As a child, I grew up on a weird combination of love songs and old-school R&B. For this reason, it’s always funny when I surprise my friends with my musical knowledge. (Most of my friends usually just listen to songs from musicals.) The very first singer I admired was Mariah Carey and I loved her song, “We Belong Together.” Whenever that song would come on in the car, I would roll down the window and belt it out to the world. Mariah’s music was extremely fun to sing, and her sassiness was always fun to reenact. Her general diva-ness entertained me and I really thought it was cool how she didn’t care what people thought about her. Another singer I looked up to when I was little was Taylor Swift—I remember her song “Teardrops on My Guitar” was one of my favorite tunes. When I was nine, I would sing this song with so much passion, as if someone hurt me (but I was only nine, so I had no idea why I was so passionate about a song where a girl is torn up about a guy that doesn’t like her back). Lea Salonga was also another singer I really loved and still look up to today. Her voice is just amazing, and like me,she’s Filipino, so that’s a plus in the role model department. She is also one of the main reasons why it is my dream to one day play Eponine from Les Miserable, a role Lea once played.
During eighth grade I started to really love One Direction. At first, I thought I would hate them because I always said I’d never be one of those weird teenage girls that scream over singers. Well, I became one of those teenage girls, and honestly, I still really love One Direction (even though they haven’t been as active lately). I will never forget my first One Direction concert; I was so overjoyed that it was surprising I was even able to function afterwards.
By my freshman year, I added Ed Sheeran and Five Seconds of Summer to my repertoire. I dedicated my Tumblr and Twitter to them, which was pretty fun. Through this, I actually even met new people online (yes, I am aware that parents always say not to talk to strangers online) that were from different places in the world, which was both interesting and enlightening. Even today, I still talk to people I have met on Tumblr or Twitter. Also, I like to look back on my posts occasionally and wonder why I was like that in middle school!
Around this time, I went to my first concert too. It was a Demi Lovato concert and I was so scared because I went alone! I had no idea what it would be like and I thought that people would think I was weird if I started singing along. At first, I was very shy and barely said anything aloud. Then suddenly the music hit me and I could feel the beat of the drum, which felt like it became the beat of my heart. By the end of the concert I was jumping around and yelling my heart out and I didn’t care who judged me. After that, I fell in love with concerts. The feeling of being surrounded by people who enjoy the same music as me and also related to the artist’s music is what always me feel so happy and carefree at concerts. It can also be a shock for me to see an artist live, no matter how many times I’ve seen them. The fact that they are able to impact so many people with their music is a magical experience. This is primarily what draws me to music—the strong pull music can have in influencing people in ways that I may never truly understand.