When I was six, my mama would always have music playing in the car. It was either The Beatles, Enya, David Bowie, Paul Simon, David Grey, or Neil Young. I grew up listening to these artists, and they became a part of my life. I would always have a song by one of these artists stuck in my head throughout the school day. I would get into the car after school and beg for music to play. My mama said that I would usually ask for David Bowie. I do not remember asking for Bowie, but I definitely had different taste in music from the typical Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus fans that were my peers. I noticed the music that my mama played gave me comfort and a sense of peace. I loved when Enya played in my head. The sweet, harmonious sound flowed through me as I contentedly did my morning work at school. I seemed to easily attach to music. It made me understand myself better and connect with the world since I was still learning to read and write.
I am from Kazakhstan where I lived in an orphanage until I was six years old. These years are when babies and children are constantly by their mother’s side. I did not have a mother that constantly comforted me when I got scared or hurt. I had to face life all on my own. I guess the music that my mama played impacted my soul and spirit much more in a deeper meaningful way since I did not have a mother at a young age to comfort me. The music sent out a message that I was not alone in this world and that I could relax and enjoy life as it is. My mom had a shirt that she wore and on the back was the Bob Marley quote, “My home is in my head”. As I go back and think about the quote, it makes sense to me. Music is like a home that enters your head. A home is where you find yourself at the end of the day. Music is like my mobile home. I can take it anywhere, at anytime.
Music kept growing with me. When I was in third grade, Santa gave me my first nano iPod. It had all of the artists that I have mentioned and many more. Most of the music was from the 50’s through to the 90’s. The iPod became my new baby. My new phase of music did not come until fifth grade. I was in the middle of math class when the intercom announced my name and told me to come to the front desk. I was dismissed by my teacher and walked out to see what the message was. It was my mama calling to tell me I was riding home with my cousin Alex, who was in my homeroom. I went back and told Alex that I was riding home with him. He looked at me and hesitated. After a while he said slowly …”So you’re going to the U2 concert with us?” I screamed with excitement inside my head. I could not believe what was happening. I was a fan and knew a fair amount of their songs, but I had no idea how the concert I would be attending would impact my life.
The concert was a magical experience. We were very close to the stage where Bono and Edge would come up right in front of us. I could literally feel the soul of Bono reaching out to mine. I felt his spirit lifting up my spirit. This is when I began to believe that music can send messages and comfort to me. The messages changed the way I felt and gave me strength. Ever since that experience, I am still listening to U2 and keeping up with the band. I became obsessed with U2 and had a poster of the band, a jacket, and a book. I always kept a small cut out picture of Bono in my pencil pouch so everytime I opened it, it reminded me of strength, peace, patience, and the ability to achieve anything I wanted to in life. U2 naturally connected with me. My heart reached out to their music. I was lucky enough to go to another U2 concert in Miami one summer. The concert felt like it lasted an eternity. My heart grew with U2. I learned new things from listening to their songs. Most of their songs have to do with historical people, religion, global happenings, historical events, and personal experience. Music heals my soul, especially when I hear Bono sing out with emotional passion. Bono is an activist as well as a singer. He stands up for poverty and AIDS in Africa. Bono’s mother died when he was 14, but he does not let that one incident get in the way of following his heart.
Music has changed my life in different ways. When I am stressed or confused, I put on my headphones as an escape from a problem or trouble I may be having. I thank my mama for introducing me to the land of music. I honestly do not know what I would do without music. It is a healer, companion, encourager, and last but not least, a part of my life that will always stay with me.