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Music for My Soul

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Music For My Soul
Kaplan University

300-02 – Art and Humanities: Twentieth Century and Beyond

Music For My Soul Being from a family of many musicians and singers, music is a huge part of my life. It’s much more than a melody in my ear. It’s the movement of my body, ease of my mind, and thoughts I can only express through sweet, therapeutic sounds. Music is that “feeling” I get when I hear it. Through my childhood to adulthood, it still lives in me. Various genres of music have played important roles in my life. Rhythm & Blues (R&B), Rap/Hip Hop, Neo Soul, and Gospel have all conveyed emotions within me. Journey with me as I take a look back over my life and reminisce on how important music has been for my soul. As a child, I remember sitting in my room with my radio blasted! I would sing and dance until I became completely exhausted. I was very familiar with Rap/Hip Hop, R&B, and Gospel music. These three genres of music captivated me in three different ways. The rhythm of Rap music made me dance until I would sweat. Can’t Touch This by M.C. Hammer was my all time favorite. M.C. Hammer started the song with “my, my, my, my music hits me so hard, makes me wanna say “Oh my Lord, thank you for blessing me with a mind to rhyme and two hyped feet” (Hammer, 1990, track 2). Those were the only words to the verse I knew for a long time. I must admit that words to Rap songs didn’t mean very much to me back then. I loved to dance so the beat was all I needed to put a smile on my face and dance as hard as my body would allow me too. The sweet melody of R&B music brought out a talent in me I didn’t know existed… singing. I would sing everyday after school for hours. R&B music helped me to free my mind and, actually, taught me “how to” sing. While swaying back and forth, head tilted to the side, and eyes tightly shut, I would listen to a beautiful tone and melody that sent me into a daze. One song in particular made forget about the world around me, Vision of Love by Mariah Carey. This is one of the first songs I learned the words too. The tone of Mariah’s voice was so raspy, powerful, and mind-blowing. The music played was simple, yet memorable. As the song would play and Mariah began to sing, “Treated me kind, sweet destiny” (Lawrence, 1990, track 15) I fell into my own world and nothing else mattered. This is one of the first songs I learned the words to and I realized that songs have meaning. This song was released around a time I began to experience love. I began to reminisce over what I thought was the love of my life. I laugh about it now but it felt so good back then. R&B music became an expression of love and an escape of reality for me. Gospel music made me feel like no other genre could begin too. Through this music, I learned experienced the love of God. I remember my first solo, I Feel Like Praising Him by Shirley Caesar. This was the first time I sang publicly. I was nervous but once I closed my eyes, I forgot about an audience and sang my heart out. The music was upbeat and allowed me to do the two things I love… sing and dance. I sang and rocked back and forth to rhythm of the beat. This song meant a lot to me because through it I realized the power of God. For the first time, I understood why older people would have such joy in church. As an adolescent, I still listened to R&B, Rap/Hip Hop, and Gospel music, but the music became even more meaningful in my life. I began to listen to Rap/Hip Hop and understand the message behind it. Brenda’s Got A Baby by 2 Pac. This is first song I learned to words too. The rhythm of the music was not as upbeat, and the words were clear and easy to understand. The verse started as, “Brenda’s got a baby, but Brenda’s barely got a brain” (Evans, 1997, track B2). It described a 15 years old girl having a baby, living in a bad neighborhood, and no education. It went ahead and explained how it affects the community and our society. I learned a huge lesson about teen pregnancy from the song. The more I listened to it, the more educated I became of this topic. I remember feeling bad for the young teen because she had no guidance from anyone. The music playing was mellow and allowed me to visualize myself in her shoes. I also listened to Rap music that allowed me to release any type of ill feelings I had towards someone. The beat would be hard and it allowed me to release anger and express my inner feelings that may never been able to express. R&B became much important to me because I related to this genre of much more. The messages in songs became my emotions conveyed through melody. I helped me deal with love and heartbreaks. This music helped me overcome fear and, at times, allowed me to drown in my own misery. Understanding by Xscape became one of favorite songs. The music touched me and allowed me to release emotions I would be feeling at that time. I listened to this song whether happy or sad because it freed my mind. Gospel music became much more important to me. I must say that this genre helped keep me from getting in trouble. It, actually, became a hobby for me because I would listen to the music and sing it so much. Fully Committed by Kingdom became huge part of my life. This music touched me is no other so has ever touched. I learned this song, sang it for many, and touched many lives though song. “My loves forever, Jesus you’re all that I need and I could never repay you for what you did just for me” (Kingdom, 1987, track 2) were words that helped change my life for the better. Every time the music played a feeling of peace came over my body and it stills happens today. I cry and I’m so grateful. As an adult, I am still very much into the other genres of music discussed earlier, but Neo Soul has become a huge part of my life. I listen to it more than I listen to any other genre of music most days. I find Neo Soul to be comforting, soothing, and calming. When I listen to the smooth melody of the music, I instantly fall into a stress free zone. The music takes me to a level of comfort that would fall right under Gospel music. Neo Soul is the type of music I love to write. I always write about events in my life so neo soul is how I release my emotions. Gospel music still comforts me and makes me happy even when I’m sad. It helps me to accept things I can’t change and love myself more. Both Neo Soul and Gospel have helped me deal with the loss of my husband as well as other losses in my life. Music is that “feeling” I get every time I hear it. It’s my joy, pain, love, and life. R&B, Rap/Hip Hop, Gospel, and Neo Soul are so important to me. Each genre has affected my life in so many different ways. I appreciate each one of them for the support each has given me throughout my lifetime. Music has always been food for my soul, and it feels me up every time I hear it. Music will always live within me!

References
Hammer, M.C. (1990). U Can’t Touch This [M.C. Hammer]. On Please Hammer Don’t Hurt’ Em (cassette). France: Capital Records.
Lawrence, Rhett. (1999). Vision of Love [M. Carey]. On Mariah Carey #1’s (CD). Tiawan: Columbia Records.
Evans, Deon. (1997). Brenda’s Got A Baby [2 Pac]. On Do It For Love (Vinyl). UK: Interscope Records.
Kingdom. (1987). Fully Committed [Kingdom]. On Amazing (Vinyl). U.S: Light Records.…...

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