By EN Journalist Femme
I’ve been immersed in music all of my life. My mother sang over 35 years in a Southern Gospel band and was an avid Elvis fan; many of these songs and styles of music were among some of my earleist impressions. Sunday mornings were spent watching Southern Gospel music favorites such as The Florida Boys and The Dixie Echoes on The Gospel Singing Jubilee after dressing myself for church. This was followed by traditional hymns played on a piano and organ, as that was the only music known in churches at that time. A road trip meant a long drive in a hot car with my sister and me singing along to classic country artists such as Alabama, Crystal Gayle and Kenny Rogers. I was fed a diet of God-lovin’, toe-tappin’, hand-clappin’ melodies which I eagerly digested.
It wasn’t until the dawn of cable television and MTV ™ that I realized there was a whole new world of music out there for me. I was drawn to the sounds of the synthesized keyboard and electric drums. I was stunned by the lyrics and vocals. I was in love! I wasn’t one of the fortunate ones to have cable at my house in the rural part of the city, so an air antennae affixed to the outside of my house was the best we had, so any chance to spend the night with a friend in the city with cable TV was an exciting treat. From that moment on I was absorbed in pop music. I bought 45’s (yes, vinyl!) from a local five and dime retailer. I can remember playing them until although scratched and skipping while my Barbie dolls danced along. Pat Benatar hasn’t sounded as good since.
Pretty soon, a gas station down the road started selling cassettes. Their selection consisted of your Columbia House mainstream pop, country and rock varieties. I begged my mom for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Cassettes were a little more expensive, but she gave in and I explored the wonders of these pop icons for the very first time. I then tried my talents at song writing and recorded them, which I quickly erased and recorded over with tracks I lifted from KISS 95.1 (the earliest form of pirating there is!)
During my high school years, I listened to pop and R&B. I was also in chorus so I was exposed to classic and Latin pieces which rounded out my eclectic tastes in music. It was about that time that Christian music was getting a face lift. My hometown AM station hosted an hour of Christian rock and rap each week and I tuned in to that as well. I went back to my roots during college, revisiting country music but also exploring rock artists such as Aerosmith, Green Day and Journey.
I truly have had a love and appreciation for all types of music for all of my life. I have been asked time and again why I didn’t major in music while in college or why I never became an artist myself. I never thought about studying something that has been such a friend to me. I wonder if I would still have the same affection for it as I do now. Who knows? What I do know is that music has been a staple in my life for as long as I can recall. It has nourished me when I needed to be renewed, comforted me in times of heartache and rallied with me in times of victory. Aside from my very best friend, I don’t know of anything that has meant quite as much.
Until next time my friends hope you enjoyed. Femme EN Smeet Journalist