I have always been more than one kind of writer. As a journalism student, I am the writer that seeks truth, reports and condenses information into a column or article that gets the point across.
As a songwriter, I seek out the most abstract parts of life, the things we as humans struggle to comprehend mentally and emotionally, and I attempt to turn those things into a blend of lyrics, melody and beat. In the end, hopefully, I have created something somebody can relate to.
One would think that during a pandemic, the journalist in me would be going crazy with ideas and questions. While that is true in a sense, the songwriter in me has actually been more prominent these days.
What is interesting about right now is that every single person on Earth can relate to each other in at least a few ways. We are all a bit afraid to go to the grocery store, we miss our friends and family and we are fairly uncertain about what the next week or even the next day will be.
To me, this means there are endless possibilities for songs. If I am writing about how I am feeling right now, there is a good chance almost every single person on Earth will relate to it in some way.
The coronavirus has stressed the importance of music to me more than ever. Music is how so many people around the world are coping, and it is how so many of us are connecting with each other.
Take the “One World: Together at Home” concert that happened on April 18. Millions of people sat in their homes and watched as musicians talked to us about their lives and played songs that made us all feel a bit more connected to each other.
Lady Gaga started by saying, “What I would like to do right now is just give you the permission, for a moment, to… smile though your heart is breaking, smile even though it’s aching.”
“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there is always tomorrow” we heard Stevie Wonder sing to us through our televisions. “Lean on me when you’re not strong.”
Kacey Musgraves reminded us that there is still light and beauty even in a dark times with her song “Rainbow” that goes, “Darling I’m just trying to tell you, that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.”
Finally, Taylor Swift gave us hope that the world will recover from this with the lyrics, “Soon you’ll get better, you’ll get better soon, ’cause you have to.”
Everyone at home maybe closed their eyes for a moment, listened to the notes on the pianos and the strum of the guitars and truly discovered what all those lyrics mean. For the first time, almost everyone in the world might have related to them.
It is in the darkest moments of life that I have turned to music, just like so many others. In times when I feel intense devastation or sadness, I sit at the piano in my living room and play all the minor keys. When I feel great amounts of joy, I strum the major notes on my guitar. If I am feeling lost or confused or bored with life, I write down lyrics to try to condense how I am feeling into an answer in the form of rhyme.
I take anything I know that makes sound, and I give life to the messy thoughts and emotions running through my mind.
Every morning during quarantine, part of my routine has been to sit at the piano and just play for a while. I play whatever song I am relating to at the moment, and sometimes I find myself tapping on middle C over and over while I consider what I will do for the rest of the day.
I then turn away and pick up my acoustic guitar to finish the song idea that popped into my head at 2 a.m. the night before that I furiously typed into the notes app on my phone.
Sometimes if I can’t sleep at all, awake with the questions of what tomorrow might bring, I will plug my headphones into the keyboard in my room and create a melody that puts me to sleep.
In times of crisis, we are told to hold onto the things we love. Hold on tight to your loved ones, keep your friends and family close and remember the important things in life. That is what will get you through.
While I am definitely holding my friends and family closer than ever before, I am also holding music closer than ever, as it is the truest, deepest love of my life.
Katrina Leibee is a student living in Highlands Ranch.