[OWLS Blog Tour]: Soundtrack to My Life

For as long as I can remember, music has always been apart of my life. Maybe it’s the influence of my parents, or just the exposure to music in Disney films in the 80s & 90s (I am TOTALLY dating myself right now), but I’ve always been drawn to music. Music, much like how I feel about architecture, can affect one’s mood and emotions. Sometimes, music just speaks to our souls. It can express the things we cannot, or put into words the feelings we feel can sometimes be indescribable. I’ve used music as an outlet both in playing it and in listening to it.  My iTunes library is eclectic to say the least. Music has almost been an extension of me over the years in which I’ve gone through phases on phases of genre’s of music.

When I was younger, I played the piano. But instead of going the classical route, I learned a lot more Pop Music because that appeared ‘cooler’ to me. I learned how to play ‘Nsync, Jessica Simpson, Richard Marx, Righteous Brothers and random Disney tracks. Yes, from more classic pop music to more 2000’s pop music were my jam on the piano.  It’s only now that I regret not having been more classically trained. On top of my Piano experience I devoted 8 years to playing the clarinet in middle school and high school. So yeah, I’d like to say that I’m a fairly musical person, and that music has played a crucial part of shaping who I am.

I hadn’t planned on participating on this month’s OWLS tour, but I couldn’t pass up something that’s essential to who I am.

April’s theme is “Melody”:

In one way, music is form of healing and self-expression. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring some of our favorite musical pieces (anime/drama OSTs, movie soundtracks, music genres and etc.) and how it has impacted our lives and/or reasons why we enjoy listening to it.

Have you ever had a song be a milestone marker for specific things in your life? Do particular songs emit a certain nostalgia when you chance upon it again out of the blue? Over the years, songs and and genres have been added and subtracted adding more layers to the soundtrack of my life. Songs have been attached to moments and individuals; individuals that have since left. These songs have remained as reminders of both happy and bittersweet memories. I wanted to look at a few of the phases/genres that have continually ebbed and flowed over the years bleeding into one another from one instant to the next, and some phases that signified a very specific chapter of my life.

Sophisticated Sounds of Classical/ Original Soundtracks (Movies, Shows, etc.)

Part of me wonders if this is because I’m growing older, but this is the most current phase of my life. I’ve gotten back into my classical/instrumental roots for quite some time, probably since 2015? It’s what I started off listening to at the office because I deemed it to be “work appropriate”. But lately, I’ve really gotten into it because of anime also. Great OST’s have come from anime’s as of late, Welcome to the Ballroom, Haikyuu!!  My Hero Academia, and Attack on Titan just to name a few. (Though three of them are from the same composer).

But my absolute favorite OST is actually from the movie Gladiator. I was so obsessed with Elysium. So I’ll just leave you with that:

Chopin, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Yuki Hayashi

The Hyphy Movement**

The bay area is known for a lot of things San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the Tech Giants, but nothing prepared me for The Hyphy Movement. Having emmigrated here from the Philippines at the age of 3, I’ve only known the bay as my home. I love the Bay, and anyone from here will probably say the same thing, despite the incredibly high housing costs. I’ve lived in L.A, and spent time in Tokyo & the Philippines, but at the end of the day, nothing beats being in the Bay. There really is truth to the song, “I Left my Heart in San Francisco.” There’s something magical about this place, which is my case in point with the hyphy movement.

Hyphy culture is something that has been evolving since the 1990’s. It was and still is a movement in which bay area rappers were responding to the world of hip-hop for the lack of acknowledgement for their many bodies of work that have influenced other mainstream hip-hop artists. The term ‘hyphy’ derives from the term “hyperactive” and can be correlated as the counterpart of the south’s version of “getting crunk” or the more modern slang “lit.”

I was JUST starting my academic switch to architecture and enrolled in a local community college called Chabot (the same one Tom Hanks went to!) when the hyphy movement had finally inched it’s way into the mainstream if not for just a few seconds. At the time I had befriended two very unlikely friends in my english class. I had zero in common with them, but every day we’d chat, and they would incessantly talk about E-40 and about the hyphy culture. E-40’s newest album My Ghetto Report Card had just dropped. It had the hottest track filled with the sickest beats that embodied exactly what hyphy culture is titled: Tell Me When To Go.

Tell Me When To Go, was the track that introduced me into everything Hyphy. I started to branch my bay area rap knowledge because of this track. A new resurrgence of pride of hailing from the bay had been awakened, like I was part of this unknown incredible musical movement that everyone else was missing out on.

So imagine, me, re-locating back to the bay as the rise of the Golden State Warriors was about to hit a new high. World Championship, the rise of the stars: Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. They’re all signing major contracts for all kinds of endorsements, but nothing hit me harder than Draymond Green’s commercial for Beats by Dre featuring none other than Tell Me When To Go. Again, I felt another surge of pride like I was in on a secret no one else knew about; how much it meant for something local to become mainstream.

Artists I was listening to: E-40, Keak the Sneak, Too Short, The Federation, Turf Talk, Mistah FAB

The Angsty Post-Hardcore/Metalcore/Nucore Phase

During my schooling at SCI-Arc in LA, one of my closest friends decided to join a band on his free time (I honestly don’t know how he managed it on top of all our school work). I went to one of his shows as support, and he was opening for this band in this little club just outside of the city of Ojai, CA. That band happened to be Memphis May Fire. 

There was something about this bad that I just really loved that night. I was so into their performance that night. Especially the vocals of Matty Mullins, how could someone sing so well, yet switch into that dark metal scream? It didn’t hurt that the guitarist Kellen McGregor was a major hottie.  The lyrics just spoke to me, I was completely obsessed with their music. Little did I know they were a Christian metalcore band. Listening closer to the lyrics, I can see the influence in some of it.

Their album The Hollow is my go to album when I’m feeling angsty, angry, or need to blow off some steam. This helped me cope with the stress of school and with some of the things I was dealing with in the relationship realm. I ended up listening to a lot of bands under the Rise Records label, and one of my favorite bands from way back in 2003 actually recently joined Rise Records!  Personally, The Hollow was their best album and is my favorite. The following video is one of the singles from The Hollow: 

 

Memphis May Fire, Sleeping with Sirens, Issues 

Smooth Sounds of R&B

R&B is my bread and butter. R&B is my everyday jam. I can’t live without it. I listen to it on my commute to work. I sing at the top of my lungs, especially those love songs. R&B was something I stumbled upon when I was a kid. Boyz II Men’s album “II” was my most coveted album growing up, because it was one of my first CDs ever, and the first R&B album I really wanted more than anything. I’m totally showing my age to ya’ll right now.

The mid 90’s also got a lot of similar groups to Boyz II Men. We got 112, Jagged Edge and Blackstreet to name a few. Further dragging me into the Depths of R&B and then opening up my world to Rap and Hip-hop. 90’s R&B will always be the best era of the music for me. So much nostalgia to be hand in this musical era for me. I related a lot to R&B because I was so boy crazy when I was younger. But let’s be real, that part of me hasn’t really changed much to be honest.

So with that, I will leave you with the song that started me on this R&B journey.

Boyz II Men, New Edition, Babyface, Jon B., 112, Jagged Edge, Lauryn Hill, Faith Evans, Aaliyah.

These 4 genres make up a part of who I am over the years, and I have distinct memories that are associated with each of these phases. It’s pretty crazy to pinpoint a specific memory associated with a particular song, a particular line or lyric that just brings back a rush of emotions. These four genres make-up the soundtrack of my life. I had plenty of other genres mixed in, but these 4 were the most prominent to me.

So, what kind of genres did you listen to over the years? What kind of songs would you include to the soundtrack of your life? Let me know in the comments below along side any other thoughts, comments or questions! 🙂

And don’t forget to check out Auri’s OWLS post on Lyrics and K-Pop here.

And look out for Lyn’s post on her site: LynLynSays

Also, if you haven’t don’t forget to follow us on facebook as well as our twitter @OWLSbloggers and our official blog as well as our YouTube channel! And if you’re interested in becoming an OWLS member, you can contact us here.


* I don’t really have a good reason for using the boys of Free! For my header image except that, I’m obviously obsessed with them, and I couldn’t find one of just Makoto alone. I wanted to use Mako solely because I feel like he’s my animated counterpart. Lol.

**This portion dedicated to LynLyn, with whom I sparked a discussion with which prompted her to ask if I was going to write about this. I said I would try, and I did, this was definitely an integral part of my life at the moment.