Aubrey Major – Why Making Music For The “Heart” Of It Wins Every Time
Are you making music for the heart of it? Aubrey Major is a shining example of WINNING!
Aphid had an opportunity to chat with Aubrey Major and discuss exactly why she makes music. From struggling as an artist, being a mother, and finding a way to use haters as a fuel for success, Aubrey is as authentic as they come.
The truth is, If you are in the music game for the money, you will probably find yourself stuck in the neverending emotional conflict of disconnecting from yourself and writing for the masses.
I know this all too well. I was a touring DJ for 16 years. Eventually, I followed the money and I lost the connection with the music I was playing.
I was getting paid thousands to play what makes money, not what moves my soul and feeds my passion. When your passion feels like work, it slowly destroys you.
Authenticity plays a major role in determining where your true focus is. If you are writing and performing just like everyone else, who are you really?
With that said, let’s get into it!
I get asked the question often, “What made you decide to start making music?”
This question is relatively easy to answer, but there isn’t just one answer. Music has been a big part of my life since I was a child. My mother introduced me to many genres of music and I have memories of dancing in the living room to Shania Twain and Savage Garden with my sisters.
Some of the music my mom would play was less than tasteful for a kid of my age, but when I would ask, “mom, what does he mean when he says that?”, her response was always “honey, sometimes it’s not about what he says, its how it sounds. If the song has a good beat that makes you want to dance, it’s a good song.”, and that is how my seven year old self started listening to 2 Live Crew, Eminem, Sir Mix Alot and more.
Starting in fifth grade, I wanted to join band at school. The first instrument I picked up was the trumpet, so at school I was practicing and would also take my trumpet home to practice when I wasn’t in band class. Not long after, I started playing the trumpet when I start to get bored.
It didn’t feel like enough!
I asked my band teacher if I could take a second instrument home, and he gave me the okay. From then on, I was learning every instrument I could get my hands on. I played the trumpet, clarinet, flute, oboe, saxophone, even the bass clarinet. Something about taking an object and creating a sound was so beautiful to me.
During this time, my younger sister and I made “stage names” for ourself and we would pretend we were famous singers on our free time at home. We would use tennis rackets as our guitars, and we created a mini stage in our 2nd family living room at home. Here we would host “concerts” and we would write songs together and perform them for each other at our homemade “concert house”.
In middle school, I took it one step further.
I joined band, but I also took zero hour choir. I wanted to sing as well. So here I am, 11 years old, playing multiple instruments in band, as well as singing for our middle school choir. On top of that, I joined what was called “Spirit Squad” (essentially cheerleading, but it was a group of 30 students).
The reason I joined ‘Spirit Squad’ was the fact that when we performed for events, there was always a dance routine. I really wanted to learn to dance as well. That way, I could physically FEEL the music and be in touch with it on another level.
The music classes extended into my high school days. My Junior year, I cut it all down to just choir class.
My love for music grew stronger and by this time Facebook was introduced to the world. Through Facebook, I met someone who lived in my city who was a rapper making music in his own home studio. I messaged him asking if he would have the time to record me singing. I told him I’d bring in a beat and write my own lyrics. He agreed!
So, I got to work!
In my hometown there were a few small music venues that would host shows so local artists can perform.
I am extremely versatile with my music taste and I’m a big supporter of local artists making music. I would go to hip hop shows, metal shows, and in some cases, local EDM events.
Prior to this one hip hop show I attended, every single hip hop artist was male and was well into their 20s or 30s. This particular night, I was getting ready to leave the venue when someone walked on stage. She went by the name of ‘Dime City’.
For the first time in years, I was looking at a female on stage and she wasnt up there to sing.
She was a rapper! So I stayed to watch her performance and I was in awe. Her stage presence was amazing, and the reaction from the crowd was great.
After I went home that night, all I could think about was, “what if I was a rapper?”. I quickly logged onto Facebook to message my friend with the in home studio and asked him what he thought of the idea of me rapping rather than singing, and his response was, “Rap is my forte, of course girl and I will record you for free.”.
Everything I had written thus far of my song I scrapped. I started looking for hip hop beats. For days i was listening to beat after beat until i finally came across one that stood out to me, and i began writing.
At this point, anytime I wanted to write a new song I would use free beats and my songs were for non-profit. Meaning, the beat im using is not exclusive to myself or my brand. I’d get on YouTube or one of my favorite beat sites and spend hours or sometimes days looking for a beat. If I’m not feeling it, I’m not writing to it.
Everything I write comes directly from my soul so the beat has to match. Once I find the beat I want to use, I can hear the beat and lyrics start vibing through my essence. Once I determine where the verses and the hook are, I’ll write the first line of the first verse.
Rap is like poetry. Generally the last word rhymes with the last word of the next line.
With that being said. Here is my writing process:
- Write a line, and then whatever the line ends with, jot down every word that comes to mind that would rhyme with the first word.
- Take the second rhyming word, write the second line backwards, (based on the topic and the word I choose to rhyme with)
- Repeat the same process and write a second verse.
- Write the hook.
- Name it!
My songs rarely have a name prior to being finished.
I find that writing a name of the song works best if you have the song completed. Otherwise the title may distract from the context of the song.
My first song was very personal.
Growing up, I was bullied, as most kids are.
My bullies made fun of me for my weight because I was skinny. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been asked if I was anorexic. My home life wasn’t the best as my parents hated each other and my dad ran away from the family often. Usually for months at a time.
Up until I was 16, I coped in unhealthy ways. Self harm and drinking just to name a couple.
When I wrote my first song, I titled it “darkness” and it was a song about the darkness that had been living in me for so long. Having depression among other mental illnesses can be extremely hard to cope with, so in most cases you will find people that are mentally Ill spend time speaking with counselors.
Speaking about your problems and getting it off your chest is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself mentally and emotionally, especially if you are depressed. Writing music has acted as my therapist. After writing my first song, i listened to it over and over and would rap along to it in my room.
Eventually, I was feeling better about myself as whole.
It just felt good to get it off my chest and be able to express my feelings through the best way I knew how, music!
One week after I uploaded my song to the internet, my producer got a call from a local DJ wanting to speak with me. There was a local show coming up in a few weeks and it was a ‘girl’s only‘ event. He wanted me to perform. I said “yes of course” but I was nervous.
This was my first time ever even attempting to rap, this was my first ever official song, not to mention..I’m a female…I’m 16 years old…and im white. In my city, I hadn’t seen ANYONE as young as me stepping on stage to perform, nor was it a normality to see a female especially in the hip hop scene.
The reaction I got from the public after releasing my first song was almost overwhelming.
I sort of “blew up” locally in the weeks to come. I performed at the all girl’s show in June of 2010 and after that, things starting escalating.
After the next year and a half I had performed over 200 shows. Recorded and released more songs and I opened for some big artists. One of them included Stevie Stone from Strange Music.
Being popular while getting as much attention as I was really brightened my life up.
I’m not saying everyone started loving me as I still had those who tried to bring me down. I just embodied more self confidence than I’ve ever had in my whole life.
I was smiling more, I laughed often, and wore clothing that I had previously been uncomfortable with.
What made me feel so good wasn’t only that I was getting attention, but I was writing about my life.
My lyrics are about feelings I actually experienced and how I was actually dealing with them. I am able to take my feelings, put it into a song, and create this awesome project that other people enjoy as well.
To hear my songs be played on the radio or to be on stage and hear the crowd singing along is a feeling you can only understand when you experience it.
I STOPPED HATING MYSELF
For the first time, I felt like I had accomplished something and was actually doing something productive and useful with my life.
I’ve had my share of “haters”. Some of that includes my family and people I care about. I was still made fun of for being a rapper and have been called many names. People have even destroyed posters that have my name on it. I guess that means I’m doing something right?
I’ve also been on Facebook hate pages but none of that matters to me. Even if everyone actually DID hate me, the feeling of relief, self love, and the PROUD feeling when hearing the final product of my music has changed my life.
Becoming rich and famous is not why I started making music. Making music has been in my blood for as long as I’ve been alive and I know music saved my life.
On a day I’m feeling down, I can listen to a song or instrumental and it will set a whole new vibe for my day.
Honestly, I began writing music because it is my therapy. My goal is to touch and influence others in their lives as well. I know that I have talent and I know I’m good at what I do.
“If i can share my talent and reach others in the way that i’ve been reached, I’m gonna keep doing it and not going to stop!”
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