On Twitter tonight, one of the trending hashtags was #TheseLyricsChangedMyLife. Being the music fiend that I am, I had to jump into that conversation.
As the night went on, I started thinking about life and how music plays such a vital role in my survival. Music has always been my safe place, and I need it almost as much as I need food and water.
Throughout my life, many music artists have touched or inspired me, whether it be through their heartfelt lyrics, fearless attitude, mind-boggling vocal skills, or their endless drive to fulfill their dreams.
So on this #MusicMonday, I figured why not chat and sip about some of the singers who have most impacted my life. I have a vast array of favorites from Aretha Franklin to P!nk. However, there are three standout artists that have profoundly affected me.
I quoted Janet for the #TheseLyricsChangedMyLife hashtag tonight. I tweeted the line “…cause nothing ventured is nothing gained” from the song “He Doesn’t Know I’m Alive” off her 80s hit album Control.
Those words helped me find the courage to ask someone out. I got rejected (🤦♂️LOL), but I’m glad I actually found the nerve to go through with it.
That lyric still speaks volumes to me because I often find myself battling fear. Like many people, I sometimes worry about failure and have to remind myself that you never know what will happen unless you try. Therefore, you have to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and take a chance.
Miss Jackson also helped me deal with my sexuality. Her album, The Velvet Rope, with its homophobia-bashing dance number “Free Xone,” helped me start to see that there was nothing wrong with me.
That album also showcased themes of being strong and not avoiding the pain in your life. It really hit home and helped me find my own strength as a lost teenager.
Harry Connick, Jr.
Way before American Idol or his daytime talk show, I was a Harry fan. This guy introduced me to jazz music and unofficially taught me how to sing, along with Stevie Wonder.
I still remember the first time I ever heard one of Harry’s songs. It was during Christmas time in the early 2000s. I was driving around on my prescription delivery job, listening to whatever station was playing nonstop Xmas songs at the time. His rendition of “Let it Snow” graced the airwaves, and the lush arrangement with its blaring big band horns completely drew me in.
I was captivated even more by the rich tone of his voice. I had never heard anyone sound that good before. The very next day I went to Best Buy and bought his Come By Me album, and I became an official Harry Connick, Jr. fan.
I’ve sung his songs at talent shows and open mics more times than I can count. I used to be scared to sing loudly, but that all changed after Harry. I pushed out his big note at the end of “Charade” one night at an open mic, and I’ve been belting ever since.
I even wrote a letter to his fan club back when fan clubs still existed. (Dang, I’m showing my age. Lol). He didn’t write me back himself, but whoever ran his fan club sent me a free cd of some Broadway show soundtrack he helped write. I was kinda pissed he didn’t write me back personally, but I guess getting a free cd was better than nothing. Lol.
Although we’ve never met (and probably never will), I can say that I owe some of my music success to Harry. He truly got me excited about singing and helped me begin to discover the capabilities of my voice. I will be eternally grateful for that.
In the early 2000s, the queens of pop were undoubtedly Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Even if you liked them both, you most certainly had a favorite out of the two, and I was Team Christina all the way! Her voice, lyrics, and attitude all gave me life!
No one else in pop music could hold a candle to her vocally in those days, and she inspired me to sharpen my vocal skills. I would actually practice singing to her songs every single night (dropping them down an octave though…lol!).
But her voice wasn’t just fun to sing along to; It truly moved me. She was one of the few artists whose voice could make me cry.
She was always so confident and carefree back in the day too. Being a shy guy, her self-assurance inspired me. I could be nervous about something and think about Christina, and I would somehow find the nerve to push through. Not many artists did that for me.
Throughout her career, she has recorded numerous songs about strength and not letting others break you down. Her encouraging lyrics continue to resonate with me, and she will forever be one of my favorite artists of all time.
There are many more singers who have left their mark on my life, but these three are definitely some of the key figures.
Which artists or bands have inspired you the most in your life? I’d love to know. Feel free to share in the comments below.
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