To me, music is a universal language that breaks barriers that everyday communication cannot. Music makes you feel something. It’s funny, you don’t have to always relate and you don’t have to understand it as a language either. It just has to feel good to you, and that’s exactly what it did for me.

Music has the ability to put you at ease, comfort you, make you think or relate. Some songs are dear to us because it explains our pain or joy. For some music is just a ‘feel good’ for their day to day lives. Others like to dance and move their body to music. It transcends into so many things and how it’s interpreted is up to you and how you feel.

For the most part, I enjoy listening to hip-hop, R’n’B, rap, dancehall and afrobeats. I like the occasional ballad or indie song too.

Also, I love listening to music in different languages as much as I love learning them. I’ve had a Dutch hip hop phase, Swedish and French R’n’B phase and a Latin music phase. Honestly, I find it amazing how I can listen to music from all over the world with a simple search and find absolute hits. I must say it also motivates me to study the language more thoroughly. So if you ever want to learn a language, find some hits and try to study and understand what they’re saying. If you’re a music head, it’s really enjoyable!

Honestly speaking, my parents were never musical so I have no prior affluence to it. My love for music began as a toddler watching tv shows like Barney or Tellitubbies and singing along with the theme songs. Nursery rhymes went number one in my household and I would only hear real music from the occasional radio play or a hit I would hear when I’m outside or in the shops.

When I was 8 years old my mother bought her first computer and this is when I discovered YouTube. It was new territory for me. Hearing American hip hop for the first time. With the likes of Chris brown, t-pain, Soulja boy (I thought he was the coolest guy on the scene) and Akon. I thought damn, this is what I missing out on? I love it. From there music became a daily thing and I would sit for hours after school finding new music.

As a child, I became quite musical. I remember learning how to play the violin and performing on school talent shows. I taught myself how to play the guitar and piano when I was 10 years old through YouTube. I learnt basic chords and taught myself how to play my favourite songs.

In my teenage years, I relied on music a lot. To and from hospital journeys and preventing breakdowns I would blast music in my earphones and shut the world off. ‘Drake on, world off’ kind of vibes. His take care album was a prominent soundtrack of my adolescence. Everyone remembers blackberry phones, right? Well, you’d never catch me without drakes take care album updated on my status. As much as my teenage years traumatised me hearing that album makes me extremely nostalgic.

The Weeknd became an absolute favourite of mine as a teenager. I was truly obsessed with his trilogy album. The dark RnB was so eerie but so relaxingly captivating. Also, not to mention his ridiculously good vocals. He wasn’t like any other artist and truly created a sound for himself that many cannot emulate.

Another Toronto artist I adore is partynextdoor. What can I say? He has almost every girl hooked on his unique yet sensual sound and lyrics. Hearing his songs just make you feel good. It’s the type of songs you want to play at party or from a high rise apartment complex on the balcony at night while viewing the city. Definitely want to get my license just for those night time drives and amazing music.

One of my favourite female artists has to be Jhene Aiko. Her soft and sweet tone is so soothing. Her art is truly her heart and boy does it flow beautifully. I find it astonishing that you can pour out your heart creatively and people are willing to listen and love what you say. Art knows no boundaries and whoever loves it, loves it.

When I became 18, I began clubbing for the first time. It was so fun and I always loved loud music (not so much socialising but I was down for it) I feel like clubbing in a capital city as a late teen is always an experience. You meet interesting people, wealthy people, scary people. Everybody comes from different walks of life but ultimately we’re here to enjoy music and have fun.

In my early adulthood, I took my love of music to the next level. I was referred to a music charity… I was able to use studios/performance rooms at this place. It was just before covid. I went in the studio and made a rap about what I went through, I sung and wrote songs. I learnt how to DJ and make beats. I was deep into my creativity. Honestly, it was the best time of my life. I met loads of like-minded people who somewhat related to me and had the same interests. Majority of the time I practised DJing and before you knew it, I had my first performance to attend. A day before my 22nd birthday. I wasn’t nervous. I was calm and ready kill it. I did a 40 minute set and had the audience on their feet and had people asking me to DJ for their celebrations. It was one of the best nights of my life and I’ll never forget it.

Now I’m currently in my mid 20’s, my love for music will never die. I still sing and write my own music from time to time. I might pursue music in the future, I might not. We’ll have to see where it goes.

How does music make you feel? Do you like it or do you have different interests? Let me know.

– laylani