Music and Joy

To me, these two words have become almost interchangeable when it’s about music that sparks joy in me. Literally, since I remember myself I could be in a good mood for at least a day when one of my favorite singers produced a new album.

I was born an a family of two musicians and was taught to love this joyous experience every time when I hear a good bass guitar improvisation or someone sing in this naturally flavorful authentic tuneful manner coming from the heart and soul of the singer. My parents and my elder sister would always point these moments to each other and taught me feel so grateful for the existence of this amazing thing – music.

Sometimes, when I feel sad or overwhelmed with something, music becomes my healer. At those moments when I feel weak, I just need to listen to Diane Shuur or Etta James and sing along to feel better about myself. Yes. I feel so much better after singing and sometimes even crying at the same time. I do it when nobody sees me.

I used to study vocal back in Russia and my teacher Galina Filatova would listen to a song I chose for my performance and even though, sometimes, she wouldn’t understand the lyrics, she would still try to make me match emotions of the singer and talk to me on a very emotional level about my personal life, use my demolished hopes or fantastic experiences in order for me to make her cry by singing as emotionally as I could. We had two posters on the wall at the singing room, – two posters of famous black musicians and she made me imagine that they were alive and talk to them pronouncing the lyrics of my song before I start singing. I remember it felt pretty real.

Even though I understand that my life is wonderful and there are so many things to thank God for… but sometimes, when there’s an obstacle on my family’s way, I become very sad. Especially if I can’t fix a problem myself at that moment. This morning I woke up sad. I needed joy and it wouldn’t come. So I decided to sing. I sang until I couldn’t control my voice anymore, until I couldn’t see the lyrics of the songs I chose through my tears. And you know what? I felt enlivened. Music brings this feeling in me – the feeling of being alive. Maybe that’s why it was so easy for me to love New York, – the heart of jazz music.

Some Etta James for you. And some Ukrainian heart-singer also. EnJoy.