Singers of Hope – Marti Mendenhall

  This week, a fan asked me – “Why is it important to become singers about hope?”

I recently re-read an article about how music effects the brain, your mood, your physical being in a positive way. Music can serve as the light in darkness for many, and has the power to change your mood in an instant. In a world where we are bombarded by images of crying children, death and anxiety, it is even more important that at least some of our music is about this thing called HOPE.

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I don’t think you need to be a feminist songwriter to be inspirational. I think that you live by example, and your life AND your music becomes a symbol of strength, light and hope. In my own life, I used to be twice the size I am now. Lost, unhappy, and severely overweight. I blocked every emotion I could so that I wouldn’t feel bad about myself, so that I could just continue living. I ate my emotions – literally. I took that first step years ago. I started singing and writing again. I starting feeling hope! I’ve lost 93 lbs – and kept it off for over 9 years. I now have a food and music podcast that showcases both my love of food AND of music.

I’m not always perfect about letting emotions wash over me, though. I lost my Father early this year, and two friends have passed in the last two weeks. It is a challenge to feel that pain and just work through it. Music has been that vehicle for me, both in losing the weight, and in reclaiming my life as a musician and songwriter. I find myself creating lyrics in my head simply to express how I feel and to cope. When my father died, I sunk myself into grief whole-heartedly, and I created a music video about the loss of him. It allowed me to share my grief, and through the clips of my Dad’s laughter, share with the world his glow. I’m reminded again and again how precious our lives are, and how incredibly important it is to not just occasionally write songs of hope, but to LIVE in hope and happiness.

Living is all about choices. I choose to see the not only the brighter side of things, but to live life fully and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. How deeply can I love? So my goal as a songwriter isn’t just to write happy songs. I am driven to write music that makes the listeners FEEL something. Love, Hope, Excitement, Sadness, Loss, Desire and Wonder. I’m attracted to poly-rhythms, and dancing and melodic lines that soar. My challenge is writing something that tugs at the heartstrings, and is relatable at the same time. My music videos are also becoming a vehicle of expression, and I’m taking joy in creating them.

Whatever music is to you, no matter what form it comes in, it contributes to the depth of this life-lived. So raise a toast to writing songs of hope and emotion, and choosing to live a life of wonder. Consider your life a song, and make the lyrics count! Go – listen to the music that speaks to you – and be happy

Marti Mendenhall

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