"Sunshine and Blue Skies" is the name of one of my favorite personal playlists that I have created on Spotify. I have several others, including but not limited to: "a road trip", "straight funky fresh", "symphonies and soundtracks", and "comforting acoustics". I used to never make playlists. Ever. I thought they were a waste of time to make and instead I always went to the publicly made playlists provided by Spotify instead. Little did I know, I was missing out on a whole different experience with music.
I wish I had started making playlists way earlier than now. Once I had decided to start curating my own music into collections for different moods, it ended up becoming an excellent source of discovery for my new developing musical tastes. I thought it would be way too much work or too time-consuming, but that wasn't the case at all. I started finding new themes in the kind of music I enjoy and found it was now much easier to find the best sounds for my different emotions. Instead spending time skipping through someone else's playlist, I could play through all of mine and enjoy
Every. Single. Song.
Personal Musical Life
Even as I create this post at my desk, I am listening to music. I don't know how I don't get distracted or confused while I'm typing. I remember days in school when I used to read books and listen to music at the same time to add soundtracks to the books. That somehow didn't bother me. All throughout my life I have been drawn to music, whether it was performing it or enjoying it. I did band for many years as a kid and my own dad did the same all throughout his life as well. The passion got passed down and it taught me that music is a unifying experience for both the performers and the listeners.
Although I don't perform anymore, I still listen to music almost constantly. Spotify told me that I had streamed approximately 60k minutes of music last year alone. As I listen over the years, I have noticed the different phases that I go through.
I recall going on an early middle school field trip where they made us bond with the other kids in our grade. We went around the circle and did the worst part of any group introduction: ice breakers. The activity leader thought it would be fun for us to name our favorite musicians at the moment. But honestly, I don't think most of us had branched out past whatever our parents listened to. Almost everyone answered the "Rascal Flatts". Even I said it and only because it was what everyone else said. I knew one of their songs and didn't know how else to answer the question. I absolutely did not want to be outed as the one who was "different" in any way. Not in middle school.
Today my answer would be radically different. With easy access to all kinds of music on the internet for free I was able to discover new things I never would've been introduced to otherwise. My favorite artist as of this moment is Still Woozy. He got recommended to me over a year or two ago and I fell in love with the way he is able to produce such full-sounding music all on his own. I would describe my favorite genre to be "Bedroom Pop" or maybe "Indie Folk". It can change on my mood but that has consistently been what I come back to. My friends send me music, which I LOVE, and I get to be shown whole new worlds of sound.
Graduating Art Thesis
Before the pandemic started, I was wrapping up my years in my undergraduate program and had to decide what my final art project would be. Honestly, I had the hardest time coming up with a topic or theme because I've never felt very comfortable being vulnerable in front of strangers or even friends. After worrying over it for a while I concluded that I needed to talk about music and the spaces that it tends to take up for me. I feel safe when I listen to it because it gives me a way to distract myself from bad thoughts or bad situations and can instantly lift my mood. The spaces that constantly play songs allowed me to experience that familiar safety I feel whenever I put my headphones on.
I was only able to complete three paintings in one semester because of everything shutting down and my own accountability going downhill. But one of my (and many others') favorite painting is the first one in the slides. The Sidetrack Coffee shop painting (yes, the one in Opelika, AL). The lighting in it is one of my favorite parts and the looseness I was able to achieve in it is admirable. As you can probably tell by what I display on my site and what I create, it tends to be all heavily representative of real-life images. I've struggled for so long to try to get myself to paint less realistically but I'm still working on it. Anyways, the three paintings take place in three different important spaces for me. A coffee shop, a record store (10,000 Hz), and finally my car. These three spaces always have music playing. I never drive without putting a good playlist on. I love visiting record stores, admiring the multitudes of music collections, and seeing if I recognize any of the artists. The album covers behind me in the record store painting are a few of the albums that I loved at that time. Coffee shops almost always have a relaxed nature to them and the music can make the space feel more inviting and like a home that you belong in.
I had other places in mind and other imagery that I could've depicted, but these were the three that I went with. If I had had more time or had allowed myself a bit more artistic freedom in how I paint, maybe I could've done more. Maybe I could do more now. But as of right now, I'm trying to branch out and play around with other mediums and subject matters. I will be listening to music regardless.
Hanging On (and Hopefully You Are Too)
Somehow, it's about to be the halfway point of 2021. I don't know why time is moving so quickly but I've been trying hard to slow myself down and focus on appreciating the little things around me more. The past year and a half has been difficult for many (that's an understatement). The normalcy won't come back in one day, it'll be slow and maybe we won't even notice it till it's fully here.
I hope you are doing well and holding on. You've got this even if you don't think you do. Curate yourself a playlist or two of some of your favorite songs. You don't have to do it all at once. Just add one song if you like it and build on that. Your future self will thank you.
Go ahead and comment below some of your favorite artists or songs. Share your love for music with the world! I'll give them all a listen. Have a great day :)