Music is my best friend. Not to say I don’t have any amazing friends, because my closest friends are incredible. However, music was there when no one else could be. Music has stuck by my side through years of phases and changes, through many different schools, and through so much personal growth. In some ways, music has even promoted this personal growth. It has truly been a gift that has provided me with so much comfort, joy, and some of the best parts of my life.
I’ve gone through quite a few musical phases. As a young girl in 2010, my first musical love was Justin Bieber. I was obsessed. For my birthdays and Christmas I was asking for Justin Bieber’s CDs and movies. I had multiple shirts with his face and songs on them. My favorite part of my room was the big poster I had hanging over my headboard that was a picture of his face made up of tiny pictures of fans. This was at a time where he only had two albums, but I knew every song on both of them. As I moved into middle school, I expanded my musical taste into other pop and pop rock. Suddenly Fall Out Boy was the coolest thing ever, a big jump from Justin Bieber. I was finally old enough to engage in fan culture and have a Spotify account through which I could listen to music that I did not have on CD. Fall Out Boy actually was my first big concert, and hearing my favorite songs live made me even more in love with music.
Fast forward a few years and I’m listening to One Direction. This was right after they went on hiatus, and I’m never forgiving myself for that one. Nevertheless, I listened to the music they had released before and kept up with the members’ solo releases. Yes, I stayed up for their ten year anniversary to see what would happen. Yes, I was disappointed when nothing did, but I unfortunately was not surprised. One Direction also led me to 5 Seconds of Summer, who is still one of my top artists.
However, starting to listen to Kpop is the genre jump that had the biggest impact on my life by a long shot. My best friend introduced me to BTS at the best possible time. Their music and content pulled me through my freshman year at community college. I struggled seeing all of my high school friends having fun at their universities while I was still living at home, working the same job, and feeling quite lonely. BTS’s music gave me a lot of happiness during this season. Later I expanded my Kpop taste to many other artists and discovered Stray Kids. I can say with much confidence that Stray Kids is the artist that has had the biggest impact on my life out of every musical phase I’ve gone through. Their music and content has given me comfort and joy. I am able to resonate with their lyrics and find reassurance in their words. I have met a lot of people, including my best friends, and found a community through the common interest of Kpop.
Looking back at all of the musical phases I have gone through, it’s hard to see commonalities. I mean, it is obvious that Fall Out Boy is completely different from BTS. However, each of them was exactly what I needed at the time. Fall Out Boy made me feel strong in a time that I needed to. One Direction gave me happy and fun music during a season when life was much more serious and difficult. BTS gave me my three best friends in a season of loneliness and taught me that I was more than worthy of loving myself. Stray Kids became my comfort in a time of change, taught me that it’s okay to prioritize myself and the people I love the most, and continue to remind me to always look for the sunshine. Sometimes people do not understand why hobbies impact you so much. It does not make sense to a lot of people that a few groups living on the other side of the world have impacted me so deeply, but they do not have to understand. At the end of the day, music is what has held me upright through so many situations and I will forever be more than thankful for that.