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The Music In Me: My Musical Journey

Updated on April 28, 2012

Beginning Influences

Living in the United States is seen as a place where people from different cultures, religions, and backgrounds can come together and share there point of views. Where I lived however this is not the case. I live in a predominately Mexican American area, and growing up in this environment, while stimulating and enjoyable, did not have many other cultural influences, other than those passed down from ancestors from a distant time.

My family comes from a long line of military servicemen something I am extremely proud of and grateful for. Being exposed to the military lifestyle, I was able to learn about many cultures throughout the world. I especially learned many things from my grandfather, who often spoke to me in Japanese and talked of the time he served there. From him I gathered a love for distant lands, cultures, languages and beliefs. My parent also held a strong policy of tolerance, acceptance and a sharing of knowledge in our home, thus beginning to shape who I am today.

My Grandfather opened me to a world of music when I was young. He would take my to my great grandmothers , and would sing in the car songs of old from when he grew up, and then songs he learned when he was abroad during his military service. My parents also opened doors to music I might not have listened to other wise. My mom longs for the sweet melodies of the 1940's which brought about my love for Dean Martin. My father is a man who loves rock. From the heavy metal of Queensryche to the slow ballads of Journey. I was constantly taken on a roller coaster ride of music.

NSYNC | Source
Ruroni Kenshin
Ruroni Kenshin | Source
Fahrenheit | Source

Expanding My Horizons

By the time I was ten years old, i had developed a love for N'SYNC and the Backstreet boys. Their cliche pop sounds and lyrics struck me to the core as they did to most of the children of my era. This opened a world of friendships that were comforting and rivalry's that were destructive, Being only ten I found my self lost in a pop sensation.

Though this changed right around the time I began to expand my cartoon watching. Around this time a new show called Rurouni Kenshin started to show on Cartoonnetwork. This was also the first cartoon that did not dub the ending theme song into English. I remember it clearly the first time I heard Heart of the Sword with its electro-pop-rock feel, it propelled me into the world of Japanese pop music. From that day forward I looked high and low in the library to find cd's from Japanese artists, and dedicated much of my time to learning the lyrics inside and out.

Once I began to explore the realm of Jpop I was able to find another influential music scene that being Taiwanese pop.Taiwanese pop is much more similar to the pop sounds of the US, this new music opened my eyes to a new language and culture. Once I had established a long list of both Japanese and Taiwanese artists I began to learn about the different aspects of there cultures.


The Music in Others

By the time I was in middle school, I had seen my share of how the world actually worked and it was nothing like a fairy tale. When I had to change schools for the third time in two years, I found myself alone and with no friends. All I had was the music that I escaped into, lyrics about happiness, rainbows, and sunshine. This was until halfway through my fifth grade year a new student arrived. She was from India and many people didn't talk to her because they were too shy not knowing much about her culture and language. For me however I saw a person, this is mostly because of my multicultural experiences. We soon became fast friends and shared all of our likes with one another. She shared with me her love of Indian music modern pop, traditional and Bollywood.

From the first time she showed me a Bollywood movie, I knew that this was something that would take me in a new direction. I fell in love with the elaborate designs the colorful clothing, and the beautiful voices that were so different from anything I had ever hear. Though our friendship was short lived, I took from this something just as precious as the friendship we shared.


Musical Intolerance

I became very open with people about my musical interests, those from other countries and those from era's past in the US. Every time I talked about these I was shut down, I was made fun of for my love of 70's and 80's music. The music of these eras spoke in a way the music of my generation did not. The music from the 70's was about something it had meaning and true musicality, 80's music had flare and was catchy. These things I did not find in the music of the 90's or early 00's.

Their came a time when I felt extremely isolated for my love of international music, which was always shoved in my face as something stupid. Many people I knew would often make me the object of a joke, or would trash my love of international music and try to embarrass me in front of others. I chose not to listen to the negativity around me, in a way choosing to carry on my love of these realms of music in silence. This caused me to feel as if I was not able to be my true self.

I kept on every day moving through the motions of life, and trying to explore and take a more in depth look into places outside of the US.


High School Musical

High school opened up new doors for me. I started out in a small private school where they offered more then just Spanish as a second language to learn. They offered french,Latin and Japanese. Though I chose to study french I became close to many of the students learning Japanese. This is also the time in which I became really interested in Korean Music. Though I had listened to the Likes of BoA, Rain, TVXQ and Epik High, my love for music centered around Japanese, Taiwanese and Europop. I was happy that people around me for once shared my interest in music. I found myself being sucked into the world of K-pop, the many fan clubs, group colors, there unique pop sound and images.

Thing's changed my Junior year, my family moved and I was struck with the knowledge that I would be attending public school for the first time in my life. The thought was hard on me because I had established friendships with people who finally I could talk to about things beyond our small city. However public school was the best experience of my school life, there were people from many different cultural back rounds, and interested in many different things. I was able to establish bonds with people who could give me first hand accounts of there culture, language and lifestyles.

Dancing to the Beat of A different Drum

After I had changed schools,made many new friends and finally able to express my love for all types of music, cultures, languages and religions, I found myself exploring a new aspect of my own life. Since I was a child I had been involved in learning about different cultures, not because I was unhappy with my own, but because I wanted to be a worldly person. Things changed for me my freshman year Doing an in depth research study of my own family history, I found that the culture I had grown up with, the language, the religious aspects, the food and every little detail was not the culture of my ancestors.

When I confronted my father about finding that my blood line lead directly from Native American people, my father said he knew. I was upset, I was angry, I was confused, did this mean that everything I grew up with I had no right to be involved with directly. My father explained that his both sets of his grandparents were thrown in school, and were taught how to be an American, were unable to have long hair, speak there language or share there religious beliefs, and so my virture my grandfather and father were unable to learn or express much about their Native American history.

I took this as a chance to explore this area of culture, I had been denied in my life. My father began to take us to Powwows, we spoke to many people who lived the lifestyle, and those who were just getting into it. On one particular day we went out to a small Powwow and I remember hearing a flute being played. When I went and spoke to man who held the flute, I told him my story, and he handed me a CD. I took it home and quickly put in my cd player and listened to the different flute sounds, and drum beats. The words in a language from a distant past echoed through my ears, and I became entranced with the sound.Opening a new world that I could call my own.


The Full Circle of Life

Even now that I am in college I look back on my upbringing and the journey I took, and am very thankful for everything. Because II was exposed to many other styles of music that lead me to learning new cultures and languages, it opened doors for me in college that are often closed to people who do not have these experiences. I was able to make the transition from child hood, to adult hood more seamlessly. I now have friends from all over the world, and am very active in multicultural communities where I live. These experiences have also opened me up to being a more tolerant and accepting person. If I didn't have the influence of music from throughout the world, I wouldn't be as open to accepting new cultures and ways of thinking. Instead I would be a closed off person.

Today I am proud to say I am a worldly person who still has so much to explore and learn, and it is thanks to music that I am who I am today.


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