Music is the answer

This piece is featured in the collaborative project between WhyNot and Project See and B for Propel Youth Arts WA 2024 KickstART Festival in Western Australia.

Words by Wilson Tan (he/him) 23 WA

Everyone in today’s world has personal interests. It is those interests that entertain, enlighten, encourage, and inspire us until they eventually form the building blocks of our lives. That is how music is to me. My passion for it runs deep like no other. This is because of how therapeutic and culturally enriching it has been in my life.

I endured 20 years of hell. Years of abuse and baseless accusations made me feel like the whole of society outcasted me. I thought this was how my life was meant to be, one that was aimless, defeated, and meaningless. So, at 21, I had enough. I walked into one of those random nightclubs with the intention of getting high. I was probably thinking weed could do the trick, but I found something even better. The DJ was playing ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna and Calvin Harris, and who knew that listening to this song live for the first time would be the instance that started it all.

The chorus of this favourite song of mine still stays in my head today because of just how powerful the line ‘We found love in a hopeless place’ is. It reminded me that even in the midst of darkness, there was hope and inspiration within my suffering. It inspired me to enrol in a music degree, whereby I learnt how to express my struggles through the creation of moody lyrics and harsh melodies. It inspired me to pick up DJING, whereby I learnt how to tone down the stress and anxiety levels that I sustained from those painful years by getting used to mixing accordingly to fit different crowds. It gave me inspiration to continuously curate a personalized playlist of fist pumping electronic dance music songs to jam to and cheer me up whenever I feel down or tense.

Just as how the saying, ‘Time heals all wounds’ goes, I believed music did the same for me.

Most people would say that music is a universal language that connects people of all ages. I strongly resonate with this. Every time I DJ’d, went to a concert, or got reminded of my time in that random nightclub, the smiles on the crowd always gave me a sense of unity whereby I felt that everyone just wanted to have fun together and not be reminded of the troubles that awaited them or were currently facing.

Through dancing and singing together, I made countless friends who shared my passion for the EDM genre. We shared our songwriting techniques, production methods and new artists to listen to, all of which served as different forms of inspiration in our personal musical journeys.

Music aside, I got introduced to a wide variety of cuisines whereby I became aware of specific cafes and restaurants that serves only the best food that can provide me a comfort meal after a long day. Just like how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow suggests, “Music is the universal language of mankind”, I believed it did wonders in connecting me with people of different cultures and learning so much interesting facts and opinions from them.

Music to me is more than just a sound. It is an art form that transcends boundaries because, when heard or replicated, it can alter our emotions to bring out the best versions of ourselves, allowing us to shape cultures, inspire movements, and touch lives. I thank God for the existence of music as my buddy and advisor for life. Without it, I probably would not be alive today.


Illustration by Jodie. You can find more of her work on Instagram @jodie_ellin

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