Have you ever come across that gem of wisdom from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "Without music, life would be a mistake"? We can identify with that pretty strongly here at Musical Notes Global.
We started wondering what music means to people in the industry and that sparked the idea for a new guest blog series. "Music Is" is an open-ended topic for artists to share their thoughts on music and the impact it has had on their lives with Musical Notes Global readers. Today we continue the series with a guest blog from Amanda Rose Riley, a New Jersey-based singer and songwriter who takes listeners on a journey with her music. Check out her thoughts on what music means to her below.
What does music mean to me? Well, I think my music-themed concept album (Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole) was essentially my attempt to answer that question. The story of my relationship with music is a story of a pathological obsession, and of a determination that’s unaffected by obstacles and self-doubt and, in a way, frankly defies logic. But I think all of that is what it means to have a passion and go after a career goal like music. I think other musicians and creatives might nod their heads in agreement with some of the themes that repeatedly show up in the lyrics of the album:
- I don’t necessarily feel positively or negatively about my decision to pursue music. It doesn’t feel like a decision. It feels like I have to do it in order to be satisfied with myself and my life.
- One of my biggest motivators, if not my biggest, is the idea of connecting with other people and having a positive impact. I want to make music that feels good in some way and has a positive message that people can hold onto. This is what music has been for me for my entire life, and it’s my dream to feel to be on the other side of it someday, too.
- I have to work hard to keep my emotional dependency on music in check. It can be a healthy way to cope with negative experiences and emotions… until I make it my entire life, to the exclusion of healthier support systems like friendships and relationships!
- A big part of cultivating a more serious, professional attitude for me has been realizing that I don’t need any record labels or gatekeepers to jumpstart my career. I’m the one who jumpstarts it, and then maybe they will come later, or maybe I’ll build a thriving direct-to- fan career without them. A lot of the lyrics on the album, especially those written in the second person, refer to these industry gatekeepers, and the “I’m going to do it with or without you” attitude is prevalent throughout.
- I don’t resent the struggle and sometimes I am even grateful for it. In a way, the struggle makes and develops the art. I think that overcoming the obstacles on the way to success is what builds the skills to maintain that success. Plus, I love to cover songs that my favorite artists wrote when they were still struggling like I am, and if I couldn’t cover them with sincerity, I would feel like I’d missed out on something. It’s part of the process.
Being in love with music and attempting to do it for a living can be difficult sometimes, but it can also be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I’m glad that I got to use Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole to explore the topic in my songwriting, and I hope that my insights can help someone else think about their relationship with music or art.
Amanda Rose Riley is fresh off the release of her debut album Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole (check it out on Spotify here), and she also recently curated a playlist for Musical Notes Global's Women's History Month celebration. Listen here.
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