Have you ever met someone who says “I don’t really listen to music right now”? I have and it took everything in me not to hurl that person out of an office window.
Music had saved my life on many occasions spanning almost three decades now.
I remember music as a kid. I had the one beat-down tape player with radio. It had no cd function and the volume dial had a unique turn to it, needless to say no one else besides me could control the volume on that thing.
That barely-a-radio saved my life.
As a Malaysian kid in the 90s to parents that never had much money, you only have your mind to keep you entertained. I read books and was instantly transported to magical kingdoms and fascinating love romances as the voyeuristic third person. But music completed it. Afternoons with the radio on were as magical as any fantasy, movie or book.
When I discovered rap, I discovered music that could make me smile, laugh and basically just nod my head to. It had stories; it was clever poetry with slick beats and funky snares that made it unique. It was an addiction I could not understand. It inspired me to write. It made rainy afternoons in the small hall in my house feel like concerts. I rapping along to these songs was comical I bet, but at times, I was a grammy winning rap artist.
I guess that is the magic of music.
Discovering more diverse and amalgamated music later on was part of my personal music evolution. Hearing comments that remixes to old songs were deemed offensive and that it “spoilt the song” didn’t deter me. I didn’t look at it that way; I thought they resurrected the songs. They added a fine gold layer to the song, like an old movie being restored to a High Definition version.
Remixes and unreleased tracks saved my life, at the point in my life when I felt some people in life just do not get recognized. How many musicians do you listen to? What about the rest? Why don’t they get their fair share of publicity? Of course it never was about the musicians, it was about the unjust world that we call home. Some people always get left behind.
Not all though I guess, that’s the other part to it. Music also teaches you the age old lesson, “If you try hard enough you might end up being the greatest of all time”. Kid Rock first commercial success, was the 1998 studio album Devil Without a Cause, although he had 5 releases between 1990 and 1997 that were nowhere close to being hits. Eminem only became famous when he was 27 years old but started out battling genre stereotypes and personal demons way before that, but determination made him one of the best.
What teachers, family and friends couldn’t teach me about life, I guess music did somehow. Realizing their lives, made me reflect on my own, and it thought me lessons in every way it could.
Music at times, was my only company. My highlight of the day. It still is.