For The Love of Music: Meeting Joe Brooks

There are a few things in life that I thoroughly enjoy.

  • Being highly engrossed in a book that I simply cannot put down.
  • Playing Halo on the Xbox 360 with a handful of really good friends ‘til 4 in the morning. (On that note, how about the hole that Microsoft dug themselves in regards to the Xbox One?!)
  • The feeling of accomplishment when I’ve written or created something that I’m incredibly fond and proud of.
  • Travelling.
  • Being in good company.
  • Music.


I want to linger on the enjoyment of music, for music has been for the longest time, a way for me to emote and connect. For me, it is a source of inspiration, a means of motivation and a liberating sensation (boo yah, rhyming ftw!).

I am so certain that I am not the only person that feels this way about music.

When I was but a tween, my emotions running high and the sensation of isolation and depression settling in my wee little insecure mind, music was one of the things that I turned to as a source of support and comfort. Having to go through endless days as a victim of bullying, relentless name-calling and troubles at home, there was nothing more liberating than being a crying, sobbing mess in the privacy of my bedroom with Linkin Park blasting in my ears. It was as though Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda were right there with me, taking all the unsaid words in my mind and reflecting it all so simply with their music (and their hoarse screaming).

The angst. The infuriation. The degradation. The blame. The pain.

All these emotions were pent up inside me, locked away in the desolate room that was my heart. Since then, music has been the key to that room- a way of expression that didn’t necessarily involve me having to exert much energy. I could just sit there, sullen and alone, listening to music. There was music for every situation- for loneliness, for heartbreak, for bullies, for hope, for joy… music was always there to liberate me from my own self-pity.

It’s been almost six (perhaps seven) years since the first time I started listening to Linkin Park and being a moody, introverted tween. Not much has changed except probably my broadened taste in music. I’m still moody, often very irritable and incredibly introverted and shy. I often find myself valuing being alone and listening to music rather than being with friends and socialising.

What I really want to say is: music for me has been a source of comfort as well as a tool to overcome the isolation and hurt that I had felt for so long. Whether it’s Linkin Park, Demi Lovato, Evermore, Alexander Rybak, Roomie or even Justin Bieber- their songs have helped me move along through life, to give me strength when I couldn’t lift up my pen to paper and scribble my thoughts down.

I don’t care if you’re an avid hater of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. I don’t care if you think screamo music or rap music are the products of Satan. I don’t care if you think Foster The People or Owl City are ‘sell-outs’. Their music has probably saved more lives than you can ever imagine, helped inspire stories, novels, films, instilled motivation for those struggling through an assignment or having to pass the time.

A few days ago, I had the greatest opportunity to meet one of my favourite artists- Joe Brooks. He had his first- and only- show in Sydney and I had bought VIP tickets. I first heard of Joe Brooks when I was around seventeen-eighteen years old. For me, his music always managed to plaster a cheery smile upon my face.

I approached him along with a few other VIP ticket holders, ready to introduce myself as the girl who helped him on his PledgeMusic quest in creating his second EP, A Reason to Swim. He asked for my name and he signed my CDs. We talked casually about cameras (for I had my Canon 60D on me) and I asked if he would record a message for my YouTube, which he pleasantly did. After, he performed for about an hour, his humour infectious as the crowd laughed and giggled at his British charm and his observations of the Australian accent.

It was such a wonderful experience to watch him perform all these songs that I had for the past few years, been listening to and obsessing over- and that is one of the beautiful things about music- to watch it being performed live after having listened to it over and over and over, until you know the ins and outs, the beats of the drums and the riff of the guitars… And it’s the same feeling that you get when watching any of your favourite bands or musicians live.

It is for this reason that I completely urge you, if by any chance that you get the opportunity to see your favourite musician or artist live, that you do it! Music has at many times, saved me.

Until next time,
Leonie

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