Music has always been a big part of my life.
When I was a kid, I remember my momma blasting Rhythm Nation Janet in her room while she ran in place, dropped down and did some crunches, jumped back up and started sashaying and swaying all over the room. Sometimes she caught me watching and told me to come in and we would dance together. Other times, I would just watch. My momma could get down ya'll!
I remember being with my daddy and my step mom singing along to Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" like I knew what I was talking about. I remember the look on my dad's face while he pumped me up to keep going while I sang, "you are my feet, you are my fire." I was 8 years old and I was dead serious.
Most of the memories I have of childhood involve music booming from speakers. Didn't matter who I was with: My momma, my daddy, my godparents, my cousins or my friends.
Music was always around me.
Lessons were learned listening to the lyrics. Dances were taught catching the groove from the bass. Praises were given to The Most High in between verses. Music was E V E R Y W H E R E.
The conversations I remember having with my people about music sometimes didn't have any words. I was encouraged to get into the feel of music...ponder what the artists were trying to tell us.
When I decided to start playing the violin at the age of 10, my attachment to music deepened. I was like a sponge, soaking up works by classical composers like Vivaldi (a personal fave), Bach and Mozart. I latched on so smoothly, it was like I've was reintroduced to an old friend. Everything came so naturally to me. I felt every movement, every pause, every melody and harmony. I was in heaven.
In college, I stopped playing the violin in organized settings. However, I still yearned for that rush of being around live music. So, I found myself at any and all live shows in Atlanta I could get into while still being under 21.
That's when the game changed.
Hearing a live band with vocalists and dancers all on the stage was a thrill I've never experienced before. And I chased that feeling even more fiercely when I graduated from college and had the means to see live shows at least once a month. Sometimes, one of my best friends and I would travel to different cities just to see one of our faves.
To be that close to an artist where I can feel the bass of the drum in my chest and see her face wrinkle up in emotion as she belts out cuts from the album both stirs my soul and calms me. I am so renewed and refreshed when I am in that setting.
And if time starts to pass and I don't experience a live show at my usual pace, I feel off balance.
Maybe this all stems from my need to connect with the vulnerable, exciting and bold experiences shared by all of the artists on stage — keeping me connected to my own humanity. Or maybe it has something to do with my childhood and the closeness I feel to my people and the memories we have through music.
Whatever the case, live music is life. And I don't intend to go without it.
What's your favorite live music memory?
Even if it is just your favorite song, I want to hear about!
p.s. check out some of my recent live music photo stories here.
Until next time,