Sponsored by Blinded By The Light, in theatres August 16th. Watch the trailer below:
Music. It’s so powerful. It can heal us, lift our spirits, keep us company, even change the paths of our lives… It is so ubiquitous that we often take it and what it means to us for granted. Sometimes, though, for some of us, it’s such an integral part of who we are that it’s impact becomes obvious. Javed’s story of how music inspired him is told through the film Blinded By The Light (in theatres August 16th). For Javed, the music of Bruce Springsteen gave him the strength to follow his dreams despite all the roadblocks put in front of him by his family, friends, and community. Javed is not the only one with a story to tell…
In honour of the film Blinded By The Light, we released the Inspired By Music scholarship to members of the Student Life Network, asking students to share their own stories of how music has affected their lives. Here are some of our favourites from the first hundred submissions:
The song “All or Nothing” by Canadian band Reuben and the Dark really reached out to me. The way it describes going all in is an attitude I’ve adopted for life. Anything I do, I will put everything I’ve got into it.
Ever since I was little I have loved the song “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. I have always thought of the lyrics to represent my family and the way that they support me in my life. I know that as long as I have their support I can do anything that I want to because they “raise me up to more than I can be” and they give me the strength to do so.
I was inspired by the song “Tears are not Enough” by Northern lights. They song was dedicated to the victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984 which touched me personally because it is the country where my parents are from. My favorite lyric is ” We can bridge the distance Only we can make the difference Don’ t ya know that tears are not enough If we can pull together We could change the world forever Heaven knows that tears are not enough.” It is like the band is talking to me directly and telling me to not just cry or feel sorry for the victims but actually to do something about it which is why the song was very inspiring.
Cristian Kasinski – BMus University of Alberta
As a classical musician, movie soundtracks really speak to me. Hans Zimmer’s theme to “The Dark Knight Trilogy” is something that really evokes the empowerment of Justice, a core staple theme in this movie. There is a constant underlying feeling of panic and chaos evoked by the fast note passages. Even amongst all this, the main theme that is held together by a minor third, depicts to me that even with all the chaos and war in the series, this long mysterious passage that appears whenever “The Dark Knight ” appears gives a sense of release and hope for the audience. This is very powerful.
“Call If You Need Me” by Vance Joy has helped me through tough times when life and school gets tough. The lyrics tells you to be happy and live life the way you want to. It encourages you to go out in the world and just live. The lyrics “you can’t get struck by lightning if you’re not standing in the rain” really struck me to how its true. Life comes with ups and downs but without going out into the rain and experiencing those downs, those ups wouldn’t mean much and wouldn’t be there as vivid either. This song helped my cross a boulder when i couldn’t get out of my head. It helped me open my eyes and see there is more out in the world, my life isn’t all rain.
My grandmother passed away three long months ago. It was very hard for me to let go and come to accept that she’s actually passed on. What helped me the most was music, specifically Thomas Rhett. I’ve always loved Thomas Rhett’s music because I admire how the songs reflect his life experiences. He released a song, “Remember You Young,” a few days before my grandmother passed away, but I didn’t hear the song for the first time until the night after she passed away. It immediately spoke to me and was my saving grace during the extremely hard time. The song is about remembering all the good memories that you share with your loved ones “no matter how much time goes by”. It will continue to be an extremely special song to me because whenever I am feeling sad or miss my grandma, this song reminds me to think of all the good memories that we’ve made together instead of thinking of her in bad health and being mad that she’s gone. This song taught me to accept the fact that everyone has to pass away at some point, so it is important to make memories with your family and friends thus allowing you appreciate those around you forever, even if they’re not physically with you. I now know that even though she can’t be here with me physically, she will always be here for me in my heart and in the many amazing memories that we created together.
It was mid-August and I, at 12 years old, was spending a week at sleep-away camp. The week had begun chaotically, and a mix up in my family calendar had resulted in me arriving to camp two hours late, after a frantic last-minute packing effort. My entire cabin had already learnt each others names, had already called dibs on top bunks, and I felt as if I was a few feet behind everyone else. I’d been to this camp before, but as a day camper, and the overnight scene was new to me. New counsellors, a new routine; everything was just slightly off. Lunch had just ended, and I was sitting outside of the front lodge with the rest of my group, waiting for our counsellor to come meet us. Another staff member, her name was Sam, came and joined us. Sam had wild curly hair, and a colourful guitar strap slung across her chest. I could see the handle of an old, beat up, acoustic guitar poking up from behind her curls, and I was instantly curious. Sam greeted us, and asked us if we wanted to sing with her to pass the time. This was strange to me, someone randomly offering to sing, but I assumed it was a regular sleep-away camp occurence so I went along with it. She asked us what songs we knew, and naturally, we all stared at her blankly, so she laughed, paused to think for a second, and then started strumming away. A series of chords flowed from the instrument, but as hard as I tried I couldn’t recognize the song. A couple girls nodded their heads, but the rest of us stared blankly at her, unsure what exactly she was playing. Sam assured us it was an easy song to learn, and started singing the first verse. “I was scared of dentists and the dark…” she sang softly, and while her voice was beautiful, I was quite confused. It was an interesting way to begin a song, so I assumed that she had just made it up in the moment herself. “I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations…” Sam continued to sing out the first verse of Vance Joy’s “Riptide,” which I did not realize it was at the time. I found the song confusing, I didn’t quite understand it, but I payed attention none-the-less, and by the third time through the chorus, I, and the girls around me, began to catch on. Sam played the song on loop for a bit, and I felt a sense of ease coming over me. Even though it was unfamiliar and strange at first, this song was beginning to grow on me, and I was learning the lyrics faster than I ever had before. Later that day, before dinner time, Sam sat down with us again for another singing session. We cycled through a few songs, the popular ones that you would’ve heard on the radio far too many times in one day if you just kept listening. But then we played “Riptide” again, and we all sang louder, even though we were still learning the words. As the week went on, I perfected the lyrics; became more familiar with them, just as I became more familiar with camp. I made new friends, and a learnt new lyrics. As I tired new things, I perfected the rhythms. I learnt the entire song inside and out, without ever actually hearing the recording. I left camp that week with plenty of fond memories. I had build a bond with the girls in my cabin over the week, and I was sad to say goodbye. I believe that this was possible, however, because Sam and her music had helped put me at ease. My favourite lyrics from that song are “I love you when you’re singing that song.” I always imagined someone watching someone else with their guard down, being themself and relaxing through music. Which is what happened to me at camp that week. I continued to return to camp for the years to come, and now I spend nine weeks of each summer there as a counsellor. While I have never taught my campers the lyrics to Vance Joy songs, as I can’t play guitar, I’ve always remembered the difference it made when a counsellor took the time to make me feel at home.
The song that inspired me to take my passion for basketball to the next level was “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill. Let me take you back to the day. Early in the morning on a Sunday, I was taking advantage of a free open gym put on by Abbotsford Basketball Association the local non-profit organization. Little did I know that I would later end up playing two years of club basketball above my age division and proceed to also volunteer/work for them. It was about halfway through the duration of the open gym and I was still the only one there; Just the gym, a basketball and myself listening to a clean playlist whilst I sat on the baseline catching my breath. The lyrics “I had to grind like that, to shine like this” caught my attention as I was starting to develop a decent jump shot. These words were meaningful as I had previously spent hours upon hours working on my shooting form which was terrible at the time. So I applied the “grind like that” part to the previous hours of practicing shooting and the “shine like this” applied to my recent breakthrough in the success of shooting and dreams of becoming one of the best around. Yes, little I know but it is what kept me from skipping to the next song and not experience the lyrics I would find a matter of seconds later. Because I was hooked, I continued to listen and in turn, heard the words that made me sit down and have a talk with myself about where I want to take this, referring to basketball. “It was time to marry the game and I said yeah, I do” came out of the speaker of my iPod and into my ears. Once the song finished those lyrics were still stuck in my head. At the time I really only played for fun and had only practiced in attempts to save myself from the embarrassment of being bested or laughed at by another player. After the song ended I put my iPod back in my bag and sat there pondering my thoughts about basketball still holding onto those lyrics. I eventually came to the conclusion sitting in that silent and empty gym that I wanted to take it to the next level and dedicate all of my free time to the sport. I essentially took the “It was time to marry the game” part as a wake-up call moment for myself as I figured if I didn’t decide soon if I wanted to step it up it would be too late. So in reference to the lyrics, I did in fact “marry” the game that day and have continued to devote my time into improving myself in the sport of basketball. Since that day the song continues to be one of my favourite pre-game/workout jams as it motivates and reminds me of the fact that I didn’t put in all those hours of pain and suffering just to stop now. Whenever I doubt myself and think about giving up I play that song. I do this to remind me of that day and the talk I had with myself as I am not one to cheat myself or go back on my word. The end.
Tell us about the music that speaks to you.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.