Music and the arts have greatly impacted my life. When I was younger, I was bullied, and that destroyed my self-esteem and made me angry. Listening to music from a diverse range of bands and artists—Eminem, Timbaland, Linkin Park, Nickelback—eased the tension I felt.
I wouldn’t have gotten into the arts were it not for my music teacher, who taught me to practice on a drum set and pushed me to do what makes me feel good about myself. Since then, I’ve been constantly listening to music and practicing my craft. The artistic interests in my life, like drawing, drumming and dancing, have given me an outlet and purpose.
I wanted to hear how art has been a part of others’ lives, so I talked to two local artists: Rene Dongo, the ZUMIX Radio Program Coordinator, and Kashus, a singer with me in the Boston Children’s Choir.
How did you first get into music?
Rene: I got into music because I like to dance. As a child, it was very fun to move around, and it's more fun when there's actual music playing, so my parents would play music for us— disco, salsa, ballads, anything. I would just dance around, and it was kind of something that was appreciated by my family. I think that was something that I liked about it, because it brought a lot of joy to my family. We all danced around, and it was something that was generally agreed upon as something that was really good to do.
Kashus: I've always been around music my whole life. Both my parents play a lot of music—hip hop, rock, alternative—so I've always been involved with music. Ever since I was young, I loved singing. I was singing before I was talking. I just came out the womb singing.
How has music impacted your life?
Rene: I think art changes everything when you’re a kid. Especially when I was a teenager, I feel like I was able to see a lot of art that made me think about how you could have power with it. Like when I watched a film and was like “Oh my God! I'm really super excited for this character,” I realized that was important. So talking about how much I appreciated art turned into, “Why can't I make art too?”
Kashus: Music is...what gets me up in the morning. If I feel unmotivated or depressed, music is always there to give me a little pick-me-up. I feel like music has made me a better person, because it inspires me to do art—to sing and to create music, poetry and writing.
Why do you think music is beneficial to people?
Rene: If music didn't exist, I feel like people would implode. I don’t know how people could contain themselves. People are always doing bass beats and kind of need music to let off steam. I think that helps people be a little free. Without music, can you imagine the world being super silent? I feel like music allows people to get on a different level of communicating with each other. You feel it.
Kashus: I don't know a single person who doesn't love music. There's so many different kinds of music that can relate to so many types of people. It's such a beautiful thing.