Music has always played a big part in my life, and I often look back at my memories as if they were a soundtrack. I was never a huge New Kids On The Block fan because my older brother thought they were lame, and since he was eons cooler than me – I had to hold the same opinion, of course.
For me, it all began with Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, whose ‘Vision of Love’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ tropes were imitated endlessly by my girlfriends and I while we sat on the jungle gym at the playground (i.e. Annd IIII-EEE-III Will ALLL-Ways Love Youuuuuu), until we convinced ourselves we actually sounded pretty good. Bollywood music would be carry us through the long road trips with my four siblings – mom and dad would hum along to the Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi oldies and we would entertain ourselves during this pre-iPad era by playing the ‘ABC animal game’ and ‘Slug Bug’ and even by doing math problems. Side note: We were nerds.
Sitting in my room with Tupac on the discman (and other favorites like Snoop, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, and Bone Thugs N’ Harmony) was one of the only ways my angsty pre-teen self could get away and have some alone time – which was a rarity in my big family. I would flip through the cd insert (probably bought through BMG or Columbia house with one of those buy one get 25 free deals/scams) and read and memorize all of the lyrics to every song. I recall a bus trip to camp in sixth grade where the entire class sang ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ in sync – much to our teacher’s dismay. Then I think it was in Jr. High when ‘Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ 90’s grunge rock sparked my love of Rock N’ Roll and ultimately set me on a journey to discover and love bands like The Beatles, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin.
In high school, when we were finally able to drive and control our own music selections, we blasted out our speakers to Sublime, and the politically and socially charged Korn and Rage Against The Machine. I then moved to a neighborhood with a lot of fellow South Asian kids, and thus my love for Bhangra Music began, as it went hand in hand with my newfound love of partying. College brought me back to the old school, I recall sitting in coffee shops with cigarette smoke wafting in the air along with hipster favorites like The Smiths, The Cure, and Belle and Sebastian. When it came to college house parties, I imagine my girls and I dancing and laughing and the dj playing Jay-Z, P.Diddy, 50 Cent, Sean Paul, Nelly, Shakira, and Beyonce.
Lollapalooza reminds me of dating my husband, and going to Grant Park every year to see the hottest bands live always brings me right back to one of my favorite periods of my life. There is something magical about the combination of a bunch of people outside on a hot summer’s night watching their favorite band play live. The artist is at their most raw and vulnerable, their true talents are on display while they play instruments and sing without being able to rely on any post-production editing. The effect is hypnotic, and the mob of fans join together in one big Kumbaya sesh, where everyone loves everyone and the world is a much happier place.
Shakespeare summed it best when he said ‘If music be the food of love, play on.’
Look 1: Dress: Thanks to: Rebecca Minkoff | Shoes: Everlane | Jacket: Zadig and Voltaire – Similar Style | Bag: Thanks to: Patricia Nash Designs (sold out) – Similar Style | Sunnies: Celine | Watch: Thanks to Jord | Bracelets: Nordstrom | Necklace: Rocksbox – Get your free trial using code LoveZahraxoxo at checkout!)