Article by Tanis Kelm
I just want your music tonight.
Music is a feeling, an all-encompassing thrill ride with its twists, turns, left fields. Yet, so simple at its core. Most things aren’t a feeling, you have to will them to be or end up reasoning with them, compromising. My music happens and I’m glad it does or I don’t know what might have happened to me. Ever since I was young singing along to “Wasn’t that a Party?” playing on my sister’s record player with the pinkish nail polish on the volume slide, a privilege you didn’t want to breach, I’ve loved music. Before that even. When it’s something you grow up around, music becomes all you think about without even thinking about it. That’s important. Something needs to be that important and it might as well be music.
That’s what mine is anyway.
Anytime you need, music is there. Every sound, every vibration, in every word or movement, music wants to be there you just have to let it be. Once you hit that perfect equilibrium, where it’s inside and out, it holds you up, it floats you along. Not a day goes past that it isn’t there. Silence has a rhythm, it eases you into your heartbeat. I breathe out and in, I’m alive, I want my music to be.
Get over it already.
We are living in the age of individualism, social anxiety and bullying, with many easily out of their element in unfamiliar situations. I’ve found that if you carry music inside the transition away never seems too hard. If music is where you are, you can go anywhere. What I hear the most from people is, “I wish I was talented at an instrument” or “I wish I could sing”. My argument is you can. You have to make it work for you and work at it. A polished piece doesn’t get that way without being nurtured. I continuously run songs through my head when I have a free moment waiting in line or on hold. There are no rules in music, only patterns that let you make sense of things and maybe make you want to hear something like it again. Everyone has music in them even if all you do is collect, keep it close wherever you find it. I carry a comfort zone with me at all times for which headphones aren’t required. When something does translate well enough and I want to share it, I get nervous that people won’t like it. I share it anyway, but that’s what makes me anxious more than anything else. I know I’ll be taking something away from my performance but is it something you care to hear? After all, there is so much silence covered over with insincerity already, how am I different?
You don’t have to believe me.
Songs can change over time. Experience has a way of connecting existences, suspending their ideas in constant flux. A song can recount a memory in detail enough to be there again. They’ve always seemed slightly magical to me. Even more now that I write them. Each song has its intricacies. Maybe you write it for someone you know or maybe it shows up for someone you don’t; it’s the musician’s job to make it connect. Songs have the power to bring people together and that is what is special about music. Songs can make you get up and dance, process situations a whole new way or at the very least entertain. As a performer I hope what I do does one or all of those things.
You butchered that song.
Granted not everyone is going to like your music if you choose to share it and if you pick an existing song there’s already that marker to compare it to. I do find it easier playing my own songs because when I do a cover I worry if I do it justice as I’m more a fan of music than anything else. There’s nothing quite like the energy at a concert no matter what the individual reasons are for each person being there. As long as expectations are kept at bay it’s hard not to get swept up in it. When I was introduced to electronic music I had no prior knowledge of what made it good until it was. I love going somewhere and having no idea what I’ll hear. It’s a pleasant surprise to take something like that home with you.
Everyone needs a chance.
As you continue to make your own music (if you haven’t noticed you’re doing it right now) lend your experience to local artists whenever you can. It really means a lot.
Music soothes the savage beast, which would you rather be?
Tannis Kelm is a singer/songwriter who performs under the name Hors. Find her on Facebook, Twitter , Sound Cloud, Tumblr, or her Gold Chair Sessions videos on YouTube. Tune in to CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. for her show, Listening Pleasures.