'Music To My Years' by Courtenay S Gray

Music is a form of storytelling. I suppose you could say that music was my first introduction to the world of the arts. When I was younger, I was very much a lover of the popular music around. I loved The Pussycat Dolls; I had a DVD of the Top 40 Music Videos of that time; I loved ‘Blue’ by Eiffel 65, and I remember dancing to The Cheeky Girls with my cousin, shaking our bums and, haphazardly, trying to be sultry.

In Year 4 (8 years old) of Primary School, we were told that we were going to sing a song for one of our special assemblies. My teacher told us that the song was going to be ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ by a band called Pink Floyd. I had never heard of them before. I went home that day and told my dad what we were going to sing, and he had certainly heard of Pink Floyd. He said that he used to have one of their records when he was fifteen years old. We had the assembly and I definitely enjoyed singing the lyrics “we don’t need no education.”

The year after, my dad decided to take up playing the guitar and he started listening to a lot of rock music again. He would play Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Oasis and Pink Floyd. He played Pink Floyd most of all. It’s funny to think that there was a time that I didn’t know their lyrics off by heart. I started to learn the lyrics and I loved the band, and, in a short amount of time, my music tastes had taken a dramatic turn.

In 2009, a man who worked with my dad gave us some tickets for a Pink Floyd tribute band called Aussie Floyd. We had no idea what to expect — I was oddly expecting some biker gang. I was very wrong. They were phenomenal. They sounded just like Pink Floyd! I took a liking to the bass player/lead vocalist. He was only singing that year; I found out later that he usually only played bass. In 2011, half of the band became Brit Floyd who I still currently see every year. It will be ten years next year of seeing them live. The first time we saw them, I was eleven and, the most recent time was this year, and I was almost twenty-one.

In 2011, I managed to see Roger Waters from Pink Floyd live for the first time and, in 2015, I was finally able to see David Gilmour live. That was spectacular. My dad and I use music as bonding time. We have a very similar taste in most things and we often go to concerts together.

My dad is a music junkie. When he started to play guitar, his love for music grew exponentially. Recently, he has gone from listening to rock music to listening to a lot of modern music. Dad listens to music when he is working, when he is getting ready in the morning and on his commute to work. My dad loves to take credit for my taste in music. A lot of people who are the same age as my dad, even older, are surprised that I am a big fan of Pink Floyd.

I love to do things with my dad and he has introduced me to a lot of different media throughout the years. We used to regularly stay at this Caravan in Wales. During the ninety-minute journey, Dad would play the War of The Worlds soundtrack by Jeff Wayne. Every time I hear that soundtrack, I think of those journeys.

We share new music with each other. I will discover a song that I like, recommend it to my dad and vice versa. I introduced my dad to Lana Del Rey.

I was introduced to her through an ad that came on the TV. I was sat on my bed writing and I heard the most wonderful but ethereal song. I immediately looked to find the source and I found who the singer was. I downloaded her album, smoke escaping from my fingertips.

At the time I was introduced to her music, I was struggling with my identity. I didn’t know how to describe myself to others. I felt that I didn’t have any distinctive traits. Listening to her music changed all of that. I really felt her lyrics deep within my soul. I resonated with them. She taught me more about myself than I could have ever known.

In a lot of her songs, she sings about loving older men. I’ve always had a penchant for older men, but I wasn’t aware that it was a preference. Somehow, I had never registered it as being a defining interest of mine.

A main talking point in her lyrics is the topic of unrequited love. This topic really hits me because it is something which I am very familiar with. She talks about loving someone forever. I have never been able to find someone who had the same views as me. I felt understood for once. I didn’t feel judged.

After listening to her music, those identity issues started to fade, and I finally had an idea of who I was. I started wearing make up which I didn’t before. I began to create this image for myself that truly represented this new feeling. I can only describe it as a sense of euphoria to be finally understood. I had always felt alone in my thoughts about unrequited love and loving people forever. People thought it was crazy or that you just overcome unrequited love. I was so frustrated and angry.

In 2015, I finally got to see her live. That night, I tried to dress up like her. I wore a flower crown. On that night, I felt surrounded by like minded people. We were all there because we all loved the same music. Those people have heard how I feel by listening to her music.

These are six of her lyrics that I have really connected with:

1. “Loving you forever can’t be wrong, even though you’re not here, can’t move on.”

2. “Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise. No one compares to you, but there's no you, except in my dreams tonight.”

3. “I was filled with poison, but blessed with beauty and rage.”

4. “I know if I go, I'll die happy tonight.”

5. “He hit me, and it felt like a kiss.”

6. “He hurt me, but it felt like true love.”

Lana has been criticised for her sad girl persona, but I have always loved that because it is real. There are those of us like that. Those of us who love others who don’t love us back. I have the same star sign as Lana. We are both Geminis and Gemini represents the twins and, since I don’t have a biological twin, I consider her to be my twin. If I was to meet her, which I hope to do eventually, I believe we would get along like a house on fire.

Music is one of the most amazing things — you can block out the entire world with music. If you’re ever feeling alone, there will be a singer or a band that feels just like you do. It is possible. That relationship is my constant companion. My relationship with music is a tumultuous one. Sometimes, listening to sad music when I am upset is the worst thing to do. Other times, it’s the best thing to do. Storytelling is an ancient past-time and music is just one of its many forms.


Courtenay S Gray is a 21-year-old writer from the North of England. She believes that writing is her life's purpose. Ink runs through her veins and she sees inspiration in her sleep. She has previously been published in Rhythm & Bones Press, Vamp Cat Magazine, mookychick, Royal Rose Magazine and Picaroon Poetry. Find her on Twitter: @0rangespice

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