My heroes are people who shine, act and broadcast clear ideals that have shaped my personality and mission in life. Heroes don’t always save babies in burning buildings. Sometimes they simply show us courageous ways to live in the world. In one way or another, all of my heroes are Not F*ing Around.
I teach songwriting to college students. I generally love it although at times I want to lay into some of the students who lie about their homework or roll their eyes when I refer to my 80’s rock idols.
Every once in awhile a student comes around who blows me away and teaches me things I forgot (or never really knew in the first place.)
When Melody showed up as a freshman, she was writing eight minutes songs without anything that resembled a chorus. Although she had tons of raw talent, she appeared to me to be scared of the world, out on the fringes of everything, and light years away from anything cool. She wore old sweatshirts and jeans. Was constantly plugged into her earbuds. And refused to look me in the eye.
Over the past half dozen semesters we honed her songwriting, her style, her look, her stage craft, her vibe and her mission. Earlier this year, I asked Melody to write a paragraph about what drives her lyrics and why she’s so committed to her music. Her response made me cry.
Music is fundamentally human, from the heartbeat of a drum line to the desperation of a human wail crafted into a tune. I don’t just want to make music, I want to make music for somebody. And more and more I’m finding I want to make it for people who think they don’t matter, or that they should keep their feelings locked up. I want the ones that slipped through the cracks, that are trapped, or lost, or were just dragged through an emotional gravel road in the rain to hear something they can feel and relate to on a personal level.
At the end of the semester concert, under her new persona of Azure Anarchy, Melody took the stage decked in full goth make-up, long flowing hair and a floor length wizard gown. Holy f*ing hell. She grabbed that microphone, took that room and kicked ass in every direction. Literally blew the place away.
It was clear and obvious that a powerful talent was unleashed. Her pain, her struggle, her passion, her power, her fear and her hope blasted at full volume that night. She shined in that moment. It was stunning. It was electrifying. And it was a testament to her will, her vision, and the unrelenting healing power of music.
Azure Anarchy is my hero because her courage reminds me why I do what I do. How art and music have healed me. How shining our truth is one of the most powerful things we can do on this planet.
She reminds me that there is immense value in my own struggles to teach and inspire others through my writing, workshops, creativity and other endeavors.
Why drives your creative passions?
What was your best creative coming out moment?