In case y’all didn’t realize yet, I’m a huge music fan. I listen to a lot of music, play a few instruments and I am huge believer in the fact that music helps with mental health.
From a very young age I listened to music not only in my native French but also in English. On top of that, I would also listen to music in Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish since it was what my family and community would listen to. I mean, if you’ve ever been to a Sephardic Jewish celebration, then you know what I’m talking about. Music is a huge component of building a strong community. Now for approximately the last 10 years or so with the rise of social media, online communities have been created over bands, singers and finally simply music genres.
Personally, I first witnessed the power that music had on forming online communities when I was 13 years old and discovered the band ‘Tokio Hotel’. The band was from Germany – and you guessed it right – sang in German. When I started listening to them they didn’t have any English material, but this didn’t stop me from growing an obsession for them. Actually, scratch that – I was more than obsessed with them – I don’t know how to explain it but I felt comfort when I would listen to them. They were practically my safety blanket.
I was so proud of being their fan and would talk to everyone about it. I mean, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my proudly owned magazines (and I want to accentuate the fact that I was proud to own them because they were coming all the way from France!). I was basically acting as a Jehova witness for Tokio Hotel.
The band had some fans in Canada but only went mainstream really when they started performing in English. However, before they made it big in the US and Canada, I knew that they had fans in my area because I would talk to them ONLINE and we would arrange MEETUPS to talk about the group! There was this crazy dedicated online community from all over the world that were part of the Tokio Hotel fan base – and I was part of it.
Reflecting on it now, I realize that this idea of community was probably what made me feel safe and would help with my first episode of depression when I felt closed off from my friends at that time.
Not only that listening to lyrics written in another language by someone on the other side of the ocean made me feel good simply because I realized I wasn’t alone and that my feelings were not ‘uncommon’, but I was part of something that I found myself. I had friends and something to look forward to when I would get up in the morning, which was to go online, chat with my online peers about our fave band and we would all feel part of something.
So, yeah – that was pretty intense and just like anything else, my obsession for them definitely calmed down after a couple of years but I could never forget what they did for me – helped me with my depression and made me realize at a young age how the power of music can destroy barriers between people, countries and bring them together.
Now, that was then. Today, there’s a ‘new’ phenomenon – well, not necessarily new but definitely more recent – and it’s taking over the whole word. I’m talking about K-Pop, aka Korean Pop. This genre has been gathering a lot of attentions with bands such as BTS, Psy and most recently BLACKPINK (I’m sure there’s many more that have a global attention but the ones I mentioned are simply the ones I’ve been studying more lately).
I tried a couple of times to get hooked on K-Pop but the first few times didn’t work. I would just listen to the music without really paying attention. However, a couple of weeks ago I started watching the music videos that some friends were recommending that I watch and since then, I haven’t stopped listening to it.
The dance moves, the performances, the beautiful voices and surrealistic music videos just captured my attention completely and talking to other people about it has been so fun too! Again, this idea of creating a community through music is just constant and through becoming a new fan of K-Pop, I’ve realized how music has a serious beautiful impact on the world.
I already mentioned in one of my articles how music brings us together, so this is nothing new really but the idea that music can teach us about new cultures, countries, languages and more is just amazing.
What do you think of the power of music? Do you believe you can connect with a song without understanding the lyrics? Let me know in the comments!