The Importance of Music

So, the question is… do you have a song that you really enjoy that you have attached to some kind of memory?

Um…there’s a song called “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles. That song, my dad loves that song and he played it a lot, and my grandparents played it a lot in the car. And so we would drive from Virginia all the way to New York, and that song would come on like, a lot. Because you know, when we were kids we only had like CDs, so they’d have a CD with a mixture of songs. I mean, lots of Beatles songs, lots of other old songs, and “Ticket to Ride” was one that my dad really liked, so even when I was home, I was hearing that song. And so it definitely reminds me of like, being a kid, being around my grandparents. And then, when I got my driver’s license, my dad sent me that song, and he said, “Oh, it looks like you’ve got your ticket to ride!” So I um… I guess that song, I’m really attached to it, in that sense.

That’s amazing! So do you have a pretty musical family, you’d say?

Oh, definitely. My dad was a producer for a long time. And my grandfather was a musician, local New York City musician. And uh, I am not as musical. I write poetry, but I don’t, ha, make any music. But I’d say we do have a musical family. A lot of love for music.

That’s amazing. Do you usually listen to genres like the Beatles or…?

Yeah, right now, I have an obsession with Joni Mitchell and other people from the 70s. But I’d say that I have a very wide range. My father grew up in the Bronx during the beginning of hip-hop music, so he loves hip-hop music. So I do, I dabble in all music– I guess with the exception of like, hard metal or something like that.

Okay, that’s fair! Yeah, no that’s awesome. So, yeah, like, you said your dad was a producer?

Yeah, just like, on the local Richmond scene, he would produce music for–we had a studio in our home– and so up and coming talent would come to our house and produce music. So, it was more like, not literally a job, but it was like a side gig that he had.

That’s very cool. So, like, were you able to watch the artists at all ever and sit in?

Oh yeah, definitely! My dad actually ended up managing someone who was really good, very talented, this guy named James, and he was going to… My dad firmly believed that he’d be very famous. Uh, but he had some issues, like familial issues, and so he ended up moving away back to Boston, where he was from, and my dad still talks about that today. He’s like, “You know, he would’ve been so famous if he’d just listened to me!” And that guy called my father one day, he was like, “You know, I’m sorry, I had issues with my dad, and I thought you were… you know, you acted too much like my dad, so I wanted to get away.” You know, because my father wanted him to stop hanging out with girls, stop, you know– focus on your career. But, it didn’t work out that well. In any case, yeah, I did watch a lot of musicians come and go. And I think, yeah, I think my father definitely wishes that he would’ve found that one person who was ready. Because my dad, he couldn’t sing or anything, but he knew how to– he had lots of connections. He was one of the first people that I know who had a podcast, actually.

Oh wow!

And he, it was like, 2008; he had an internet radio show called Triple H Radio, and it was about hip-hop. And he would like, just talk and in our living room, at like, midnight, he’d record it when everyone was sleeping, And he would just talk about things, and he even interviewed– what’s his name– DJ Khaled at one point–

Wow, oh my goodness!

–Yeah, because he would go…because DJ Khaled came to a club in Richmond so my dad like, ran over there and interviewed him for the show. And a couple of other famous folks that I can’t think of now. But yeah, it was an adventurous thing, watching my dad go through his music.

That’s fantastic, oh my gosh. So what’re you here for?

I study English and Government. I’m hoping to get into an MFA program and do poetry.

Oh, that’s amazing!

That’s what I’m really into, which is no surprise. My father writes rap music, and my grandmother was a poet. Not a famous one, but she wrote a lot of poetry. So it isn’t surprising to me that that’s my interest. But yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do. We’ll see what happens, though!

Yeah, that’s also…It’s always so cool that when people have that kind of outlet, like your dad with the music and the producing, and you with the poetry, but yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you so much.

Thank you!

So, yeah, do you have anything else that you’d like to share with the world?

Um, I would say that everyone needs to listen to Joni Mitchell’s album Blue in their life, all the way through, just sit and listen to it. You know, I have this idea that people didn’t love– don’t love– music like they used to, because we don’t have records and we don’t have– like so, we can just listen to music any time, so we don’t… we don’t realize how valuable music is. You know, my grandmother, I talked to her once about “Ticket to Ride,” about the Beatles, and about the first time she ever heard them, and she was like, “Oh, the first time I ever heard them, like every old person, was on TV–” I forget the guy’s name, but it was the famous late night talk show host, and she was like, “That was the first time I ever saw them! And I didn’t hear them for like, two days, and then I heard them on the radio, and then when their record came out, my friend bought it, and we ran to her house, and all of me and my girlfriends, we listened to the Beatles, you know, in this girl’s room, because we didn’t have– you know, our mothers didn’t buy us the record or whatever.” So it’s like, their relationship with music was so like, “This is very valuable,” and so I encourage people to embrace that and listen to records all the way through and really try to think about what the artist was trying to do and show you. Because–and same with my father, when hip-hop was getting really big– he said that he and his friends would buy records, they’d put all their money together and buy it together. And then they would go listen to it, and my dad– this is what made him, what makes him so knowledgeable about music– he would read all the credits and learn all the things about the musician. And so I do similar things now because of his influence but, that was just something that you would do because, you know, you didn’t have instant access to information, so I just encourage people to like, really fall in love with their music.

That’s amazing. Thank you so much.

Yeah, absolutely!

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