A Funny Thing About Music: Finding My Voice

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There’s something funny about music.

It’s a new year and I’m sitting in an airport in Burbank thinking hard on this subject. I work for a company that utilizes music as a major marketing tool, something we like to call “emotional branding,” and the first time someone said that the word “cheesy” immediately crossed my mind.  Because… I mean, really? But the more I took that home and thought about it the more I realize how incredibly true that was. Songs inspire memories for me, and those memories inspire emotions, and those emotions can be so good or so, so bad. Either way, music is a force to be reckoned with.

About a year ago I moved back to the smoggy city that is Los Angeles, not all that excited about it, but moved nonetheless. At the time it felt like all I was going to do here was suffocate and possibly die of some sort of pollution poisoning and over exposure to salt water (my mother lives ridiculously close to the water). But you know what happen over the course of this year? You know what really happen? I found my voice again.

You know, growing up people always made music seem like a really bad thing to be involved in. Like, if it’s your passion you should probably find a new one because “shit ain’t gonna happen for ya.” Well, that’s not really true. Music isn’t a dying industry, and neither is the recording industry a booming one. After my tail-between-my-legs departure from Nashville some years ago, I all but abandoned the idea of music. I worked for a small music related company in Los Angeles, but I couldn’t find my center with it again. Sure, I listened to my favorite records, I watched some award shows sometimes, and once in a while I’d go on billboard.com to see what was trending; but truth be told, I was spent. I jetted off to New York and worked with an advertising company for almost two years before I decided maybe I’d try and be musical again and apply to Berklee in Boston.

Then I moved there.

Two things happen in Boston. I met an insane group of people that I absolutely adored that worked for the rock music station out there. We went to shows, we had a blast and Boston stole a piece of my heart and will always have it. And two, financial aid wasn’t enough to let me continue my education so my whole plan of diving back into music seemed to be damned by the Gods. A deep lover of history, and furthermore the East Coast, I wanted to make it work but I couldn’t. Hence my move back to Los Angeles.

Where somehow I thought I’d try my hand in PR and took two internships (TWO, you guys. TWO too many). One at a lifestyle PR firm and one at a boutique music focused PR company called MT Press. It was at the later that I was consistently discovering new Los Angeles based bands, writing pieces on music I genuinely liked, and going to shows. In the discovery of new music and the deep introspective analysis I was doing of each song, I seemed to find my voice again, my musical voice. It was one I had lost in the pop culture idioms of the world and the constant traveling and worry about whether what I loved to do was what I should really be doing. With encouragement from my boss and my mother (always my biggest fan from birth), I started dabbling in my own songwriting, recording and general explorations into my musical gift that I’d long put on the back burner. Stage fright and constant fears of not being “good enough” have plagued me for… well, ever.

But, I started to stop caring. I don’t care if music isn’t a viable job because I’m not trying to make it my job. It’s something I love, and taking the competition and serious struggle out of it and letting it be a flourishing gift that I give in to and allow to breathe, made it a whole new beast for me. Now, I’m an office manager at PlayNetwork, a music branding company that analyzes music the way I do in my own head. No, I’m not trying to be some big fat superstar, jetting from one city to the next, but those days when I put pen to paper for songwriting or to help another phenomenal artists gain exposure are some of my BEST days. Music is ever present in all of our lives, it’s not something that can be discredited and under-utilized, it just IS. It’s all around us, all the time, infiltrating our memories and connecting us emotionally to one another in an entirely unique way. Nothing does what music does.

I’m glad to have found my voice. All snarky and sometimes too emotional and incredibly sensitive, but all me. I’ve been told I should blog, and to that I always respond, “I’ve tried that, I’m really bad at it.” But you know what, here’s to round two of Jukebox Mixtape.

I hope you enjoy it. But if you don’t, that’s cool because I mostly like to hear the sound of my own voice.

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