Life · Prose

Life Cycle in Music

Music has helped me through some really trying times.  I don’t want to get into much of those “trying times” in this post because I am working on a book.  I can’t give everything away!  I will say that if it weren’t for music sometimes I don’t think I would have the energy to get out of bed to face another day.

I have so many artists that I love that have helped shape my thoughts about life, love, and disappointment.  Some of my favorites are probably those you know and some of them you may have never heard of before.  I love discovering new acts and introducing them to people.  There is SO much more out there beyond the Top 40 songs.  Honestly,  before all the Prince tributes on the FM dial last week – I couldn’t recall the last time I listened to the radio. When I am in my car I listen to my personal music collection from CDs (yes, I still have a CD player in my car) and from my IPOD.

The types of music I listen to vary.  I grew up listening to almost every genre.  I would say at this point in my life my favorite genres are jazz, gospel and R&B.  Real soul music and not the Pop stuff.  The funny part is that Pop isn’t really a genre into itself. “Pop” is any song that becomes “Pop(ular)” over time.  These are usually songs that the younger generation like and buy – those under 25.  Therefore, an artist may not necessarily start out “Pop(ular), but eventually gain so many fans that they get this new title.  These are the acts that people claim to eventually become “sellouts”.  Well, that is an odd place to be in considering becoming “Pop(ular)” usually means success and lots of money.  In most industries especially the music industry wouldn’t that be the point?

I wouldn’t say that musical artists or anyone should sell out their integrity or anything.  Yet, people do change and shouldn’t they be allowed to change.  Is it really “selling out” when you decide to switch up your style at 27 compared to what you were doing at 18?  I don’t believe anyone in any other industry would think that.  It would be simply said that you were growing up or maturing.

This is my maturing stage and I continue to run  back to jazz, gospel, and R&B during the difficult days.  Jazz music,  gospel, and R&B for me are all soul music.  Music for the soul and healing.  We all crave something that helps us “heal”.

These are a few of my favorite songs that help me see myself differently when I don’t feel so great (in no particular order).

  1. Goapele “Closer”
  2. Alana Davis “32 Flavors” (cover version).  Original Songwriter and performer: Ani DiFranco, “Turtle”, and “Weight of the World”….I could go on and on
  3. Richard Smallwood “Total Praise”, “Center of My Joy”
  4. God’s Property with Kirk Franklin “The Storm is Over Now”
  5. Mary Mary “Get Up”, “God in Me”…I could go on and on
  6. Michael Jackson “Human Nature”
  7. Miles Davis “Summertime”, “So What”, “Flamenco Sketches”
  8. Stan Getz & Luis Bonfa – “Suadade Vem Correndo”
  9. Esperanza Spalding – “Ponta De Areia” (cover version). Original Songwriters: Fernando Brant & Milton Silva Campos Nascimento
  10. Jill Scott “Golden”
  11. India Arie “Video”, “I Am Not My Hair”, “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom”…I could go on and on…
  12. Gretchen Parlato “Holding Back the Years” (cover version).  Original Songwriters: Mick Hucknall & Neil Moss.  Original performer: Simply Red.

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