The reality is … Taylor Swift touches more lives that just those of junior high girls. As a 40-year-old, father of two, I can honestly say that real men listen to Taylor Swift. In the summer of 2005, my wife and I (an engineer and a nurse) left our careers in order to pursue a passion. A passion to provide world-class, heart-felt birthday parties to families and children in our area. In 2006, our dream became reality as we began construction of our indoor party facility. The day we broke ground was one of the best days of my life. Then life hit … and it hit hard. Within weeks, our cousin’s husband passed away from cancer at the age of 39. One year later, our cousin (his wife) was killed in a house fire, leaving their two young children orphaned. Four weeks before our grand opening, my mother died from cancer. Throw in an autistic son, a devastating crash on Wall Street, our local economy going down the drain … there may not have been a worse time ever to drop everything and open a business. Three years passed, falling deeper into debt and struggling to find any happiness. That fall, a business associate gave me a pair of tickets to take my 6-year-old son to go see some young Country artist …Taylor Swift. Truly a life changing experience. This young star put on a show that was loved by kids, parents, grandparents and everyone in between. Since that concert, I have learned a lot about Taylor. Her story is amazing, her lyrics are inspiring and most of all, as a parent, I encourage my children to look up to her. Her music has brought our family back together. It helped us get through a stretch in our lives where happiness was not easy to find . When my kids look back on those years, they will never even know the pain the family endured. Jump to today … the business is thriving. The pain from the losses of family has eased and the entire family made it through. I truly don’t know how I could have managed had it not been for the words and the inspiration coming from a self-made superstar half my own age. Many people have gifts, but few use those talents and gifts to truly make the world a better place to live. From a Chaperone Dad turned Humbled Fan…”Thank You!” (This story was chosen as a finalist of Give The Gift Of Music’s “Countdown To CMA” essay contest.)
Take a moment to let us know your favorite music gifting memory. Then read what others have said ... the stories here are truly inspiring.
The well-known song “Speak Now” by Country, Pop artist Taylor Swift has moved me in so many ways. Not only the song has moved me, but the lyrics as well. Taylor herself has been such an inspiration to me for 4 years now. She’s been with me through it all — break ups, family fights, best friend problems, and over all problems within myself that I wouldn’t have been able to solve with all the weight I carried on my shoulders. One song in particularly spoke to me the most, and that was “Speak Now.” I have always kept everything to myself, not wanting to stir up commotion if I wanted to say something to someone, or had an opinion, I wouldn’t say anything at all. Furthermore in school I over saw a kid being bullied. I was very frightened at the sight of it and didn’t know what to do. I went home that night and prayed, and I heard God saying to me, “You should’ve spoke now.” Keeping this concern to myself, afraid of being bullied, I kept quiet.. The next day after my cheerleading practice, I witnessed it again. The lyrics from “I hear the preacher say, speak now or forever hold your peace” came into my head, and God was the preacher. I knew what I had to do. So, “There’s a silence, there’s my last chance, I stand up with shaking hands, all eyes on me.” I walked straight up to him and said if he didn’t stop I’d report him and drive him straight out of this school. He hurriedly left the scene leaving the poor girl sitting in tears. I comforted her and told her I was here for her. She and I are now best friends. She was being bullied and abused by her boyfriend. She talked to her parents and counselors and that boy was never seen in our halls again. Taylor Swift made a huge impact on not only my life, but saved my best friends. I couldn’t thank her enough. (This story was chosen as a finalist of Give The Gift Of Music’s “Countdown To CMA” essay contest.)
The CMA Awards nominee that inspired me and still inspires me is Taylor Swift. While all of her songs inspire me, one in particular stuck out most of all. Taylor’s song “Mean” has particular meaning to me. Last year I went through a really rough time … I had broken up with this guy, who as it turned out had been lying to me about everything. Where he came from, his life, work, and countless other things. We have a child together and at the time our son was only 5 months old. This guy had gotten physical with me a couple times, each time worse than the last. I finally gathered up the courage and left him. After that he went completely off the deep end. Stalking me, waiting outside my house in the bushes for me to get home and assaulting me, as well as threatening my friends and family. I decided that I needed to take steps to protect myself and Brody. I filed for a restraining order for myself and asked for sole custody with no visiting rights. I was walked all over in court and he ended up getting our son a couple nights a week. I was absolutely devastated, he was still calling me, threatening me …I was constantly looking over my shoulder. I got smart and lawyered up. The next time we were in court, I remember I was so nervous that day. I couldn’t eat anything. I was shaking. I was so flustered that I would have to testify again him. In family court, they make everyone sit in the hallway before court begins and I was there alone waiting for my dad when he walked in with a friend of his. He came up and said some mean things, put me down like he usually does. I walked away from him and sat down on a bench right next to court door. He stayed a little ways down the hallway, but he was pacing and glaring at me the whole time. I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying but I could tell he wasn’t happy. Now I was really upset and I still had a good 20 minutes or so before court began. So I reached in my bag and I pulled out my little pink ipod. Taylor’s ”Sparks Fly” had just dropped and I hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to it all. The first song that comes up on my shuffle is “Mean.” It fit the mood so perfectly that I can’t even describe the feeling of hearing that song at that exact moment. I just kept hitting repeat over and over and over again until I was mouthing the words as I glanced over at my ex. That day in court, they took away all of his custody and restrained him from seeing or contacting myself or our son. With the freedom that day granted me, I worked my but off as a single mother to get to a place where he could never touch me again. And today I have a beautiful 20 month old son, an absolutely amazing boyfriend, an adorable little house and a crazy dog. I work full time at a child care center that cares for special needs children and I am graduating college next semester. I feel like I’m on top of the world and I am no longer looking over my should and I never will again because all he will ever be is mean. (This story was chosen as a finalist of Give The Gift Of Music’s “Countdown To CMA” essay contest.)
Martina McBride and her song “Im Gonna Love You Through It” has got to be the most moving song and video ever. Especially for me because I am just now starting the road to being a cancer survivor. September of 2010, just 1 year ago, I found out that I had Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma Endometrial cancer. If it had not been for all the support I received from my family and friends, I do not believe I would have made it. Her song comes just as I start my trip to be a “cancer survivor” and I know that “they will love me thru it.” Martina’s songs have spoke of many good things. but this one is really special to me. In my heart, I believe that she sang this song just for “me.” She has given me the gift of music. I know there are many more people out there, just this year alone, that will make this song “their” song and they too will accept the gift of music that Martina has given. Thank You Martina from me, my supporters, and a ton of survivors! (This story was chosen as a finalist of Give The Gift Of Music’s “Countdown To CMA” essay contest.)
Have you ever had to witness your world crumble up and disappear right before your eyes? Have you ever been a part of something so heartbreaking you didn’t know if you could get through another day? Have you ever lost your best friend, hero, and role model all at one time? That was me when I had to watch my mom suffer for months and die in a hospital bed right in front of me. I didn’t know where to go from there or what to do, I felt hopeless, helpless, and alone. The one and only thing that gave me comfort for months, was one of the 2011 CMA Award nominees- Rascal Flatts. I can’t even fully explain how their music has completely changed my world around. I don’t even know where I would be without their ‘Me and My Gang’ album in my life. ‘What Hurts the Most’ that was becoming popular when my mom was in the hospital and I heard every day on the way to and from the hospital. After seeing the music video, it helped me realize that death can happen very unexpectedly, and at least I had the opportunity to say goodbye to my mom. ‘Stand’ was the song that I listened to constantly. I would sit in my room alone, in the dark, and listen to it over and over. It’s what finally gave the courage to stand up and embrace life with all that I have, despite the sadness and obstacles I have faced. And then I fully realized what ‘My Wish’ means to me. It’s the words that I truly believe my mom is saying to me up in heaven. It’s the hopes, dreams, and wishes she has for me and my life. And whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think of her and smile. Since this experience, Rascal Flatts has become my idol. Every one of their songs and lyrics can speak to me in personal ways that bring comfort to my life. And being raised the way I was, I feel as though it’s my duty to find a way to express to them how much they have changed my life. They not only influence it, but everyday (much like their song) they save my life. (This story was chosen as a finalist of Give The Gift Of Music’s “Countdown To CMA” essay contest.)
I was in a car accident in August 2 months ago. It was so scary because my mom was just driving along
until bam! A car blew a stop sign and hit us. They totaled our car and we had to get a new one. Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album has helped me in so
many ways to get through this tough time.
In third grade, I used to go into my sister’s room take one of her CDs and play it. One day I just so happened to stumble upon Taylor Swift’s first album. I then proceeded to memorize every single song by listening to it over and over. This was just the start of my love of Taylor Swift.
When I was young, I loved to listen music like Rock, love stories, R&B, and etc.. but since I started listening to Taylor Swift, I have been so inspired by her. She makes my life enchanted. She inspires me a lot when I’m alone. I’m so disappointed when she has a concert here in the Philippines and I didn’t get a tickets.
About, in fourth grade, EVERYONE was listening to Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Rap. I was listening it to and all thinking that all the cool kids listened to this because OBVIOUSLY they did. In fifth grade, my friend Belle introduced me to this crazy Japanese song and I was like “OH MY GOD. I NEED MORE!!” So, I looked it up and stuff and I was IN LOVE with the singer Len Kagamine. Now, my favorite singers are Kagamine Len, Hatsune Miku, and KAITO. J-pop and J-rock inspire me and I LOVE how I can relate to some VOCALOID songs.
My husband and I had been married for four years and we never had a special song that we could call ours until one day we were going shopping, and low and behold. Taylor Swift was singing “Our Song”. We both looked at each other at the same time and my husband said, “How did she know us.” We did not know her name, but we did not take long to find out. Everything she sings in the song pertained to us when we were dating. Thank You Taylor, it us because of you we now have “our song ” after forty years
I listened to Country music for as long as I can remember. Country music helped me get through many challenges as I grew older. The one that comes to mind is “Independence Day” by Martina McBride, I had just become a foster parent and watching the video and seeing the heart and soul she put into that song made the days go a lot easier. Every time I hear that song to this day it brings back the memories of the past. I have all of Martina’s CDs. I can relate to many of her songs “Concrete Angel” is one that helped me make a tough decision. I think I am here today because of it. The song “Anyway” should have received an award because it really is the way we should all be in making choices. Alabama’s “Angels Among Us” is also one of my favorites. Thank you Martina and Alabama for your music that I know without it I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you to all the true Country music artists that have filled our hearts and minds with your gifts.
My favorite music memory was when I started high school and didn’t even like Country music yet. The radio on the bus was playing Country and my bus driver didn’t want to change the station. Of course, she states that and it’s dead quiet on the bus because it was morning and we aren’t awake enough. I didn’t really love Country music until a year into my high school years. I was a sophomore in high school when I really started taking it seriously since I’d heard enough of it to start loving it. I love Country music because it literally speaks to you. It’s about life experiences and the stories you experience via songs. My musical role models are Frankie Ballard and Keith Urban. I have seen Keith Urban sic times in concert and he’s just a rock star on stage and really loves playing that guitar. He’s part of the reason I want to learn guitar. Frankie is another good role model because he’s so down to earth and so friendly. I haven’t talked to him in person but via his Facebook musician page. He’ll comment his fans back and he seems to really care about his fans.
I remember someone telling me there was a new country singer. She was blond and she was going to be a big star. Ever since I can remember, 13 has been something that no one has had in common with me as a lucky number since Taylor. They said she sang a song Tim Mcgraw that was an amazing song. I got her CD for my birthday and have not stopped loving Taylor since then. She is my inspiration and my idol. She is the best singer out there. No one is so nice and more appreciative to their fans. I am going to 3 of her “Speak Now” concerts and I am sure the other 2 will be just as amazing as the first. Thanks for making me FEARLESS Taylor.
If it weren’t for music I don’t know where I’d be today. Music has helped me thru every part of my life. Growing up without a father wasn’t ever easy and often made me angry. After hearing Celine Dion’s “My heart Will Go On” from the Titanic soundtrack, I realized God was giving me an outlet. I turned to music to help me understand things that were going on in life and I was able to express myself thru my own music. It never had to be published or even heard, but I knew it was my gift. Music still plays a big role in my life now as my fiancé, who is in the military, is often gone and I am left alone with just my music. I sleep with the Country music channel on. We put different ring back tones to express how much we miss each other and often put Facebook status of our favorite songs. Now working in health care, I often sing to my patients when they are upset or read them words of a song giving them hope it will be okay! Without music I don’t know where my life would be, but with music I always know where to go! Thank you to every singer/ songwriter for helping with all that you do.
I am a blessed Grandma of 8 … I am fortunate enough to be able to give the gift of live music to them as they are growing up. I have always been a live concert fan — way back to when Elvis came to Kansas City. Three of my granddaughters have a very speical music love that I have been able to give them a live performance of. The first is a 12 year old – that had a huge crush on David Archeluta. He came to Kansas City in December of 2009. Her birthday is in December for it was perfect. We had a snowstorm that night, so her Dad brought her to my house. I gave her the tickets and they headed to the concert… “best night of her life”… For my 15 year old granddaugher’s 16th birthday, I was able to join the Michael Buble’ fan club, so that I could pre-purchase tickets. Got floor seats, 15 rows from the stage on the aisle. He walked by and she touched him … “OMG, best night of her life.” For my 7 year old granddaughter the surprise is yet to come. She has been singing Taylor Swift into a brush and putting on a show since she was 5. We even got her a iPod shuffle for Christmas and loaded it down with Taylor and church music! Her birthday is in September 5 days after Taylor’s concert her … so her mother and I are going to surprise her an hour before the concert with a new twirly dress, a cowboy hat and boots … then the tickets. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are for this surprise. I love music and so glad my girls do to so we can make these awesome memories!
Rascal Flatts is my favorite band, but as much as I loved them, I never thought they’d be so important to me. In February of 2011, I had a depressive episode and was ready to end my life. I turned on my radio and played it so no one could hear me crying. Then, right as I slipped the noose onto my neck, Rascal Flatts’ newest song played. I sobbed harder as the chorus etched into my brain, “I will hold you tight, I will fight your fight,” and I realized that there could be someone who cares. Even if they don’t know me, and it may be stupid that a stranger saved my life, I will always be grateful, for both the song and my second chance. Thanks for the gift of this amazing song.
I remember the first time I heard about all the artist that were once just like me — a child growing up with many talents, having trouble being discovered, but they didn’t stop trying. When I first saw the Justin Bieber movie “Never Say Never,” it really touched my heart to see how he started off so young and knew what he wanted to do his whole life. This wonderful movie is trying to say NEVER GIVE UP, because you will succeed. Justin Bieber, “thank you for inspiring me.”
All through my childhood, I remember driving in the car with my mother listening to the radio and never thinking anything of it. Only until I was old enough where I would start going over my friends house and driving with THEIR moms did I realize that there was actually more to the radio than what I had been listening to. It was like I had been living on a completely different planet. I felt like, “this is what ‘cool’ people listen to.” Pop music had become my anthem from then on and I had never looked back. During my sophomore year in high school, I was looking through my mom’s old CDs and in reminisce I decided to put them in the player, and quickly realized what a fool I had been for completely vanishing such quality music so fast! From Rick James to Stevie Wonder, these people had soul! I needed more, so I hurried and gathered all of her albums and took the to my room. Six years later I still have them! Although I could never give up N*sync, The Spice Girls and countless other bands and musicians from the 90s and 00s, I just couldn’t believe how quickly I was to eliminate such great music to begin with! My musical spectrum has definitely broadened since my younger days and I hope to keep expanding it no matter what peer pressure urges me to do!
I remember the moment I fell in love with Katy Perry. I had just uploaded all of her songs onto my iTunes library, and I was listening to “SIMPLE.” In that moment, I realized I had found a celebrity that related to me in every way. I have been singing Katy Perry songs non-stop the past two years, and I adore her in every way. Katy inspires people to never give up on what they truly believe in, and to keep pushing forward in life until you feel like you’ve accomplished what you always knew you could. Because of Katy’s inspiration, I’m now in fashion school.
As a kid, I remember putting on shows for my family! I would gather my favorite songs, pop the CD in the stereo, and sing my heart out for the world to hear.