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Music has always been my number one source of expression. I started writing songs at the age of nine, heavily influenced by my father, who’s been a musician since his teenage years. He’s performed at many venues including Canada’s Wonderland, and he’s spent many evenings in cafés, showcasing his own music.

My father is the reason that I turn to music so frequently. He’s written some incredible songs that I would hear him play when I was very little, and they’ve stuck with me all the way into my twenties. I hope that one day people will see how talented and how in touch with his gift he is.

My mother was also a huge influence on my musical taste, and made me realize the connection between music and emotion. My mother, in my eyes, was the most beautiful singer I have ever heard. For years I pleaded for her to answer one question; “Mom, why have you never pursued a singing career?” I’ll never know. She has been gone for almost three years now.

Music is the most important outlet for all of my emotions. I’ve never gone a single day without listening to music, or singing. As human beings, we express hundreds if not thousands of emotions, and many of those emotions end up stored in our subconscious and never get expressed at all.

Most of us need to find ways to release our emotions

I find that the best songs, from radio to self-made, are ones that dig into emotion. I have never understood people who don’t listen to music at all, or find no interest in it. I’ll agree that there are songs that simply resemble “noise” and seem disconnected. But there is so much beauty in music.

Which is why I cannot narrow my interest to one genre. When I hear a song — vocal or instrumental — I look for the emotion that the artist is trying to convey to me. (With all of these opinions I’ve expressed, I’ve frequently heard the comment that I am an “old soul”, which I’ve harnessed as a part of who I am.)

But I never saw the true beauty of music until I joined the Toronto Beaches Children and Youth Chorus. I was 12 years old and my mother and I always sang in harmony in the comfort of our apartment, so I was not afraid to put myself out there. However, choir was an eye opener for me in terms of performing and getting in touch with my musical personality.

The most important thing I learned from my choir was about family

I may not have been close to everyone in the chorus, but regardless, we were a family. Choir was a place I went to every Thursday evening after school; they were, and still are, family.

In every rehearsal and every performance — from New York City to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry — my choir shared their vision of family and the magic of music. They are the most beautiful family I was ever a part of, and I will continue to support them for eternity. I still talk to them today, and they will never leave my life, physically or emotionally. I love my choir family, and hope they never stop sharing their presence and message with the world.

All forms of music — from instrumentals to electronic sounds to the human voice — are so powerful. Music flows through me every single day, whether I express it out loud or not. Music will forever be the most mesmerizing mystery, and I will never stop sharing music with others, and practicing it myself.

I’m writing this piece with my mother in mind. I love you and miss you every day, and hear your voice singing everywhere I go. I always thought of you as my guardian angel, and now you’ve become the best one I could ask for.

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