Music is my boyfriend

I never meant for this blog to become a personal narrative, but all it takes is one clumsy misstep to cross over that ominous and imaginary line in life. In the past month, I’ve garnered a concussion via kitchen cabinet, allowed my heart to be broken more than once by the same dude, fallen up the stairs countless times (not at all out of character for me), and slept far too little. After accumulating multiple self-induced injuries, I think I just double-dutched the line into getting “too personal.”

These broken fragments of life are personal, just like another side of life that is near and dear to my currently mending heart. I’m promoting music – independent music, more notably – through my academic career. It’s also extremely interwoven into the personal. It’s there with the heart breaks and headaches. It’s often there when you don’t want it to be (y’know when you can’t get those five words of a song out of your head?). Music is there for inside jokes with your best friends, holiday memories with your family, and moments alone to be introspective; creative; mopey or energetic. Music is extremely personal and it’s extremely public; it’s communal and it’s interpersonal. It’s all about perceptions.

So why share my perceptions of music? It might allow us to communicate a little better and in my Miss America grand plan for world peace, if people felt the ability to share, it might make the world a better place.

My life is dictated by music. Broken records of harmonies and choruses frame my days, seasons, and years. I know who I was with, what was happening in my life, and how I was feeling based on what song I was listening to. Music creates mantras in my mind. Choruses are constantly on repeat and create stories for my personal history.

The first time I remember hearing the Doors was on a road trip to the Oregon coast with my dad and brother. I was eight or nine years old. I couldn’t stand Jim Morrison’s voice. When my mom called to tell me my sister’s white blood cell count was low and more tests needed to be done, I was listening to Iron & Wine’s “Boy with a Coin.” I can’t listen to that song anymore. “World Sick” by Broken Social Scene will forever remind me of sitting on the top deck of a bus in Brighton, England headed home from my first yoga class ever. “Alive with the Glory of Love” by Say Anything is a Route 66 road trip in a December 2010 snowstorm with a boy I just met.

Beach House plays Seoul

Beach House plays Seoul

Whether it’s a band that framed a stressed-out bike ride to work; an artist my best friend introduced me to or one a dude and I saw live; a jam I sang my heart out to in the car, or one that followed me everywhere around the world, music has always played a crucial role.

Music is one of the most personal experiences on the planet.  So is my favorite hobby and other topic of discussion: yoga. Unless you understand these experiences on a personal level, how can you understand them at all?

Having your heart broken is a lot like Kirtan and a lot like yoga. Throughout an hour-long yoga class, you often have to repeat the same few poses over and over (and over and over and over) until you’re either sick of them and never want to hear their uncomfortable foreign namesake again, or you crave them and the desire to perfect their most minute physical intricacies.

The Virabhadrasana, or Warrior, series in yoga is like this for me. I will never perfect it. I might make it look pretty, but I will always repeat the words of my first teacher in my head.

“Sacrum in!” she would yell as she poked my tail bone under my butt with her hand, raising both my arms level. Vira II is a love hate relationship, complete with my legs burning and my drishti floating across the room.

Love is like that. Heart break can be like that too. Joy is the pain of the broken record repeating in every tendon and fascia of the being, willing it to shift and change; to evolve. That’s the mind and body changing. Is that the same as what love, yoga, and music are, in essence? Movements that shift, change, and evolve with time, attempting to be perfect? There is no perfection, though. That’s the pain of it; that’s the beauty of it. In the end, we find beauty in that pain.

After a 3 a.m. flight from Portland, maybe this is the exhaustion, airplane fumes, and coffee talking, or maybe I’m onto something. I’ll let you tell me.

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Because feminists aren’t all bra-burning man-haters

That’s What She Said is an open notebook for social commentary, research, and musical meanderings.

As I work on my master’s professional project and prepare to graduate with an MA in journalism this winter, this blog will serve as an open-notebook of thoughts, ideas, and facts to bridge conversations between the gender equality debates currently picking up steam in today’s media, roles women play across the music industry, and in-depth conversations about music.

A small minority of the world’s music industry is composed of females. As of 2010, less than five percent of producers and sound engineers were female.

Many of the women and girls well-known for their contributions to the industry are musicians – an issue worth exploring on its own – particularly as it concerns body image and lyricism. As I gather research and interviews for my project, I’ve asked questions such as:

Why is the industry run primarily by men? Is there any room for women to step in? What do people in and out of the industry think about this? Where does the music fit? How does the history of feminism and music’s role in past feminist movements play into what’s currently occurring in music and music production?

In an essay written earlier this month about authenticity in music, Meredith Graves of the garage punk band Perfect Pussy remarked on the male/female divide in the industry:

“Worst of all, they might compliment you, and tell you that you’re good — for a girl. Regardless, you’re never considered ‘real,’ you’ll never meet their idea of what a real musician or real music fan should be, because the standard is male.”

Kathleen Hanna, the founder of the 1990s riot grrrl movement wrote in the movement’s original manifesto:

“BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock [!!!] that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the U.S. and BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.”

The divide in masculine and feminine roles in the music industry need to be addressed. This blog will be the place to do it. Each week I will explore the role of women in music and the debate surrounding feminism today.

Although I’m focusing on female issues in culture and music industry workplaces today, as the current debate urges, feminism is not simply a female “problem.”

As I explore the sub-culture of Colorado-based music venues, musicians, and entrepreneurs, this blog will serve as a platform for conversation about feminism and how our culture can change. I hope you will join in on the conversation.

This author is a feminist.

This author is a feminist.