I just found out the singer, Chester Bennington, from the group Linkin Park committed suicide. If you are not familiar with the group this may not bother you, but for me this hurts. I discovered Linkin Park in 2000 through my then-boyfriend. He didn’t know it at the time but when he popped Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory CD on, the tracks spoke to me. I was depressed. I was also in denial. I knew something didn’t feel right with me but I kept it to myself because I didn’t want to appear weak or whiny. I pushed on and pushed through and through the music I was able to hide my feelings with a smile.
Earlier this year a good friend of mine, Chris Collins, committed suicide. Right after the New Year started. He spent the last twenty years of his life fighting for equality in the LGTBQ community here in Philadelphia. Fighting for those who felt they had no voice to be heard and yet he felt no one heard his voice. Losing him hurt, especially like that. He was one of the first friends I made in high school as an awkward teenager and his friendship helped me through a lot of dark days over that initial four years. He didn’t realize how much he meant to those around him that he had touched over the years.
See, depression does that. It creeps into your mind and takes root into all of your memories, old and new, and tries to twist them this way and that. Depression loves to feast on the negative memories. Those memories are like protein shakes, making the depression stronger and harder to shake. Constantly whispering how bad you suck at life and reasons why bad things happen in your life. Depression is the voice of evil whether you want to believe in it or not.
But even with all of the infomercials and poster boards describing the symptoms of depression, many people ignore the obvious because once you acknowledge something you become responsible for how you react to it. Imagine if everyone actually paid attention to how their loved ones were feeling. The slightest deviation from their normal behavior would be an initial clue that something isn’t right. As a friend or loved one it only makes sense to inquire if everything is okay. Because I know what depression feels like and I had to wrestle with that beast head on to reclaim myself, I can spot subtle changes in those around me (even my co-workers). So naturally, I’ll ask if everything is alright. I let the individual know that if they need anything to let me know and then I quietly observe them without being obvious.
Why do I do this? Because I do for others what I wish had been done for me. I have survived the darkest part of my depression, I haven’t completely conquered it but I have learned how to manage it so I understand wholly what it feels like. Some people will twist their faces and proclaim that you’ll be institutionalized if depression or the hint of it is mentioned, but that is due to misinformation and fear. Once we stop reacting on the basis of fear and find out the facts, then we as a collective can help prevent someone we know from succumbing to their depression.
Yep! Today (January 27th) is my birthday! I am celebrating me on learning to love myself stronger and harder! I am rocking out to my new theme song for this year, Lost At Sea by Zedd… “Lost at seeaaaa! Where they will never find us!”
Music is my salvation when life gets rocky and I am so grateful for it. I am grateful for sites like pandora.com, soundcloud.com, and all the others that are out there but I haven’t gotten around to discovering you for myself yet. Thank you!
I am so busy dancing to the music that it’s taking me longer than I initially anticipated to write this post. It was supposed to be a shorty but goody and I completely lost my train of thought listening to Lost at Sea. I absolutely LOVE this song! It is on loop on my soundcloud playlist. It is going to rock me to sleep as soon as I finish this post, I promise!
This last year has been so pivotal for me. I had to overcome some major fears to begin regaining my life back and the culmination is my starting a new job today, on my birthday, doing what I went to school for! Preparing taxes (I achieved my associate’s degree in accounting in 2010) for individuals through the Pathways program that provides free tax preparation for low income and moderate income individuals in the Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester County areas. Party on!
Anyone who follows me on facebook, twitter, or instagram has been inundated with posts about the musician, Crywolf. I discovered his music one day while listening to Pandora and cooking dinner. One song, Home We Made Pt. II, caught my full attention. Then Pandora kept throwing different tracks into the rotation and I was sold.
This past December (after following him across social media) Crywolf posts on facebook that he will be accompanying the group, SAVOY, on tour during January. I quickly scroll through the dates to see whether Philadelphia is one of the stops and sure enough! January 16th at Union Transfer! I squealed like a school girl and made the decision to go no matter what. Then a couple of weeks later what do I find? Crywolf on facebook announcing that he’s giving away a free download of ALL of his music up to his Cataclysm album! BOO-YAH! CHRISTMAS GOODIES! I quickly downloaded the music (it was only available for two days) and shared the post for other Crywolf fans who may be out there and proceded to get my daily Crywolf fix without Pandora’s commercials.
January 16th was a few days ago. I had to come down from my Crywolf high before I could relay to you my experience. Now I am listening to Crywolf as I write this *smiling and nodding to the music* and I want you to know that this was my first music concert ever. I mean EVER! Before the news of the concert reached my eyes I had made a promise to myself to 1) attended a music concert, 2)ride on Amtrak, 3)travel more, 4)live more… So far I have crossed off the first 2 items and we’re not even thirty days into the year yet. But I digress…
I show up to Union Transfer and I am nervous, not knowing what to expect. Especially since I am the only brown face in the line waiting for the venue to open the doors. Once inside, once the music started, that didn’t matter. When Crywolf came out on stage it was like a smooth transition to get closer to the stage and roll with the vibration of the music. I wanted to cry it was… surreal. Feeling the bass in my bones, seeing this musician up close and hearing the songs I listened to repeatedly at home was an amazing experience. At one point in the show his mic went out and he just came to the edge of the stage and asked us to sing with him if we knew the words to his song!
The best part was Crywolf signing stuff and taking pictures with us after his set was done! I am still blown away!
Do you remember the first time you heard hip hop? Do you remember how the music made you feel? How about now when some of the classics play, how do you feel? Well, that old school hip hop feel is returning and one of the hip hop artist bringing the classic sound, the classic feel of hip hop back to the forefront of our minds is Matthias Mr. 16 Bars.
A North Philadelphia native and army veteran, Matthias uses his musical talents to uplift and inspire the younger generation. Letting them know that all is not lost as long as you keep your focus on the positive.
Matthias joined me tonight on my show, On Why Yet’s Watch, and he shared his insight and a freestyle with us all the while letting everyone know where they can hear more music and find out more about events where he’ll be. You can check Matthias out on these sites:
I am extra excited this week. Last week I interviewed Victoria Catherine and even though we had to fight through some technical issues with Blogtalk Radio, the interview was still hot! That’s why I love my guests and my listeners. They are a part of my radio family and together I am able to bring you what’s going on. Well, what’s going on this week is my interview with hip hop emcee, Blackwell of BlakkNation Music.
Born and raised in Ohio, Hip Hop and R&B artist Blackwell has been writing and performing since the age of 15, since developing his skills of playing guitar, drums, piano, and sax. He’s been largely influenced by such artists as Jay-Z, Eric B. and Rakim, LL Cool J, and Notorious B.I.G., and presents a new school and old school style in his lyrics to appeal to all ages.
He uses a mix of old and new school style in his lyrics which promote postive messages to plus size and BBW women. He describes his style of music as, “Music to wake up your eardrum!” He’s opened for such national acts as Kayne West, LL Cool J, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Paul Wall, Bizzy Bone, Twista, Drake, Usher, Afroman, and Wiz Khalifa. He’s also collaborated with Danity Kane, Ralph Tresvant and Ronnie Devoe from New Edition!, and Janet Jackson.
Blackwell has formed his own production company and management, ”BlakkNation Music”, that will feature new and upcoming acts of all genre of music, and continues to work and educate new artists in the industry to learn the business and present new material to the Hip Hop and R&B field. He’s a valuable asset to the music industry with more yet to deliver.
You can check out his mixtape, I Am Blackwell, here. You can check out Blackwell’s new single, Kurvalicious, on youtube.
Thursday nights are where you can get the chance to listen in and hear what’s going on with talented indie artists who write, rap, perform and encourage our next generation. Check out On Why Yet’s Watch on Thursdays, 9 pm EST by calling in at 773-897-6297.