Music gave me the courage to go after my dream…
Two years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a summer high school musical institute. Attending the institute was my first opportunity to experience collegiate-level studies in music and explore my options in music as a career. Unfortunately, when I returned home to Dallas, my newfound excitement was challenged; when I told my grandparents that I wanted to pursue a career in music, they were less than thrilled.
In my grandparents culture, careers in music are not the most respected. My grandparents would rather see me as a lawyer or doctor; someone of “importance”. In addition, I attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, which obviously did not go over well with them. In fact, this upset my grandparents so much that they threatened to withdraw me and enroll me in a comprehensive high school. I could not let this happen.
On the first day of my junior year, a day when everyone is excited to see their friends after a long summer, I dealt with my grandparents taking me out of Booker T. Washington. From that moment on, I knew that day was going to change the rest of my life. I did the impossible and left home, becoming homeless to pursue my future in music. Fortunately, I knew many families who would help me overcome my obstacles. During a period of four months, from couch to couch, I lived in four different homes, all while getting through my academically challenging junior year of high school.
Hardships occur in each of our lives, and I fully realized that no one’s life is perfect. I did not let the difficulties in my life get me down; I knew that nobody would believe in me unless I believed in myself. Even though I was not living with my grandparents, I wanted to make them proud of me and be the first person in my family to graduate from high school and to attend college. As the months passed, I kept asking myself: Why are you doing this? Is this all worth it?
I answered my own questions during my first opera show with my high schools Opera Workshop class performances. I sang “Vecchia zimarra, senti from La Boheme, the coat aria – it was the first time I had ever been able to throw myself fully into a character while singing. When I dropped my coat at the end of my aria, I had a sudden epiphany – the coat symbolized my home. I gave up my home, my family, and my security to pursue my career in opera, just like Colline gave up his prized possession to buy Mimi medicine. I felt magic tingling throughout my mind and body, making me dizzy with happiness. I knew then I had made the right decision.
Ever since then, I have never stopped listening to and performing music. No matter what I’m going through, I can always rely on music to remind me of the true beauty in life. Music has always been able to comfort and calm me in times of trouble; I would consider music to be more than passion its more like a never-failing friend.
Music can change the world, I can change the world…
Passion is a strong word that can take on different forms. Whether the form is love or hate or joy or sorrow, it is a driving force inside the human soul that brings about everything, from art to war. It is a result of great passion. However, passion does not always have to be a huge war to change to world. It has been said, “If you change yourself, you change the world.” The passion inside drives these changes, and my goal is to change the world with my passion: music.
People allow their emotions to be affected by the music they listen to and this vulnerability places a great deal of responsibility on the musicians. Songs can alter people’s perspectives on different subjects. There have been stories of people on the verge of emotional and mental collapse who claim that a song literally saved their life. One night after one of my shows, a girl around 16 years old came up to me. She expressed that my song, “Crash”, had given her hope. The line, “to crash is the only release,” spoke to her and told her that sometimes it is necessary to hit rock bottom to be able to rise again. Music is powerful. Musicians have been given the gift of this responsibility. Songs can change the world. I can change the world.
Music is my passion. I cannot escape it. It is a part of who I am. It has strengthened my understanding of people and their emotions. I have come to realize that music is my calling in life and it must be nurtured correctly to be able to grow and change the world.
Melodies draw people in; the lyrics keep them listening. It is my responsibility to use my gift to change the world one audience at a time. Whatever the feeling, I will use my music to guide, relax, entertain, evoke emotion, give peace, cause reflection, give hope bring a smile, and perhaps, lift a burden.