I have gone through periods in my life where all I listened to were comedy tapes or sports talk but music is also a huge part of who I am. I can still remember when I hear certain artists like Styx, REO Speedwagon, Van Halen very vivid memories of some of my surroundings and friends growing up. Whenever I hear any of Mariah Carey's first album, I think back to a very personal memory of someone special to me playing them on the piano while we listened to them and how it made me smile watching her play.
I like hip hop and rap but I do get bored when it just repeats the same line over and over again and the sampling is so strong that you have no idea what the message is with the song. I have no problems with songs that keep it light and have fun, in fact sometimes I am specifically looking for those but at least write more than 5 lines and make the music somewhat creative and not repetitive. I like Jay-Z, loved Bell Biv Devoe and Heavy D and listened to Public Enemy to learn from their music and there are many other artists/songs I have enjoyed over the years but to be honest, sometimes there are songs that almost sound like someone wanted to finish it in 5 minutes and that was all they could come up with.
The first country song that really made me a fan of that genre was Garth Brooks-Thunder Rolls which got me further into his stuff and explore others. Growing up in upstate NY in the 80's, country music was not exactly burning up the radio. Now, I have lived different places and met different people and can relate more to the music and stories of living in the country to the point that I enjoy a lot of it today.
Pink Floyd is a big favorite of mine but it was not until I met a girl in Houston, Texas who was such a big fan (and so pretty) that I started to get into them to get to know more about her and even went out and bought The Wall on CD just to impress her. She ruined the CD, we never really dated (though I think that was more due to my timid nature than anything else) but I learned to appreciate their music. Heck, back in high school I got into the Doors because a girl I had a crush on like them so I guess you could say that if it was not for crushes on girls, my taste for classic rock would probably not be as strong.
My favorite artist of all time though would have to be Billy Joel. There is something about someone who can just sit down with a piano and tell a great story that I love sometimes. There are three concerts I would love to see before I die and Billy is #1 on the list (Brad Paisley and Dave Matthews Band are the other two). Can I tell you every song, every year, every lyric? No and even some of his music some days I prefer to not listen to but he has such a variety of emotions and stories that 95% of the time, I could pop in his greatest hits and drive until it is over and not care about anything else but enjoying it.
I can even listen to opera and classical though I may not be able to tell you who performed the songs and at times, I have used them to help me sleep. I do enjoy heavy metal at times as well as alternative. And thanks to the influences of my parents, I also enjoy music from the 50's, 60's and 70's and yes even Barry Manilow.
So if you hear me singing a song or playing one in my car, don't just assume that it is the genre of choice. The best music either tells you a story that you enjoy or is a reflection of a memory that is so strong, you feel as though at that time you need to relive it. I have a variety of memories and many of them have musical influence and for that reason, sometimes I like to take a few minutes to think and remember what makes it so special to me. I am a huge TV lover and the first thing I probably learned to read was probably a TV Guide but music has a stronger impact on who I am than any TV show or movie. Besides, even many of our TV and movie memories are sparked by the music that is featured in them so it impacts just about everything in life. I always wanted to write a song that I heard on the radio and hear just one person say that they loved it and so it is why sometimes I wrote long winded poetry in the hopes that one day, I can turn it into a song that people would enjoy.