Sometimes, I find myself being guided through life through the wisdom of songs. From songs that don’t have lyrics to songs that only have lyrics, melodies will always lay a path for me to follow. Being 17, I have a lengthy list of songs that have shaped me.
As by Steve Wonder has taught me how to love the people through all four seasons, through thick and thin, through the mysteries of tomorrow. I learned how to love, always.
Man in the Mirror, MJ; This song was, in my memory, the first song that highlighted the less fortunate. At a young age, I realized how blessed I was to have a roof over my head and a full plate of food 3 times a day.
All for You, homegirl, Janet; The “I just wanna have a fun” song of the 2000s.
Superwoman by Alicia Keys. I am SUPERWOMAN, yes I am and yes she is! Alicia, thank you for teaching me that being a woman is super! I have never been more proud!
Fade Into You, Mazzy Star; The song that sends me into a mindset of creativity, and lets me let go of the worries from the day like fading into a different dimension of my mind.
Cobrastyle by Teddybears takes me to Venice, California, windows down, with my father behind the wheel and my brother in the passenger seat.
Me, Myself and I by Beyonce makes me believe in the power of me. I do not need a man to support myself, fuel myself, provide for myself, or feel good about myself.
This is just a mere look into my childhood but each of these songs are inspiring and evoke vivid images of happiness. From my mother dancing in the living room to my dad telling my brother about his latest music find, my family has inspired my preference in music and I am proud.
Theater is one of my favorite things in the world. And though I have the talent of a rock, and would never participate in any musicals ever, I love watching them and over the past couple years my obsession with Broadway has grown stronger. So, I decided to compose a list of my favorite Broadway shows and movie musicals and why.
10. Dear Evan Hansen: I haven’t seen this musical yet, but I am obsessed with the soundtrack, and I really hope I get to see it one day.
9. The Lion King: There’s no reason why this musical is low on my list, because I loved it with all my heart. I was in awe during the whole production with the costume design, music, and set, and would recommend it to anyone, but it’s not a show I would go see a second time unless I went with a friend who would really want to go.
8. The Greatest Showman: This is only a musical, but there are rumors that a Broadway production of it is in the making. This was my favorite movie during all of 2017. I loved everything about this musical movie. The music, the actors, the story, all of it. So much so that I saw it three times in the theater within three weeks, and several times after that on the plane.
7. Wicked: This one should definitely be higher on my list, but I have too many musicals to mention, so this had to be right here. I’ve seen Wicked at least three times because every time it goes to my city my family has tickets. It was the first musical I’ve ever watched and it’s been one of my favorites since.
6. Kinky Boots: To describe this musical in one word, I’d say iconic. A Broadway show about drag queens? With a powerful, positive, feel-good story and catchy as heck tunes? I stan it. Plus, Brendon Urie was a part of it over the summer, which started my obsession with the musical, but isn’t the only reason I love the production. The show’s amazing with or without him and I saw it with David Cook and he was amazing in it. I’m gonna miss this show when it closes in April. #Revival
5. Mamma Mia: Anyone who knows me knows this musical is bound to be on my list whether they decide to read this or not. This is my favorite movie. I’ve never seen the live production of it, but I’ve watched the movie at least 100 times and if I could revive any Broadway show it’d be this one (or Newsies).
4. Hamilton: Do I need to explain why Hamilton’s so high up? I’ll probably have to say why it’s not my favorite, but this musical is amazing. There’s a reason why it’s so freaking popular. It’s a rap musical and all the dialogue is done rapping, there’s no simply talking except for maybe two times in the whole production. I was lucky to see this show with my aunt last year in Los Angeles with tenth row seats and it was the most magical three hours of my life. Additionally, history is one of my favorite subjects and this musical was a modern production on a story from almost three hundred years ago with a diverse cast and an incredible soundtrack.
3. The Book of Mormon: I dedicated a whole blog post to this show last year, but it didn’t do it 100% justice for how amazing it was. This show was hilarious and I went into it skeptical that I was gonna like it, but I loved every part of it. The second it comes to California again I’m buying tickets and I’m anticipating the moment I get to go watch it again.
2. Phantom of the Opera: I get to finally see this musical during summer time and I’ve been wanting to see it more than anything since I watched the movie on Netflix last summer. As of now, it’s still the longest running Broadway musical and I still haven’t seen it, but that will change… hopefully. But, it’s still reserved this spot on my list because I am obsessed with the story, despite how high-key toxic the relationship between the Phantom and Christine is. But, that’s what makes the story so interesting and addicting to watch.
1. Aladdin: This show is the most underrated popular show in Broadway right now. Aladdin is my favorite Disney movie, but watching the Broadway version was the most magical three hours of my life. I remember at one point I had to close my eyes because the costume and set design were so insane with bright lights and glitter that it was blinding. I never saw so many dancers in sync and so many perfect voices in harmony together in one song. I remember when the show ended, and my aunt, sister, and I were all leaving the theatre and I was in a daze for the rest of the night. Then the next day, I wanted to return.
This was a really long list, but if you’ve made it to the end, I 100% recommend you go to any of these shows and you’ll have the best experience ever.
Recently I got a tattoo and everyone has been wondering what it is or why I got it. I haven’t explained it to many people because I just haven’t had time to fully explain it. There are so many things someone must know to understand why I got that tattoo. It is not something simple to me. I mean I planned it for 8 years, so what can you expect?
When I was very young, around the age of 4, I took father and daughter guitar lessons with my dad. I don’t really remember the classes, but one day has always stood out to me more than others. My dad and I went to the class, then went to the fair after. We got mint chocolate chip ice cream and I just loved spending the day with my dad. The main focus of the day was music, but that was most days for us.
Another really strong memory I have with my dad is painting with watercolors. We painted together so many times that I don’t have just one day I can recall. All I remember is painting with him.
He was very artistic. In fact, I think that I got my artistic side from him. We used to always jam out to “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath in his car and look at nature together. We always talked about how beautiful nature was. Our favorite colors were green and blue because they were always in nature and we both had beautiful blue eyes.
In 2011, God decided that it was time for my dad to go home. I tried to follow him multiple times, but luckily I failed.
Now that I got the background information out of the way, I think I can actually explain my tattoo.
My tattoo is a black bass and treble clef that resemble a heart with blue, green, and purple watercolors behind it on my forearm. It sounds simple, but it really isn’t.
I have known since I was 10 I wanted a heart for my dad but I did not know what kind. I decided that when I saw the music heart that I knew it was perfect. I feel most connected to him through any sort of art.
The bass clef has low notes in music while the treble has high notes. This is to remind me that there are lows in life, but there are also highs.
The bass clef normally has a colon at the end, but I decided to make it a semicolon because there is a very famous project known as The Semicolon Project, which raises awareness for suicide victims and survivors. After my father passed, I thought I could not handle life without him, but I can and the semicolon is a reminder that I can.
The watercolors in the back are not just cool colors to me. Whenever I see blue and green together, I always think of my dad so I thought they were the only fitting colors to have. I added purple as a sort of transition color.
The reason I am calling them watercolors is because they look like splashes of watercolors. The reason I added them was not just for a pop of color. It was because some of the best memories I have of him are when we were painting together and most the time we used watercolors.
The placement is not random either. I know to some people it is dumb to have a tattoo so visible, but I do not care. It is visible in most dresses, but I want it that way. My father cannot walk me down the aisle so having the tattoo on my arm out in the open is the closest I will ever get.
This weekend, I went to a music festival called Camp Flog Gnaw, which was held by rapper Tyler, The Creator.
In the middle of his set, Tyler said, “I made this as a place for all you weird kids to have a place to feel safe and I think that’s really cool.”
During Jaden Smith’s set, he said “Tyler made this place for all you weirdo’s to feel normal and that’s tight as f***.”
Thank you Tyler for making a place like that. For maybe just a weekend, maybe just a minute, or maybe just an hour we all felt safe and loved. We could love or hate ourselves and whichever we chose would be okay.
No one tried to fix us; we just got to simply exist for a while and feel alright.
Thank you for giving us a place where we could be or do whatever we wanted and that was cool with everyone.
Somewhere we could wear whatever we wanted and not have to think twice about it, somewhere we could yell at the top of our lungs, somewhere we could cry if that song playing reminded you of something, somewhere we could jump and it was what you’re supposed to do, somewhere we could meet people like ourselves, somewhere where nothing was weird and everything and anything was ok.
One day, I’ll find that place in the people I surround myself with and where I live and where I work.
One day, but until I find my somewhere, I’ll stick to this. Thank you Tyler :’)