I Always Turned To Music

Music Saved My Life

The first memory I have is of music. I must have been somewhere around 18 months to 2 years old. I remember my father’s band practicing in the dining room of this little house I lived in when I was born. Actually, I remember my head was hurting, and the volume of the music was making it worse. It must have gotten through to me in some positive way though, because I have been in love with music for as long as I can remember.

I remember riding in the back seat of my parents car as a small child listening to old country music, and classic rock like the Steve Miller Band, The Eagles, etc. I would belt out the tunes word for word, probably much to my parent’s chagrin, but I couldn’t help it…something about music just moved my little 7–8 year old self in a way that I have a very hard time explaining.

Around the age of 12 I had made up my mind that I was going to make a career out of it. Though, the odds were heavily stacked against me, as they are with most people who aspire to make a career in the music profession. I came from a very meager existence where my parents would never be able to afford to help me achieve that goal. But, that didn’t stop me from dreaming. My brother and I would walk up to our local music store and put our hands on every instrument in there, strumming guitars, banging on drum sets, picking around on the pianos, not knowing how to do a damn thing on any one of them. But, I always inherently knew that if I could ever own an instrument, I would be able to play it.

I learned my first few chords on a guitar in my early teen years, and I have been on a quest to become a better musician since. I was a drummer for a local band for years, have performed as a solo artist with just my voice and a guitar, and now…well now I play just for the pure pleasure of it.

Music has been there for me through some of the worst and happiest times of my life, creating a soundtrack to my memories. I lost my father at the age of 13, and I listened to probably every song about loss that exists (The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics sticks out most), and it helped me through. I went through a divorce at the age of 28, and again I turned to music, writing songs about heartbreak, angry songs about getting screwed over, happy songs about the freedom I felt. For a short stint in my life I was homeless, and it was music that kept me alive…literally. I spent time busking in various cities, playing for whatever money I could sing out of people walking by.

Recently, I have been looking back over my life, and I realized that without music, there are times I don’t know if I would have made it through. It was my first love. It’s inspired me, made me cry, made me laugh, helped me find happiness, and has helped me learn about who I am.

I guess the reason I am writing this is to say thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful musicians out there, to the brilliant songwriters who keep churning out new songs everyday, to all the recording engineers that make it possible for music to be delivered to us, to all the talented singers who have the capability to make us really feel the meaning of the songs they sing, and thank you music for the songs that make me flashback to distinct memories in my life by hearing just the first few notes.

Although I never did become a rock star, in my mind I am. I sit in my living room jamming on my guitar and singing like I am performing for thousands (hey, at least my dogs don’t seem to mind). Why? Because, there’s not much better than hitting the last chord of a song and knowing you just nailed it. Keep singing people.

What are your thoughts?

Originally published at www.desiredmag.com on March 24, 2016.