, I actually joined the student radio station, The Wildcat 91.9, because I loved music and figured, if nothing else, I could do it for a semester. That semester ended up being four years. So not only did I intensify my love of music, but also my love of radio.
Music isn’t an independent sport. I’ve found many friends with the same intense love of music I have. My friend Anna is one of them. She and I recently have been going to several shows. The most recent was to Imagine Dragons about two weeks ago. Live shows are incredible for a variety of reasons, but mostly because several hundred people end up in one place to watch one or two bands they love. I still get goosebumps when I hear people around me at a concert singing along to my favorite song.
That tells me it’s theirs, too and in a moment we are all there for the same reason and share the same love. I’ve never been much for religion, but that’s the closest “religious” and spiritual experience I have had the chance to witness.
I hope my love of music will never go away, I can’t imagine at this point it will. I think every time I hear John Denver I’ll think of my mother. A country song from the 90s will always remind me of those summer months fishing with my Dad. I’ve had several bands I’ve gotten into because of boyfriends I wanted to impress or date. And then there are those songs I can relate to the most.
While in college, I really got into The Smiths. Mainly, because there was a guy I liked that I wanted to talk to and it gave me common ground, but after that, I found Morrissey’s lyrics extremely relatable. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” Indeed it does.
Through the rest of my life, I hope to find more relatable music. More things to share and even more things to love.