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Music is Healing

Music is Healing. Any other day I would have called ‘Bullshit’ on that phrase. Come on now. How can some warbled lyrics and off-beat guitar strumming heal me..?

Yet on the 22nd of May Nick Mulvey might have just stolen my heart, transforming The Royal Albert Hall into a sanctuary of emotional openness.

Leaving my university campus after my final exam I could not help but feel ‘so done’. I mean, although I am literally finished with my degree, I am alluding to something more; of being emotionally done.

Exhausted. Jaded. Unsure about what to do next. A whole host of emotions that I do not know what to do with. Yes, I have been existing off less than 5 hours sleep a night for the past two months. But I could not help but think that there is something more than a deep-set tiredness that is leaving me lack lustre.

Fast forward 5 hours, add a falafel wrap and, as I leave the Royal Albert Hall I feel reborn. Whole again.

One audience member shouted across the crowd “he’s a bit depressing isn’t he!?” I could not help but agree with him. Yet Nick’s depressing seemed to also bring its antithesis; a feeling of being uplifted; of ‘finding the light’. As he invited us to “go on and fill your heart up with gladness”, I could not help but think that this concert had come at the most perfect time.

We are not used to talking about how we feel, opening up to ourselves and others. I think that was what made him seem depressing; confronting us with something that we are so averse to. The fact that he was so honest and upfront about all of the ‘not great stuff’ that had been going on in his life. He was not just writing his feelings into a song and moving on. He highlighted those feelings. Making us aware of where they had come from.

All of his talk about emotions and letting yourself feel, reminded me of a conversation that I had with a loved one last week. He told me that it was ‘easier’ to just not talk about how you feel. When I pressed him on HOW it was easier he just shrugged his shoulders and lowered his gaze. I watched him for a short while, the sun catching his sullen cheekbones. I waited for him to elaborate, as he sometimes does when given the time and space. But I was met with nothing. The conversation closed.

We are conditioned to keep everything bottled up; not admitting that maybe, sometimes we are not OK. But it is OK to not be OK. We should allow ourselves to open up a space for discussion and to try to let someone else in. They might be able to help.

In one of Nick Mulvey’s most well-known songs Cucurucu, the majority of the Royal Albert Hall joined him in his chorus; a cacophony of slightly out of tune individuals. He specifically directed the men in the audience to sing the lyrics “yearning to belong” – telling them that it was OK to say that; to have a desire to be a part of something, and to open themselves up to it. I wish I could tell my friend that.

It cannot be beneficial to bottle everything up; to try to hide it from the world. I wish I could open my friend’s eyes. To say that it was OK to ‘yearn to belong’; to really feel.

WORDS BY ALICE HARRISON

@wanderlandh

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