For so long as there has been life there has been music. Whether it is a melody escaping the lips of a human or a repetitive cuckoo pressing through a bird’s beak, music is all around us. So much so that we often overlook it.
Since a very young age, I have always had a special bond with music. Not in a technical sense, as I can’t sight read for the life of me, but rather in a sense of comfort and reliance. What I have playing in my headphones, or what I sing throughout my day is almost always indicative of how I am feeling or what is going on in my life.
However, over time, my openness regarding my infatuation with music is something that has definitely evolved. Before, I was able to talk I was humming the melodies to theme songs. So at that point my mom knew I was going to be a singer. Once I was able to actually form words, it was game over, according to her. And then, as I got older and got into school, I realized that it wasn’t viewed as socially acceptable for a young boy to be so in love with this art unless it was conditional, meaning my love for Britney Spears needed to be replaced by love for Smash Mouth, otherwise it would be “Gay”.
At this point, I became very reserved and would only sing when I was behind closed doors, and I hid my talent away from people who were closest to me. This lasted for a good 8 years, until I got to high school and joined the choir. Even then I was still timid and sang at inaudible volumes, but I was close to the music and that was enough for me.
After three years in high school, I remember walking to class one day humming “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from the musical Funny Girl when a group of guys walked by me, and one of them screamed, “F*ggot!” Initially, my blood was boiling, because how dare he? But then I kind of laughed a little and shrugged it off because I realized, this dude knows Funny Girl.
But that particular moment sparked a fire in me that has yet to die. Instead of walking into my class, I passed the door and went straight to the choir room. And I demanded that my choir teacher hear me sing so that she could recommend me for a county-wide choir that I had so desperately wanted to be a part of. After singing for her, she stared at me for a solid five minutes, I suppose trying to take in the situation, and, finally, she just smiled and handed me a packet of practice materials with music.
I went home and learned every piece of music in the packet backward and forward, and in the dead middle of summer I found myself under the instruction of the most talented teachers in the city of Mobile, and under the coaching of a Broadway choreographer. It was this program that shaped me into the person that I am today, and I have music to thank for that.
“The moment you let music reclaim it’s thrown in the center of your universe, all will be well.”