The biggest thing that defines me is music. It is something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I feel that it will be a huge part of my life until the day I am no longer on this earth.
I can remember when I was young, my parents making me mix tapes which I played until they wore out. Among my personalized tapes, I had various tapes of my own, and as I grew up, so did my collection. I had them on in the background as I built castles out of Lego blocks and dressed up all my Barbies. They were present on long car rides, and were a staple to my bed time routine. It was a rare night when I wasn’t falling asleep to my favorite songs playing quietly.
I had an eclectic taste, even before I knew how to turn the dial on the radio. My favorite tapes include my Disney silly songs, the Beach Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus. My parents are big fans of country music, and so I was brought up listening to the likes of Ian Tyson, Garth Brooks and George Straight. While country is not one of my favorite genres to date, I still do feel a sense of nostalgia hearing a song I remember from childhood. That’s one of my favorite things about music, the memories certain songs trigger when you hear them.
It was in junior high when I began learning about new artists out there and my tastes in music expanded. I was slowly moving away from the country music as I discovered pop and rock music. This was the time when the boy bands and pop groups were huge. I loved the Spice Girls and Christina Aguilera. Britney Spears was never a favorite, but I still listened. My love for the boy bands alternated weekly between the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, I couldn’t decide who I liked better. I also grew a fan of groups like Green Day and Matchbox 20 and fell deeply in love with Our Lady Peace’s ‘Clumsy’ album. Much Music became my new favorite channel, and I couldn’t wait to turn it on when I was visiting at Grandma’s house. I remember seeing ‘I’m Just a Girl’ by No Doubt for the time on Much Music and wanting to be just like Gwen Stefani, with her hot pink knotted hair and pink braces. Marilyn Manson was very intriguing to me, although his music was nothing my parents would ever allow me to listen to. Instead mom pushed more conservative music on me, which I occasionally gave into, and fueled my obsession for the Hanson brothers. Everyone knew in 7th grade that I was obsessed and I’m still not ashamed to admit I loved them. Believe it or not, they had some great songs besides the well known hit ‘Mmm Bop’. And for those of you who don’t know, they are actually still around making music today!
The first concert I ever attended was Britney Spears. I do admit it was very exciting to go to my first stadium show, although I was never the biggest Britney fan. The opening bands have long since been forgotten but I still remember making the trek to my seats and waiting anxiously for the show to start. The sound all the screaming fans energized me as the lights dimmed and the music began. To this day I still get the same exhilaration at a concert, no matter how big or how small. I find no bigger thrill than a room full of people eager to see their favorite performer. That is complete happiness.
Entering my high school days my tastes continue to shift and expand, constantly making room for new favorites. I was into bands that were nowhere near mainstream, and most people outside of my circle of friends had never heard of before. I began attending concerts on a regular basis, averaging nearly one a month. My wardrobe was beginning to be taken over by tshirts collected at the various concerts I’ve attended. I began noticing a trend after every show, still high on adrenaline, always exclaiming that it was the best show I’ve ever seen. To this day I still have a hard time deciding what the best show I’ve ever seen was, because to me they are all amazing. In my final year of high school I was required to complete the work experience program. Since I was interested in pursuing a career in writing, I decided to go to the local newspaper to see if they had any odd jobs I could do and observe how it works behind the scenes. Instead, I was offered a chance to be a reporter. While I had a few assigned pieces here and there, I usually had free range of my articles and based many of them on my main interest, music. Upon graduation, I moved to the city to attend college and I continued writing about music in the college paper. I began reviewing local artist’s albums, and writing about concerts and my crazy adventures along the way. I took my reviews even farther by writing for an online publication, and I was soon having press packs sent to my home address to be reviewed. After a year of listening to an overwhelmingly large range of bands and singers trying to get their sound out there, I lost interest in doing album reviews and put my writing on hold.
But that didn’t mean the rest of my music inspired habits died down. I was still spending all my extra cash on new CD’s, continually expanding my collection to its current level of well over 200 CD’s. I’ve even become addicted to I-tunes over the past year, catching up on the latest singles and sampling new albums before I decide to buy. I don’t even want to know how much I’m spending on I-tunes monthly on top of the CD’s I buy. I never have a moment in a day where there isn’t music playing somewhere, between the radio at work, two I-Pod’s, my truck stereo, home stereo, or computer. I even went so far as to get a tattoo of a treble clef on the back of my neck to show my commitment to my love of music. My closet began overflowing with concert tshirts and I was still attending as many concerts as I could afford. I’ve tried to list all the bands I’ve seen in the past few years, and I’m pretty sure the list has exceeded 100 different bands, some of which I’ve seen multiple times. Many of my friends can’t believe how many concerts I have been to, and instead of asking ‘What’s new?’, they ask what concerts I’ve seen recently, and what concerts I have coming up. My bulletin board at home is overflowing with ticket stubs I’ve kept as mementos, waiting to be put into my concert scrapbook, which is now full. I made the mistake of adding up the total I’ve spent on all of the concerts on that bulletin board and nearly choked on the number on the calculator. With the money I’ve spent over the past year I could have easily gone on vacation somewhere, put a down payment on a new vehicle, bought an entirely new wardrobe, and much more. While those things would have been really nice to have, I don’t think I could have had as many fun adventures, met as many amazing people, seen as many talented people, or made as many truly unforgettable memories. Music is truly, my first love.