It is my sanctuary. When my day has gone from bad to worst in a split second, I ran to it for comfort. When I want to accomplish an objective and I need motivation, it brings me inspiration. When I need to bring out the best character traits that define me and mark my existence as a person, I keep repeating the words inside my mind. It is my faithful and reliable confidant in the lowest points of my life. It has showed me pain, bliss, and most of all it presented me the depth in contrasting reality and idealism. It is music, my passion and my first love. I owe it to my parents for bringing music into my life, without it, my world will be a darker place. There is more to music than just listening to it or dancing to it. I have found a way to establish a connection with the song, from reading between the lines of the lyrics to exploring the life stories of the singer or the band, and what prodded them into making such a magnificent song. Music draws history, life interest, and most especially, love, together.
There are innumerable kinds of songs and musical genres for us to take pleasure in from. Mine was mostly influenced by my father and mother’s music preferences at first. Eventually, my friends and my significant other joined in the bandwagon. These people are the most important influences who presented me their valuable take on certain songs and musical genres. I could best relate the songs “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens to my father. My father would always sing this particular Led Zeppelin song to me. I deem that it’s because this is a song of hope. I am very much aware of all the gibberish talk about this song having a hidden satanic meaning, but I do not believe it. Part of music is to draw on human or life interest, and I see this as the lyricist’s way of interpreting it. Robert Plant was influenced by the hippie movement when he wrote this song (Duncan). Believing in this movement, he wanted spiritual liberation, and he also presented his angst against western culture (Duncan). This song also depicts a piece of history in the 1970s as seen through the songwriter’s eyes. “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens is a dialogue that takes place between a father and a son.
This exchange brings me memories of some of the conversations that I get to have with my own father. I know there are a lot of things that I do not understand, and just as the song goes, “You're still young, that's your fault/There's so much you have to know.” As stated by Gary Leupp, fault in this line can also mean weakness. So I think that most father and son relationships can be defined by this very line, age. Albeit age is no big hindrance for love, which is a very prominent theme in this song, it does not help smoothen out the relationship. However, I have always had a big respect for my father and I know that he is ripened with experience, wisdom, and age. I, on the other hand, am just starting out my journey, but will always keep this song in mind especially when I am having misunderstandings with my father. Unlike my father, my mother has chosen a love song to sing to me every now and then. “You” by the Carpenters is the song that I have chosen to represent my mother and I think vice versa. This song has just so much affection and I know that my mother values me that much. My friends have been a steady part of my life and as such, I have related the songs “In my life” by the Beatles and “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers to them. The Beatles’s song talks about the songwriter, John Lennon’s, childhood and the memories that he kept with him (Everett, 2001). For me, my friends and I share the best memories together. And I would not know how I would have gone throughout these years if they weren’t with me. Although the song by Kenny Rogers much more literally signifies a husband and wife relationship, from my point of view you can also incorporate the marital relationship into a strong bonded friendship with love as the tying rope. There is nothing much more fulfilling in a friendship when you know that your friends will go to the ends of the earth for you, til death do we part, just like in a marriage. And for my significant other, to whom I have always pledged my love and devotion too, the songs “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain and “Reasons” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, best depict these. These songs greatly express my sentiments and my strong emotions towards this person, the best line that describes this is, “I’ll be the greatest fan of your life,” from Edwin McCain (EDWIN McCAIN LYRICS). All the songs that I presented and expounded on basically explored the theme of history, human or life interest and love. We can read from the words of Led Zeppelin how history can impinge on one’s song writing inspirations, in the same way human or life interest like hope, father and son relationships, and childhood memories can. Love is the most played with theme, as it does make the world go around. These people, my father, mother, friends and my significant other, and the songs that I have chosen to represent them or vice versa, are the roots from where I have used music to define me as a person. Without the inspiration that they have given me, I would not have come to the conclusion that identifies me as myself.
Music can help define oneself by making a person stand out from a crowd. The world is one big melting pot and everyone seems to be generic, the same peas in the pod. But just like each individual’s thumbprints, no two people on this planet have exactly the same musical preferences. There might be one, or two, or even ten songs that you like in common with another person, but never all of it. This is because there are so many songs to choose from and all of them are open to various interpretations. As for me, I have chosen these songs that define me, songs that I can relate to, songs that inspire me, and songs that have the most effect on me. “Try it on my own” by Whitney Houston and “Get Here” by Oleta Adams, are the two songs that I can relate to best. “Try it on my own” boosts my confidence so much so that I listen to it almost every time that I feel hopeless. “Get Here” on the other hand, teaches me that there are ways to defy the odds in life, there ways to get somewhere. As long as there is a goal or a place that we want to get to, there’s a way. Songs that inspire me include “First Love” by Utada Hikaru, “Wishing on the same star” by Namie Amuro, and “Puzzle of my Heart” by Westlife. The messages of the songs by Utada Hikaru and Namie Amuro asserts that there’s someone out there for each and everyone of us, and we will find them, maybe not now, maybe tomorrow. We just have to have faith, and keep it alive. The song by Westlife inspires me a lot because it shows that the people who surround me with so much love and joy, my family, my friends and my significant other, are the puzzle pieces of my heart. And definitely without them, I do not see any other purpose for my existence. Songs that have the most effect on me and my life in totality are “The Warrior is a Child” by Gary Valenciano, “Another day in Paradise” by Brandy and Rjay and “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. Its easy to see from the title itself that Gary Valenciano’s song is very moving. The lyrics to this song, “People say that I'm amazing/I'm strong beyond my years/But they don't see inside of me/I'm hiding all the tears” best describes me because I have been a warrior all my life and life has never been so kind to me (Gary Valenciano - Warrior Is a Child). I believe that everyone here on earth has to fight their own battles and sometimes we reach a point wherein we just have to feel vulnerable and stash that strong façade underneath. We cannot always be perfect, and there are failures. As human beings we are prone to make mistakes and sometimes I think that we have to accept to these failures and not try to hide it. And because of this, we all have that part of us that is still vulnerable and fragile like a child amidst the warrior façade. I have chosen “Another day in Paradise” because I know that in spite and despite of everything, there’s always a better place around the bent, and “The Prayer” makes me stronger, it provides strength for my everyday life.
However, music is not always about the lyrics. At certain times they are about the artists too. I have handpicked 7 artists and these 7 represent the artists and their songs which have been my motivation for the longest time immemorial. Aaliyah, Stevie Wonder, Creed, Jason Mraz, Binoculars, Dashboard Confessionals, and Tupac are these artists. Their life stories exceed their names in the industry. To me, Stevie Wonder is more than just the gifted child. He is a living legend; his impairment didn’t deter him to succeed. His songs “Lately” and “Overjoyed” are my choices. Aaliyah is just someone that I idolize so much, her songs “I Miss You” and “At your best you are loved” are some of my all time favorites. Although she has passed away already, her music still lives on. As for Creed, their songs have depth and profound messages or meanings about life, and these include “Higher, With Arms Wide Open, One Last Breath, and My Sacrifice.” Creed’s music correlates God in many ways than one. In the song My Sacrifice, he talks about renewing his relationship with God. It was said that the songwriter did not like going to the church when he was young, but certain life events changed him. These changes prompted him to renew his life, now with God in it (Creed - My Sacrifice Song Meanings). I have faith, and I believe that having a spiritual relationship is part of who we are. In another song by Creed entitled “One Last Breath” he talks about living our lives to the fullest. We may just lose everything that we have worked hard for if we aren’t careful, we never know when our number is up. Other artist’s songs that I truly love and motivate me are Jason Mraz’ “Im Yours”, Binocular’s “Deep”, and Dashboard Confessional’s “Stolen”. Tupac and his song “Changes” remind me that I change, people around me change, and it’s the only constant thing in this world.
When we write or sing about our lives we tell extraordinary tales about ourselves. This is our history, and all of our individual histories combined make up the world’s. Without one, no matter how small it is, will never make things the same again. In our life stories, love governs. It is what makes our lives worthwhile. As humans, these are the things that touch us, pique our interests. And in order to celebrate and treasure history, human/life interest, and love, we created music.
"Creed - My Sacrifice Song Meanings." lyrics Interpretation. 2006. 30 Sep 2008 <http://www.lyricinterpretations.com/lookat.php/bands/creed/7cf17beedb0c38e>.
Duncan, "Analysis of Stairway to Heaven ." In the light. 22 May 2008. 30 Sep 2008 <http://www.inthelight.co.nz/ledzep/stairway.htm>.
"EDWIN McCAIN LYRICS ." AZLyrics. 2008. 30 Sep 2008 <http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/edwinmccain/illbe.html>.
Everett, Walter. The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarrymen Through Rubber Soul. Oxford: Oxford Press, 2001.
"Gary Valenciano - Warrior Is A Child." Lyrics Download. 2008. 30 Sep 2008 <http://www.lyricsdownload.com/gary-valenciano-warrior-is-a-child-lyrics.html>.
Leupp, Gary. "He Had to Go Away The Expulsion of Cat Stevens." Counterpunch. 27 September 2004. 30 Sep 2008 <http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp09272004.html>.