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Dear [other] music: this one’s for you

If anyone were to take a seat in my 2003 Honda Civic, they would see about 20 to 25 homemade mix CDs stacked in the center console. Making mix CDs is kind of my “thing.” 

That, and my iPod broke about two years ago.

A fair amount of times I’ve had friends or family members say, “What the heck is this?” in reference to the music wafting through my speakers.

After responding, I sometimes get ridiculed and told that my music choices are “weird” and “unusual” (note: this excludes people who have a wider variety in music choices. You know who you are).

“Why don’t you listen to the radio?” or “Why do you listen to this kind of stuff?” some will say.

But it’s true. I do feel like I may have a broader – I guess you could say more cultured – range of music than some people in my demographic and generation. And trust me, it’s not that I don’t know mainstreamed radio music. I listen to a number of genres and types of music.

That’s why I’ve felt inspired to write this. To send a message to people who don’t really know what real music is, the ones who have or might laugh at some of my favorite songs or have a narrow range in musical genres.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been driving around Fresno and Clovis hearing the same booming, predictable beats and loud, whiny pop voices coming out of cars. Seldom will I ever hear anything different or noteworthy than the typical radio voices.

Yes, I’m talking to the people who mainly listen to the popular, cliché, predictable and heavily publicized music: the Lady Gagas, Miley Cyruses, Katy Perrys, Tygas and Drakes. Even the Jason Aldeans and Lady Antebellums (because we live in Fresno).

Whether you enjoy pop, rap, country, electronic, rock or any other genre, I cannot stress the fact that there are so many more inspiring melodies and vocals out there that will attract your ears more readily than the uniform confinements of the radio, Pandora and TV stations that publicize mainstream artists.

Now I’m not saying I’m a music-guru or expert on those underground, unknown and indie artists. Heck, if you mentioned some less known band or artist to me, chances are I won’t know it.

But that’s also the beauty of it. There are so many artists out there that produce brilliant sounds and are just waiting to be uncovered by us.

If we go beyond what we hear everyday through our general media, we will find a treasure chest of different melodies that are unique and speak to each of us differently.

How is this achieved? I consider it “music research”, a quest for sounds maybe not as well known on the pop culture scene but that speak to you as an individual.

When I have free time, sometimes I’ll sit on my computer for hours searching for something new that strikes a chord in my ears.

I start with YouTube. That’s because I can find songs and artists on there that may not be available on iTunes. SoundCloud and blogs such as Tumblr are also a good place to search.

My point is, I think we need to broaden our horizons musically.

Go beyond what’s considered “cool.” Go out of your way to listen to something different that you wouldn’t typically listen to. Do some investigating on your favorite genre to find something distinctive.

Through the web there is a vast database of great melodies and mixes ready and waiting at the tip of your fingers.

As the Greek philosopher Plato once wrote: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

Don’t conform to what the pop culture always feeds you. Open your ears. Open your eyes. You may just fall in love with some new sounds.

Erica Heinisch is a senior majoring public relations and hopes to soon break into the entertainment industry after graduating in December. She enjoys watching the latest films in theaters, listening to indie rock on long drives with her golden retriever.