I’ve always appreciated music, but for most of my life, I never listened to it. I consumed what my parents and friends listened to, there were songs I liked, and artists I didn’t, but never did I voyage to discover “new” music. Even in high school, I was the kid who said “oh I don’t really listen to music”, then, one day, something changed. It came in leu of befriending Adam who I greatly looked up to, he, like the others who have surrounded me, changed me through pointed jokes towards my seemingly ever-lacking personality. The first songs I listened to I played relentlessly and then disposed of when they no longer brought me joy, were decades-old pop songs such as 99 Luftballoons, You Spin Me Right Around, and Kiss. I liked these songs and still do, but they still didn’t feel right for me. These songs have millions of plays on Spotify and thousands may consider them the best of all time—at least in their respective genres—but I still couldn’t connect to them in a way I now knew possible as a result of the passion I saw in Adam for excellent music. I didn’t know it yet but I was in search of the perfect song (something I likely will never find). After old pop, I moved into rap, not the good kind, honestly like bad music, although I do appreciate them for what they are artist like bbno$ and Young Gravy has no place in the search for the best song of all time. It’s not to diss them but they create music not for the soul but for the pleasure of the masses. Now, I think I know what you’re thinking, “this kid just said popular songs can’t be good, twice.” While I do think there is a correlation between production for mass markets and production for emotional expression, many popular songs are that way because they truly tap into a deep human feeling that people can’t turn away from. Latino artists do this incredibly well. I recently played mi gente in the car with Logan and he called it “cringy” still, that song, despite its incredible popularity infuses you with energy in a way most songs could never do. Is Mi Gente the perfect song? No. Is it worth listening to? Absolutely. Another artsiest who accomplishes this emotional feat is Lauryn Hill. I know I’ve already talked about her but she has the infusion into her music that grabs your soul and holds it right in the rhythm and beat of the music. I think this is the beginning of a formula for a perfect song. Though like John Keating with poems, I really don’t think there can be a “formula” to a perfect song, rather, qualitative aspects add up to create something perfect.
Let me be your beacon,
let me be your guiding light.
I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,
but I’m here to hold you tight.
I know you hide your fears from me,
you get ashamed when you let them show,
I’ve cried in your arms many times,
so please just let me know
what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,
your wicked, twisted, brain
filled with lies and awful times,
but babe let me be your change.
I just want to love you,
you’ve been through so god damn much,
your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,
I wish you thought the same.
I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,
you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.
Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,
but darling I’m not the same.
So let me be your beacon,
let me be your guiding light.
I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,
but I’m here to hold you tight.
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.
I’m in a really good mood right now, but there are honestly so many things that makes life feel so much better. So, here’s a few things that never fail to make me happy.
- The tiredness after being at the beach in the sun all day
- Driving down PCH with the windows down during sunset
- The lights turning off at a concert and knowing the show’s about to begin
- When the singer stops singing and everyone in the crowd continues belting the lyrics on the top of their lungs
- Listening to ocean waves before falling asleep
- Having the air conditioning on while sleeping, but being wrapped up in warm blankets
- My horse coming up to me
- Hugging my favorite celebrities
- Having dance parties alone in my room
- Waking up and having a good hair day
- Wearing a cute outfit and feeling confident in it
- Good conversations with friends at dinner
- Waking up early and having energy to take on the day
- Sitting outside when it’s hot, but a perfect breeze keeps you cool
- Hot chocolate after snowboarding all day
- Being spontaneous
- Being carefree
- Blasting 2000’s throwbacks and singing along to them while driving
- Reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in a while
- Singing with my friends without caring about what my voice sounds like
- Having motivation to clean my room
- Being told my writing is good
- Swimming in the ocean for hours
- Hanging out at the fair in the summer
- Finding out I did better on a test than I thought I would
- Jumping into a freezing pool on a hot day
- Listening to a song for the first time in years and still knowing all the lyrics
- Mastering a verse in a rap song
- Wearing oversized sweatshirts
- Going to the movies while it’s raining outside
- Getting invested in a new book and forgetting about everything else around me while reading it
- Being around a camp fire
- Opening gifts
- Giving a good gift
- Having a breakthrough while horseback riding
- Writing freely without writer’s block getting in the way
- Talking with my friends on the phone for hours, and though I rarely see them in person anymore, still having our friendship be stronger than ever
- Loving life for the way it is and currently not wanting to change anything about it
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.
I have an existential crisis almost every night.
The fire was a year ago. That scares me.
The music is too loud outside my window and
my eyes hurt from staring at a screen for so long.
I’m having an existential crisis tonight. It’s because of Calculus homework.
I could post about it. Maybe someone will say I’m pretty.
She hasn’t replied to my email yet and I worry that my writing is boring.
But my teacher says I’m good at Spanish, so at least I have that.
My eyes are dry. They almost always are.
I say I’ve never been in love before but that’s not true.
I am in love right now. It’s just the sad kind.
I could post about it. Maybe someone will say I’m pretty.
He likes the finality of writing things down on paper. I like it too. (But as I wrote this, I knew I would type it out later.) I like the way he thinks because he is an intellectual.
My room is too cluttered and so is my mind.
I want to leave my house and live somewhere far away.
My life is a mess and I’m having an existential crisis tonight, but I met a famous person once. And a different famous person has a relative that goes to my school, so I think I will post about it.
I wish I could write songs. They would probably be boring.
And maybe this doesn’t make sense to some people.
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 :’)
Maybe it hasn’t been my year, but it has definitely been my weekend, because, on Saturday, I got to see my favorite band for the fifth time.
This time was the first time I’ve ever been to Emo Nite Day. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to happen, but the experience was way better than I ever could’ve imagined.
First of all, I never thought I’d be in a room full of hundreds of people jamming out to iconic emo songs, like I Write Sins Not Tragedies and Welcome to the Black Parade. The crowd during those DJ sets was just as exciting and wild as when the bands came on. It was an incredible feeling to scream all the lyrics with people who were screaming along with me and weren’t judging if my voice was horrible or not (sorry to the people near me because my voice was, in fact, horrible and really, really loud).
Saturday was the first time I ever got to see 30H!3 live. I only became a big fan recently, but their songs were still a big part of my childhood and I went crazy when they went on stage.
Then, I saw Mayday Parade. The last time I saw them was in seventh grade, but my friend and I continuously joked about how they never came to So-Cal. The times they did decide to come on their tours were weekdays or vacations when we were both out of town. Mayday Parade was one of my favorite bands during middle school, but I lost hope of seeing them live again.
But, I screamed when I heard they would be playing at Emo Nite Day alongside All Time Low and my middle school dreams were coming true. I was finally seeing Mayday Parade again and I got to hear Jersey, my favorite song by them, for a second time.
At the end of the night, after standing for six hours for the moment I’ve been waiting for since I bought tickets in August, All Time Low came on stage. The set was only an hour long, but they played all my favorite songs including Stella. Saturday night was the first time I ever heard that song live and I have the video to prove it, though my voice was louder than the singer’s voice in the microphone. Besides that, I finally checked off sitting on someone’s shoulders at a concert (Shoutout to my friend for keeping me on her shoulders for that long. Sorry I killed your neck, oops).
I know it’s biased because they’re my favorite band, but All Time Low performs the best concerts ever. During one of their songs, they released giant glow-in-the-dark beach balls into the crowd. There were always crowd surfers and people kept head-banging, singing, and jumping up and down during the choruses. Then, during Dear Maria, Count Me In, Luke from 5SOS came on stage and, while I’m not the biggest fan now, they were my favorite band alongside All Time Low in middle school. My former emo self was having the time of her life. They have the most unproblematic fan base, zero drama involving the band, and their concerts possess an energy that is always positive and happy.
I’m thankful for that night. For being able to head into LA for the night and let go of all the stress and drama of senior year and hold on to only good vibes from the evening. I know Emo Nite Day is only once a year, but I can’t wait to go again in the future.
Dear All Time Low,
I know it’s cheesy when fans say you saved their lives, but here’s a fan saying it once more.
You saved my life.
Figuratively. Never once in my life have I contemplated ending it all, but what I mean is that your band has made all the rock bottom moments easier to go through.
I’m supposed to be the one who has it easy. The girl from a well off, supportive family who wants me to succeed. The one with no financial issues, boy drama, or grief. If only that had always been the case in my life.
But, because of it, that’s all I’m allowed to be. The girl who has it easy and who shouldn’t be sad, because what do I have to be sad about? That’s why I don’t tell my friends anything, because I’m supposed to be the happy one.
But, that’s why I feel saved by you and your music. When I put my earphones in at the end of the day, the layers of thick skin I put on to build a barricade around myself falls down. I’m finally myself; every flawed, fragile, and delicate piece of myself free to be the real me when I listen to “Missing You” or “Therapy”.
It’s not just the music, though. It’s the community you’ve created for me and every single fan you have. I’m thankful for the concerts you perform, because I would’ve never been able to meet girls there who I’ve spilled more secrets to than the friends I’ve had for years now because I felt so safe.
Thank you for making me feel safe.
When I met you guys July 7th, 2017, I didn’t say everything I wanted to. Partly because I only had thirty seconds with you guys and partly because I was too shocked about the fact that I was finally meeting my favorite people in this world to even formulate a sentence beyond a simple “thank you”.
So, here’s the truth.
Thank you for making such amazing music. Songs that inspired me to learn guitar, lyrics that I want to get tattooed when I’m older, and music that will always stay on my playlist no matter how many times I change the music I listen to.
Thank you for being there through it all. When my parents died, when I went to boarding school for the first time, when my school burned down, and when I felt abandoned and alone in this rapidly changing world; the one thing that has remained constant in my life is your music.
Thank you for creating the best fan base in the world. The ones that held me up, literally, when I went crowdsurfing for the first time during your set at Warped Tour and for the ones I screamed and cried with when “Therapy” was performed.
Thank you for making every moment obsessing over your band the best moments of my life.
I’ve written many letters throughout the years to many different people, but I didn’t know how to begin or end this one. The reason is that no words could truly explain the impact you’ve had on me, my happiness, and my life.
“It’s just a band” most people say, but you’re not just a band.
You’re my band.
My favorite band and even in thirty years, when my music taste is completely different from what it is now, you’ll still be my favorite band.
So, I’ll end this letter the way I started it.
Thank you All Time Low…
You saved my life.