Brandyn Blaze

Life Between The Scenes

Category: Music

What Fuels Your Soul?

With me rockin’ this work at home gig, and my husband working for four 10 hour days, Thursday is my family’s Friday. It is also payday, so I spend the morning ordering our groceries and taking care of bills, then I prep and freeze as many  meals as possible for the week ahead. After that, I catch up my housework and try to squeeze in some writing. By the time my husband gets home I’m  more than ready to start our weekend.

We usher in the break with a few adult beverages and hours of good tunes. We sing and goof around, and just relax. Until our daughter’s bedtime rolls around, she rocks out with us. It’s my favorite part of the week and makes me think of my own childhood.

Music has always been a big part of my life. My passion for music began at home. My parents always had the radio on, and my dad is a musician. My mother was passionate about it as well, and we spent many, many nights dancing together in the living room. Those memories are priceless and I love creating more of the same with my child.

As I was sorting through some old posts from my now-defunct mommy blog, I ran across a post that perfectly summed up how I feel about the role of music in my life.  I smiled as I read about the way my daughter reacted to music at such a young age and I couldn’t resist sharing it here today.

passion for music, set your soul on fire, my daughter and I

*Originally published on December 19, 2013 at Life, Motherhood, And The Pursuit Of Happiness*

My daughter’s favorite song is “Hold On Loosely” by .38 Special. Every morning she picks up her daddy’s cell phone and hands it too him, watching expectantly as he puts on her song. She immediately snatches it from his hands and begins dancing. Watching her react to the music fascinates me and always puts a smile on my face.

Even in the womb she reacted strongly to music. At 7 months pregnant I went to Beatlefest in Chicago (which I guess is now called The Fest For Beatles Fans, but I refuse to make the switch), like I have every year with my mother, my aunt, and my best friend. Every night that child would kick my insides until I was sure she’d come bursting through my belly.

She did the same thing when I was 8 months pregnant and went to see Kiss and Motley Crue. I must note that she kicked more to Kiss than she did to the Crue, which disheartened me a bit and delighted her uncle.

She was born to a Beatles playlist and the instant she entered the world she was greeted to her father and I singing “All You Need Is Love”. Since then we’ve exposed her to a variety of music and there isn’t much she doesn’t like, although she is definitely starting to show some preferences.

What amazes me the most, however, is that it can just be the sound of one of us drumming on the table and she will stop whatever she’s doing and dance. It’s like some primal instinct that she just can’t control, something inside her just tells her to move. I know that feeling well. That divine moment when the music enters your being, touches you to the core, and everything else just falls away. All your worries, all your inhibitions, gone in an instant.

I live for that feeling. The rush that I get from certain songs and certain artists is beyond measure.It’s helped me through the worst of times and it’s enhanced the best of times. If I am to be entirely honest, it’s the only thing that makes me feel truly alive.  It’s been that way for as long as I can remember, and although it has caused me great joy, it has also brought a degree of pain. I found it hard to relate to other people from a very young age, which pushed me further into my obsession with music, which made it even harder to relate to others. Music was my salvation. Songs can’t judge you, they aren’t going to suddenly change, they can’t leave you.

Over time, music has become as essential to my well-being as air or food or water. Singing has become like a reflex to me, a lot of time I’m not even aware that I’m doing it. I’m sure it gets annoying for the people who have to be around me on a consistent basis, and I’m grateful for the people who choose to put up with it anyway. I’m even more grateful to the few people who really get how important it is to me.

Denied the release that immersing myself in music brings me, I turn into a whiny, nagging ball of stress. Almost-Husband has likened the phenomenon to a wild animal kept in captivity that needs to be let out to run. I think he nailed it.

I’m sure everybody has something that affects them so profoundly. I wonder what it will be for my daughter. While I hope that my daughter shares my passion for music at least to some degree, I also will never push her to it or try to divert her from whatever her passion may be. My only wish is that she finds fulfillment and happiness in life, and that she can put up with her crazy mother with an understanding smile.

Whatever it is you love, embrace it. Enjoy it. And don’t ever let anyone take it away.

I’m Rod Stewart Now: The Story Of A Girl And Her Music

As you probably know by now, I have an insatiable love of music. Much like my compulsion to write, this obsession also began in early childhood. In fact, my dad once told me that I came out of the womb dancing and singing, and I’m pretty sure my mother would agree.

Somewhere in the family archives, there is a VHS tape containing footage of myself as a toddler, miming along to Rod Stewart music videos shot for shot. Before I’d begin this routine, toddler me would announce, “I’m Rod Stewart now,” which my family still lovingly mentions. Around this age, I even demanded to have my hair cut like Rod’s.

rod stewart, passion for music

Of course my baby-fine hair didn’t stand up on it’s own, but it was cute none the less.

In fact, if you’d asked me at that time, I would have told you my best friends were Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck. Around that time, my aunt had a personalized book made for me about my day at the circus with them. What can I say? I was an awesome kid!

For the rest of my youth, it was all music all the time. I was the first grader sneaking issues of Metal Edge magazine into school, scouring the pages for mentions of Motley Crue. In second grade, I would sneak in a copy of Cinderella’s “Night Songs” on cassette. The lettering was artfully scraped off, save for the band’s name. I’d pop it in and rock out while we read books on tape with our little headsets. My Barbies were always in a band. A lot of the time I’d just lie on my bed, listening to music and dreaming of the day I’d make it big. I made my friends pretend to be in bands with me. Eventually, I begged them to learn instruments so we could do it for real.

All through middle school and high school, I’d spend my days sketching out band logos and brainstorming album titles. I’d scratch out lyrics and hum my tunes into an old tape recorder. I’d still spend all my free time just listening intently to my music. I spent hours memorizing the liner notes to my favorite albums and devouring any rock-related biography I could lay my hands on. As far as I was concerned, I was studying for my future.

Around the age of 12, I obtained my first guitar and I just knew I’d be the best some day. Not one to put in too much effort, I flirted with it off and on, progressing a little each time I’d try, but losing interest very quickly. Still, I held onto the dream of one day becoming a rocks star, joining bands here and there and constantly writing music.

Now, I’m just a mom with an almost spiritual connection to The Beatles, an addiction to karaoke, and at least three albums worth of songs that remain unheard by anyone besides my husband and my mother. One day that will change, but for now I’m pretty happy having a small handful of dedicated fans–even if they are people who are required to love everything I do.

A few months ago I made a decision to play my guitar more often. Of course, my dedication to it has waxed and waned like it always has. Recently, I’ve been at it again. As part of my quest for more “me” time, I’ve been making music for at least a half-hour everyday. The Princess is coming to love this part of the routine. She often takes up small instruments or dances and sings as I play. I love watching her interest in music flourish and I love showing her that mommy has many different sides.

A couple years ago, I decided to film myself playing one of my favorite songs. Originally, it was just for me. To my surprise,  I was fairly happy with the outcome and decided to share it online, even if it’s not the most amazing rendition of this tune ever recorded. After all, there’s no such thing as bad art.

I hope that this clip helps to encourage others to take pride in whatever it is that they do, at whatever level of ability they may have right now. Pursue your passions relentlessly and without fear. Be you and you can’t go wrong!

Don’t Dream It Be It: A Celebration of Rocky Horror

As a child, I was always the odd-ball. For as long as I can remember, I struggled with feeling inadequate and strange. No matter where I went, I just never felt like I fit anywhere. I liked weird things. I thought about weird things. From the clothes I liked, to the music I listened to, to my introspective nature, I was always different, and it seemed like the older I got, the weirder I got. For a long time I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

And then, something wonderful happened. I rediscovered a movie that changed my life forever.

That movie was, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I’d seen it as a small child and had loved the costumes and the music. At 12 years old, it became the first thing that made me feel like maybe I was okay. I remember the relief I felt when I realized that so many others felt the way I do about this film.

At the end of the day, it told me quite clearly that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to be yourself, regardless of what that may be.  The words “Don’t dream it, be it” encompassed everything I needed to hear and became my motto.

Not going to say it’s always been easy. I still feel like a weirdo, but I’ve learned to embrace it. Some days it’s frustrating, but I can always go back when I need a boost.

And go back I have. For fun I’ve worked out the math, and it seems I’ve watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show at least 1382 times in my life.

number of times I've seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show

When they aired the remake on Fox last week, I decided to make a night of it. I also cooked up a plan to mark the occasion with a new YouTube video and other fun social media treats.

I threw dinner in the crockpot so I could maximize my evening and set my hair up in rollers early in the day.  I was thrumming with excitement as I went through my daily routine and mentally prepared for the shoot.

hair in rollers, getting ready for shoot

 

Finally, the child I babysit through the week went home and I was able to complete the next step in my process. I put on the Rocky Horror soundtrack, poured some wine, and got into the zone as I dug through my closet and put my outfit together.

Everything's better with wine, red lipstick on wine glass

Everything’s better with wine.

I even enlisted my husband’s help with my eyeliner.  Thankfully, I still had my sister’s jacket from when she dressed as Columbia for my Rocky Horror themed birthday a couple years ago, since mine mysteriously disappeared.  I decided to go for an RHPS theme, versus choosing just one character. I must say, I love the result!

rocky horror themed outfit

 

When it came time to make the video, I wasn’t as nervous as I normally am. I looked in the mirror and saw me for the first time in what seems like years. That feeling was amplified when I watched the playback of my performance, and I must admit, I am more proud of this video that damn near anything I have ever done.

 

 

If I could spread one message it would be this:

Be you, and do so unapologetically. Embrace your weirdness. Celebrate your uniqueness. Go after the things that make you happy. Life’s too short to let others dictate your thoughts or actions.

Because Music Makes The World Go ‘Round

By now it should come to no surprise that music has always been an important part of my life. It’s been in the background of my best memories and during the toughest of times, it has been the one thing I can always count on. People and situations may change, but a great album remains the same and that is incredibly comforting.

Naturally, it didn’t take long before I was determined to create music of my very own. From the time I could form a sentence I was making up songs and I just never stopped. At the age of 16 I spent two weeks in my cousins studio and recorded my first set of demos. Since then I have recorded another set with a good friend of mine, and countless tunes on my own. However, much like the lead character in my first book, I never really managed to do anything with my growing catalog.

Awhile back, I finally got up the courage to set up my camera and record myself playing one of my songs. It’s a little rough, but I’m proud of it. Everyone of us has a dream, and no matter where you are on your journey it’s important to hold on to it and embrace it. We all have room to grow and progress, why hide away until we’re “perfect”? Do what makes you happy, share the joy, and let it come back to you.

 

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