Music can change my mood in an instant. It can solve all my problems, lift my spirits, slow (and sometimes make) a racing heart and just help me take a second and breathe. Sometimes, when I listen to music, I close my eyes and I am taken to a different world; a world with no worries and a real sense of belonging (cheesy but so true). Over the last couple of weeks, I have been my happiest and music has played a huge part in that, so I thought I’d tell you how music makes me feel.
I love every aspect of a song; from the beat, to the way it builds and to the instrument used but what I love most of all are the lyrics. I think I get the love for lyrics from my dad. He sits in the kitchen, for hours on end, listening to his favourite songs on full blast with the lyrics in his hand. He loves to find out all about why the song was written and what the artist was going through or thinking about at the time of writing. Although I love knowing that too, I think lyrics are also about what they mean to me, at the time of listening! I think that’s a really important part of my relationship with music, we have to fit together. I love my dad and especially for the love of lyrics he has instilled in me!
My earliest memories of music are the car trips to visit my grandparent’s house, in London. My dad would be driving with my mum in the front seat and, in the back, me! Stuck right in the middle of my two big brothers (there is a whole new blog that could be written here but I’ll stick to my point). Chris Rea would be playing loudly and we’d all sing along, ‘God’s great banana skin’. I remember it made me really happy. I should probably add here that, at this point in my life, lyrics weren’t all that, and all I cared about was that we were singing about a banana and how someone could slip on it. Isn’t it funny that although a song can hold amazing memories, the lyrics and their meaning can change, as we change?
Another early memory is of Sunday afternoons. I would be playing with my Barbies in my bedroom and I’d hear my mum, singing at the top of her voice (and I love her voice) to her music as she cleaned the house. As I grew older, I joined in. Mum and I would often sing together in the kitchen. One particular song I remember doing a duet to was James Taylor’s ‘You’ve got a Friend’. Sounds corny to say it, but thinking back, those lyrics couldn’t have been more meaningful as I truly do have a friend, a best friend, in my mum. Now, she sings in (and is President of) a beautiful choir called The Corran Singers. When I go to watch (and listen), I honestly feel tremendous pride; she has a beautiful voice.
One of our many beautiful walks.
Anyway my point is, the love of music, it’s in my blood. My granddad could play piano, amazingly. In fact even at a very late stage in his Alzheimer’s, it was one thing that his memory held onto. He was still tapping to Jazz even when his playing stopped; I love Jazz for this.
Thank you Jazz.
My Uncle obviously inherited this talent as he has released his own Classical album, impressive! It doesn’t even stop there as my mum, dad and my two brothers all love it too! Dad often plays his rendition of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, another one I love to sing to. Tom (my eldest brother) used to blast the Cranberries out of his room which has made me love ‘Zombies’ to this day. He is the only ‘real’ person I follow on Spotify and he has introduced me to some amazing music; Damien Rice, Gregory Porter, Fink, Alice Russell and Belleruche, all very talented and definitely worth a listen if you haven’t already. My other brother, Jack, well he is a musician himself. I am biased, but I know everyone will agree that he is absolutely incredible on the guitar. I love, love, love listening to him play and I love singing with him. He used to spend a lot of time with the girls and me when we were in Uni and my favourite time was when he got out his guitar and we ‘jammed’. He has also introduced me to some amazing music; Foy Vance, Nick Mulvey and good old Ben Howard.
My amazing family.
The point of all this is, I love music. Not only do I love listening, sharing and dancing to it, I love to write, play and sing too (something I don’t share with many people and now I’m aware I’ve told quite a few people, if I get any readers. People often ask me ‘can you sing?’ and I always reply with ‘I love to’ as I don’t really think it’s my place to judge whether I can or not, I just know how much I love to. Writing lyrics is hard and I often find I have writers block, but I do, I love it. I also love playing the guitar. I only know a few chords and can’t seem to stretch my fingers enough to be good at many of them, but, a few chords are all you need. I haven’t written a song in ages and just telling you about it makes me want to pick up my guitar and sing (if only I hadn’t broken a string!!)
I have my default music, the music I always turn to; Ben Howard, Jack Johnson, Damien Rice, Foy Vance, Ed Sheeran and now Nick Mulvey! They all chill me out, pick me up and help me through my endless marking. They are all a huge part of my life.
Ben Howard is the soundtrack to my 2013. If you haven’t listened to his album ‘I Forget Where We Were’ yet, please, please do. If you have, and have the opinion ‘it’s not the same as his other stuff’ like I did, please give it a chance, especially if the sun is shining and you’re walking; it’s ideal. Jack encouraged me to keep listening and I’m so glad I did. His voice is unreal. I was lucky enough to see him live in Boardmasters 2013 (my favourite festival – it’s the only one I’ve been too but that’s beside the point). Oh my goodness! He was incredible, the crowd were in awe. It was him, on stage, with his guitar and oh my! Epic.
Now, another man that makes the soundtrack to my life is Mr Foy Vance. He is a truly incredible artist and humble, humble man. Watching him live, is one of my favourite things to do, he is insane (in the very good sense of the word). If you have never been to see him before, go! If you have never listened before, you don’t know what you’re missing. I’m not too sure what I’d do without his music, it really has helped me through the toughest of times. His album ‘Joy of Nothing’ gave me courage and support when my granddad died. He lifted me when I needed it the most. Now, if you’re not a music lover, you probably either stopped reading a long time ago so it doesn’t matter what you think, or you’re still plodding through and think I’m crazy and on the verge of losing it. However, if you are a music lover, you will know exactly what I mean. Music has the means to mend you (along with your family and friends, OBVIOUSLY) and I really do believe that. My absolute faves on this album are ‘Joy of Nothing’, ‘Janey’ and ‘Guiding Light’. Have you ever sung to a song through rivers of tears and then thought about it later and laughed at yourself? If no, I’m very embarrassed. If you have, ‘Guiding Light’ was that song for me. Go and see him live is all I can say, you will have never seen anything like it, he is out of this world. On the track ‘Guiding Light’, you will hear a very familiar voice, one that never fails to send shivers up my spine, Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran even made an appearance in the latest Foy Vance gig I went to, with Jack.
I’m going to move onto Ed as his music just seems to fit. I love everything about it. I absolutely LOVE singing to it, and I feel like Mariah Carey when I do! I LOVE his lyrics, anyone can relate to them and I know they touch a lot of people. His ‘X’ album is another that reminds me of my amazing granddad, especially the track ‘Afire Love’. This album reminds me of my fondest memories and makes me excited about the memories I will make. For Ed, I won’t tell you what songs I love, instead I think I’ll tell you the lyrics; ‘will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?’, ‘kiss me under the light of a thousand stars’ (a popular line I believe), ‘you’ve got that kind of look in your eyes; as if no one knows anything but us’ and of course, ‘so inside you rage against the dying of the light’. I love that he quotes Dylan Thomas here, it makes me feel even closer to the song. Every time this part comes on in the car, I say ‘Dan, Dan, listen!” Sometimes, I stop him, mid conversation, poor Dan!
I am nearly finished, I promise! Although, I do feel I could type all day about this. I nearly told you what each lyric means to me, so count yourselves lucky!
I’m going to end this blog with a newbie in my life, the soundtrack to mine and Dan’s Easter. The album we are currently ruining by putting on repeat very loudly, everywhere we go and every chance we get; Nick Mulvey, ‘First Mind’. Wow! In Laugharne (where else?) over Easter, Jack played his music to me. I was mesmerised. One sunny day, Dan and I were on our way to the beach and we put his album on Spotify (one of my favourite apps) and we didn’t speak. We didn’t need to; we had the sun, the windows were down and we had Nick Mulvey speaking for us. I absolutely love ‘Cucurucu’ and ‘Meet Me There’. They are my favourites at the moment!
Now I realise that unlike my last blog, there’s nothing for you to actually help me with here (thanks for that on the last one by the way, lush support) or maybe even nothing that you can relate to. However, I set this blog up as a journey to my happiness and while I do have little dilemmas in my very lucky life, I also have things that help me on my way. So, I thought I’d share those with you too. Please feel free to share your music loves with me, I love finding new music and hearing others talk about it too!
I hope I have inspired you to listen to something you love.