Why Music Matters – An Ode to Irma

By: Bruce Wawrzyniak

Computer mouse over sheet musicIn my 17 years living in Florida, this is the closest that a hurricane has come to truly impacting my residence.  Irma, thankfully, has for all intents and purposes come and gone, at least as it relates to the greater Tampa Bay area.

As preparations for it were in full swing, my wife was excited when she explored under one of the bathroom sinks and came up with what looked like a flashlight, but actually also has an alarm on it as well as a radio.  Previously she had asked me if there was a radio in the house that could run on batteries and, showing which generation I’m from, I said, “Yes, the boom box.”

My grandparents’ generation sat around the radio listening to “fireside chats” from the president of the United States.  News jingles play, songs are put to TV news stories, and sometimes you just need to switch away from the proverbial talking heads so you can hear music and take a break from all the gloom and doom being reported.

And music is there waiting for you.

Songs have the potential to become an anthem for key moments in time.

As someone who used to work in the Olympic Movement, my mind goes immediately to Gloria Estefan’s “Reach” and the 1996 Summer Games.  Of course, people think of the song they danced to with their spouse on their wedding day.  Even the right song with the right commercial will stand the test of time.

On the episode of “Now Hear This Entertainment” that will come out this week you will hear me saying that on Episode 92 of the show, my guest Jonny Diaz said how the song that you write that you think is going to be a hit doesn’t end up becoming such, but the one you craft that you never had that type of feeling about is the one that turns out to be a smash.

In other words, you have a tremendous opportunity with the songs that you write.  Do you necessarily want your song to be equated with people hunkering down during a hurricane?  Let’s just say that’s probably not your first choice, but, if it’s what helped get them through, you’ve done an awful lot of good.  Nowadays there are so many people with their phone in their hand and earbuds coming out of it as they listen to music.  These are not the easiest of times that we’re living in, but your song could be the difference maker in their day (or their week or more).

On Christian radio I hear lots of callers – many times tearfully – telling how a certain song has really helped them through an extremely trying circumstance.  Don’t take this business lightly.  Don’t just mail it in.  Give people what could be just the message that they need to hear.

I’m reminded of Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman” saying, “You hold this boy's future in your hands, committee.  It's a valuable future.  Believe me.  Don't destroy it.  Protect it.  Embrace it.”  Let this serve as your rallying cry when you think you want to mail it in and half-ass your songwriting because you think no one will care.

What song do you equate with a certain moment?  Talk about that and this blog in our Facebook group!