"Music is the strongest form of magic." - Marilyn Manson
I can say with 100% confidence that music has saved my life.
I've always been drawn to it since an early age; a combination of Motown, country and rock filled our house at all times. It was in the groove of The Four Tops or the energy of Aerosmith that I found a happiness early on. Elementary school days were soundtracked by Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Prince and Huey Lewis. My stereo always had a blank tape in it and it was always set to record, play, pause to capture that amazing song on Casey's Top 40 every weekend as I knocked down my Transformers to sprint and record my new jam.
As I got older and my taste in music grew, the fury of bands like Metallica and Anthrax and the angst of N.W.A. and Public Enemy shaped my middle school years as I struggled with depression, bullying and insecurity. The strength of those groups became my safety net, keeping me from hitting the ground in the lowest parts of my days.
As the years have gone on, dance music, alternative, funk, pop, jazz, acoustic, and electronic genres have made their way into my iTunes, my ears, my mind and my heart. If you were to look at my iTunes and no nothing about me, you'd honestly think that I had multiple personality disorder and a hoarding problem. Truth is, there aren't many genres at all that I don't have at least 3 songs, although I have to say that the majority of new hip hop just isn't good with the exception of Jay-Z and Tech N9ne; sorry, I'm just old school with my hip hop.
I don't think I have ever met anyone that hasn't been impacted by music or doesn't care for music, but I see myself in a different group that considers it a lifeline. To me, it's a pulse outside of my heart, a description of my life that not even I could've put into those words, a drumbeat that moves my body involuntarily and, yes, vocals and ranges that send me into performance mode when they come on (side note: I'm that guy that enjoys karaoke and wants you to as well.)
Music is what also has me sitting here typing to you right now.
Through the years as I've battled tragedies, self doubt and depression, there are songs that literally brought me out of the dark and made me realize that I had a purpose on this Earth and that I couldn't go anywhere without finishing that purpose. I'll be sharing that playlist with you soon and I'll likely create a post that gives some backstory on each so get your Kleenex ready.
The one constant in my life is that I've always had my go-to songs, albums and artists. No matter what mood I'm currently in or aspire to be in within minutes, I know what song to put on. My friends know that I have an obscene collection of music (my iTunes currently sits at 50,000+ songs) One of my all time favorite past times is creating playlists on a challenge from a friend looking for some new stuff or a fun blend of a theme.
"Can you get me an 80's female mix about love?"
"How about a great 90's hip hop going out mix?"
"I need a workout mix that is heavy metal and electronic heavy with a surprise Air Supply track or two mixed in." (ok so I made this one up)
The go-to playlist, to me, is a critical one. My days, weeks and life have been lifted and kept alive by music. My advice to anyone is to create their own go-to's. The mandatory one is a playlist of songs that puts you in a good mood. It's so easy to let the noise and garbage of a day affect you negatively and sour your outlook but when the right song comes on, it goes away.
You're probably grinning now as you think of yours, you hear the song fade in and you might even be humming or softly singing the words. Good! That proves my point! You already have your starting point.
Even if you're one of the many people that says things like "That one song, with the girl, and she sings about the thing with the friends and it goes (insert sound effects that emulate the noises and beats of the song here)" you too can create this mood savior. I literally put on a concert/dance party at least once a day in my car. I have been busted by other drivers more times that I care to count, but it's ok, I'd rather be an example of bliss in someone's day than just another forgettable pulse on feet.
Now, here's your challenge: not only do I dare you to create this list, but I also dare you to load it on your phone, in your car or wherever you frequently listen to music. Then, for at least one song a day, sing or dance your heart out. Sure, the cliche' says to dance like no one's watching, but I don't want you to care if someone actually IS watching......DANCE! SING! LET IT OUT!
Not only does it disrupt the path to negativity or sorrow that you may be feeling, but the endorphins that you release will become infectious to your day. Similar to exercise, consider this your 3-5 minute positivity push.
Keep those songs and playlists handy. Use them as your parachute or as your celebration throughout your week (side note: we don't celebrate for no reason enough; let's fix that)
I'll be building some of my personal playlists for various moods and I encourage you to follow my Spotify channel by searching Enrichyoursoul or click the Spotify link at the bottom of any page on my site.
I also want to hear your #positivepush song. Comment below, tag me in a screenshot/picture of the song on Instagram (@enrichyoursoultoday) or email me your list (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll include your tracks with some of my playlists.
Now, take that humming or soft singing, start over and let it out. The smile that hits your face when you do is all you need to send your day in the right direction.