I have been influenced by music for as long as I can remember. When I was six, I thought I was going to be a famous singer and tour the world at sixteen. Boy oh boy, did I ever dream big.
I have been singing since I was a little girl, playing guitar and reading music since I was eight, and playing piano here and there since I was in my early teens. Being able to read music certainly helped in that department.
Throughout my journey and my numerous guitar and vocal lessons, I have had some pretty interesting music influences. From being fed Shania Twain, Bon Jovi (I can sing almost every single Bon Jovi lyric), and Queen at an early age (my parents always played their favourite music on full blast when I was younger), to finding my own musical path as I grew older, music has become a large part of my life and I don’t know where I’d be without it.
Here are a few musicians that have changed my life and the way I sing and play. I’m even including the most embarrassing ones, too…
Avril Lavigne (2001-2004)
No one has influenced me into music more than this punk rocker chick right here. The very first song I heard from Avril was “Complicated” and I was obsessed with it. Then along came “Sk8r Boi” and again, I couldn’t stop loving it. My dad bought her debut album, Let it Go, for my sister and I and we would play that thing on repeat!
I wanted to be just like Avril. I bought one of those wrist bands with the fake spikes on it (similar to the belt she’s wearing in the photo above) and I wanted to play the guitar so bad. When I turned eight, my parents bought me a tiny acoustic guitar and signed me up for lessons.
I won’t lie, I still jam out to her old school songs from time to time. “Losing Grip” and “Don’t Tell Me” are up there on my list of favourite songs by Avril Lavigne.
Hilary Duff (2002-2005)
“Lizzie McGuire has songs!?” These were my immediate thoughts as a seven-year-old when Hilary Duff came out with her first album, Metamorphosis. As embarrassing as it might be, I loved every single Hilary Duff song and had all of her albums. I even saw her live for my very first concert when I was nine. This was when her big hits were “Fly” and “So Yesterday.”
I think that Hilary was one of my biggest role models. She was always well-rounded (and still is) and great to look up to. I always imagined I’d be just like her when I grew up…
Taylor Swift (2007-2010)
Of course this girl would be on my list, right? I don’t really listen to her as much anymore, but when I was a pre-teen and a few years into high school, Taylor Swift songs were all I played on my acoustic guitar. I covered her songs so often that I memorized the chords for every single song on her Fearless album. I also loved her Red album and was fortunate enough to see her on the Red Tour.
Taylor Swift was a huge influence for me. She also didn’t really have bad press and was good to look up to. Her songs always related to my life – teenage heartbreak and fun, jumping around, party-type girly songs. I would always cover “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me,” “Red,” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.” When she shifted into the more “pop” kind of songs, that was when I was maturing musically and didn’t really cover as much from her. Although, I was, and still am, a fan of 1989.
The Killers (2009-present)
This is band is the biggest musical influence in my life. The Killers are my all time favourite band and I remember the very first time I heard one of their songs. I was in the backseat of the car in 2005 and “Mr. Brightside” played on the radio. It’s crazy to think that I was intrigued by this song at ten-years-old. It wasn’t until later on though, in 2009, when I had my own iPod that I would buy all of their albums so far on iTunes and listen to them on the regular.
I’m not sure what it is. It could be their timeless songs, the fact that they’ve tried new sounds and succeeded every single time, or Brandon Flowers’ mystical and luxurious voice; this band just gets to me and I love them so much.
I taught myself the guitar solo to “When You Were Young” when I was fifteen or sixteen on my electric guitar (and that song is my absolute favourite song of all time). Other favourites include “All These Things That I’ve Done,” “A Dustland Fairytale,” “Sweet Talk,” “Shot At The Night,” “Battle Born,” “The Calling,” and of course, “Mr. Brightside.” There are so many more that I probably forgot to list.
I saw them in concert in January and I almost cried lol… It was that overwhelming feeling of happiness and excitement mixed all into one. They were incredible, and everything I hoped for and more. Here’s a blurry photo I took while at the concert…
I’m not entirely sure of the exact years when Queen influenced me. As I mentioned before, I was really young when my dad would play Queen in the house and on long car rides. All I knew was that one day, I’d play the “Bohemian Rhapsody” guitar solo. You all know the one I’m talking about.
I remember in my guitar lessons, my dad would sit in the lesson with me at times and request songs for me to learn. He requested “Blackbird” by The Beatles (which I can now play continuously with my eyes closed) and he also requested “Bohemian Rhapsody.” At the time, I was fourteen or fifteen and I didn’t have the confidence to play that song. To this day, I regret not learning that solo.
I can, however, play an acoustic version of the song on my guitar. I can also play “Somebody To Love.” I love Queen. They are such a great band and all of their songs pump me up and provide me with inspiration and even motivation.
Lana del Rey (2011-present)
Lana del Rey has definitely inspired me, musically, and even within my creative processes. I listen to her music to help me get into the writing mood.
Her songs are sultry, but also very chilling to listen to. She has such a beautiful voice and a graceful presence. I really love to sing her songs because they allow me to showcase my full vocal range and musical ability. Some of my favourite songs of hers to perform are “Love,” “Blue Jeans,” “Ride,” “Brooklyn Baby,” “Born To Die,” and “Summertime Sadness.”
I don’t listen to her music religiously (definitely not as much as I do with The Killers), but her songs and her voice provide me with inspiration and confidence when I lack them.
Do you have any musicians that influence you? Share yours in the comments below!