Gentle reader: What does music mean to you? Today it’s my great honour to share a guest post from my good friend Jay Kuhns (aka @jrkuhns on Twitter) on what music means to him.
Before we get to Jay’s words, I want to let you in on something. Music is everything to me. I am so glad that music found me. This sentiment is expressed perfectly in a wonderful quotation from a Big Issue interview with Mary J Blige shared on Twitter just this last week by my good friend Tim Scott:
“The music that saves us, I don’t think we look for it – it finds us. I was five years old when I first heard Stevie Wonder’s Songs In the Key of Life. When I was five and I heard that album for the first time, it just found me.”
It’s fair to say that Jay Kuhns fully appreciates the power of music, how it finds you and how it helps you. Jay is one of my longest-standing Twitter friends, and one of those that I respect the most. Jay’s NoExcusesHR blog is endlessly inspiring to me. Jay’s posts are all about what he is all about: Relentless self-examination, re-evaluation and reinvention, driven by the desire always to do better for himself and for everyone. Never to settle. No excuses.
Jay’s written about what music means to him. Jay is truly devoted to his music. It is only right that a gentleman with such relentless drive should have an affinity for the most relentless of music.
Because, metal (by Jay Kuhns)
I’m taking a risk today. Seriously, I’m not kidding. I’ve written more than 750 blog posts on NoExcusesHR, but today I’m going to share a completely different, and very personal side of me.
My friend Michael Carty (who I have so much respect for, I cannot put it into words) graciously asked me to contribute a blog post on the topic of ‘what music means to me.’
…and that my friends…sent me into a bit of a tailspin…
Now, many months later, I’ve decided to be honest with you…and perhaps more importantly, with myself.
Open Minds Are Important
I preach the value of having an open mind constantly. That skill, perhaps above all others, allows leaders to be their most effective. However, when it comes to music, my music, an open mind is inconceivable.
Sure, I listen to a variety of musical genres…and they do all sorts of positive things for me depending on my mood. But, that “mix” represents less than 10% of my musical spectrum.
Only One Option
Maybe it was my upbringing during the 1980s in middle class America? Maybe it was that initial rush I felt when I heard it for the first time that has never left? Or, candidly, it may simply be the option I was destined for with my high intensity, faster-is-always-better personality?
It doesn’t matter why. My challenge is to somehow describe what it means…how it makes me feel…how it gets me through so many things…
The Power and the Glory
I am a head-banging, mosh-pit loving, devoted fan of heavy metal.
No other genre comes close to the speed, intensity, technical skill, and energy that metal delivers. Don’t argue, remember my mind is locked tighter than any pop, funk, classical, folk, rock, jazz, country or hip hop response you could ever dream up.
“Music can do that…it can pump you up, soothe your soul, stir emotions or push you to the most intense level ever.”
As the years have rolled on some interesting things have happened in my metal life. My preferences within the many sub-genres of the metal community remained where they began, fast, heavy and aggressive.
Why? The answer is simple for those of us who are part of that community…
How About You
What does your music do for you? Is it an escape, an outlet to relax, perhaps your life soundtrack playing in the background? Or, is it something more?
What does metal do for me?
I’d love to hear from you.
Three metal classics, as selected by Jay Kuhns
The song that got me into metal: Metallica – Ride The Lightning.
My favorite ever metal song: Slayer – Black Magic.
My current favorite metal song: Be’lakor – Abeyance.