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If you love music

2013/01/24

It’s hard to define the impact a singer can have on a listener. I’d like to address an open letter to the music makers (singers, songwriters, studio musicians, producers) that make it happen.

Here goes.

I’m not the cheering fangirl waving signs and lightsticks. I can’t come to your concerts, your fanmeetings. Sometimes, I can’t even buy your CDs, some of which went out of print before I had the chance. However, I believe that I’m just a different kind of fan.

I’m the fan who stumbled into you by accident while surfing the internet. I’m the fan that feels like hearing your music for the first time was a fateful meeting, and every time I listened, I wanted to hear more. It didn’t matter that none of my school friends knew who you were. Your music was the friend that made me feel good when I was down, without pretending to try to understand my circumstances.

The years passed. Other singers’ songs were easier to find on the internet or hear on the radio so I listened to them more and more. I stopped caring if songs were heartfelt and focused on learning to evaluate ability and skill. Talented idols debuted left and right but there was always something lacking that I couldn’t name.

Today, I listened to one of the old songs. I smiled because it was so familiar even though I hadn’t listened in years. And I realized that what I was missing was the unwavering conviction that pushed you to gamble on making music, no matter how you would achieve that, no matter how trained up your competition was. I respect you and want to support you. I want you to know that it’s not about the size of your fanclub but the sincerity of their feelings.

I wanted to buy all those songs that I listened to in order to show you how much your music means to me but I can’t because the industry is a numbers-driven machine. You don’t sell, they stop production, I guess.

The feeling is complicated. Like breaking an oath that nobody held you to. This is the most I can do. I am not a fan: I am a supporter. I will not agree with everything you do yet my feelings toward you will not change. And I hope that one day you will let me buy those songs! Haha.

I want to remind everyone what it means to support somebody. It’s not being the loudest screamer at the concerts. It’s not pasting pictures of your idols on everything that you can. It’s not stalking them and trying to make them remember you. It’s not the comments you leave on the fan cafe, and it’s not the subscription you pay to join the ranks. It’s that connection you make to the musicians when you hear what they produce and fully enjoy it. It’s paying for your copy of the music. It’s a sense of warm gratitude towards all the work that went into making your favorite song. It’s singing along during a performance and standing up when you applaud. The relationship between music makers and music listeners is special and can be challenging to accept, but learning how to do it right is one of the best things you could ever do for yourself.

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