(Meridith)

i guess you can say i was born into music. when i arrived at yale
university hospital on august 29th, 1973 the doctors asked my mom if
they could inform my father of my birth in an unusual way. my dad was
in the waiting room listening to a transistor radio with an ear plug.
the doctors had found out he was a popular dj on a local station so
they wanted to call and have my birth announced to him by the dj on
air. they did it but unfortunately my dad had fallen asleep so he
didn’t hear it. alot of his fans did hear it and they sent cards and
letters congratulating my parents on my birth.

so i grew up with a mother that loved to sing and play piano and a dad
who loved music. my first concert could be counted as the deep purple
concert my mom went to while she was pregnant with me. i grew up going
with my dad to concerts and getting to go backstage with him to meet
groups like the bee gee’s and heart. for my fourth birthday all i
wanted was a record player and that was what i got at my birthday
party where the main entertainment was none other than THE disco duck.
i can’t remember where my love for music began because it’s just
always been there. being backstage, having an all access pass, the
unmistakable smell of a radio station studio full of stale cigarette
smoke mixed with a faint fragrance of rubbing alcohol (used to clean
the equipment) and tape, the way your heart skips a beat just a little
when that song comes on the radio……you know the one…..THE song
that’s hot right NOW, fighting to stay awake to see the beastie boys
on david lettermen, pacing the living room waiting for the new fat
boys video to premiere on mtv, negotiating with my great grandmother
to change the tv channel from lawrence welk to the michael jackson
televison special, the undescribable thrill of actually going to see
michael jackson on the victory tour at the atlanta fulton county
stadium in 1984 in my brand new red parachute pants, playing and
rewinding my run dmc over and over so i could memorize the words,
going to a high school dance and feeling the electricity of the music
and rhythm, feeling scared that i would go to hell for listening to
“secular music” and throwing all my cassette tapes away, hearing the
words to a steven curtis chapman song that felt like they taken from
my own prayers, the chill bumps on my arms watching the grammy’s,
driving down the road listening to earth, wind and fire sobbing and
sobbing because these old lyrics put into words the exact ache my
broken heart was feeling. all these things are my life. the story of
my life could not be told without music. when i was a kid my favorite
movie were xanadu, sgt pepper’s lonely heart’s club band and
grease….all musicals. i hear “alive” by ELO and i feel alive in a
way nothing else makes me feel. i hear “my love” by wings or “she’s
gone” by hall and oats and instantly i am transported to a place in my
childhood. “ride like the wind” by christopher cross comes on and i am
carried away. george benson’s “give me the night” comes on and i can’t
understand why but it takes me somewhere else. i could go on and on
listing songs that are a literal part of my growing up year as much as
a relative or a home. i moved so much when i was growing up, there
were so many changes…maybe music is my home in a way.

my dad started out a local radio station and then managed bands and
promoted records before setting out on a career in radio that would
make him one of the #1 radio programmers of top 40 radio in the
1970’s. my mother would sing songs in church that made tears roll down
my face and my heart swell with pride at her beautiful soprano voice.
the music that they loved and played for me is in my blood. it’s in my
genes. how could i not love music? no story of my life can be told
without a soundtrack.

one day in my 20’s i heard a christian radio station playing songs
from people like the gospel gangsters that did rap music that i
actually liked that was also christian. i had heard some christian rap
before and since i have met some of those people in real life i will
not name their names because they are very kind people, but let’s face
it, i was pretty angry when i was 13 and heard the christian group
that totally ripped off LL cool j’s “i need love”. so hearing this
radio station opened up a whole new world to me and suddenly my life’s
mission was clear. i wanted to work with christian music that was
actually GOOD, finally i could enjoy music and not feel guilty about
it and also spread the gospel of salvation in Jesus and listen to
music i loved! the rest is a very long story to be told another day
but suffice it to say that eventually i got a job at a radio station
running the board, then at an indie record label, then i realized that
i could relate alot more to artists than to a record label so i
started booking shows for bands and wound up as a road manager,
personal assistant and everything in between. i got to travel the
country selling merch, going backstage, sleeping on a tour
bus…..living the dream as best i could. i poured every bit of me
into my work, every ounce of my being was consumed with my work
because i loved it so much and i was passionate about the cause it
represented. i made the best friends anyone could ever hope for
because of music. i fell in love with a man that i met and would
eventually marry because of music.

then one day i got very, very tired. going to concerts stopped being
fun and felt like work. i got burned out. i got tired of being broke
and doing something i loved but not being able to pay my bills. so one
year ago this week i stopped working with music. BUT i never stopped
loving music. no matter how burned out i may have been or may still be
by the music industry i will never stop loving music. even in the most
tired times an artist like sufjan stevens could play a melody to wake
me up out of the boredom i was in.

a couple of years ago i got a fortune cookie with this inside, “music
will be a very important part of your life”. i was almost startled by
it. it’s was so true and obvious and …it’s still true. music is a
huge part of my life. i can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

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