It’s interesting how a concert can seemingly change your outlook, whether that lasts a day, a week or a year. Some may even say a certain concert changed their life.
I’m one of the latter, but perhaps not for a reason you might expect.
My first experience with journalism was writing for my local newspaper as an unpaid teen contributor. The section was published once a week, and each issue was a chance to pick a topic and take a break from high school to report and write.
I had just turned 16 when I did my first in-person interview with a band.
As a resident of the Philadelphia suburbs, I had access to all the shows in the city right at my fingertips. I scoured websites for area venues and emailed the management for every band I liked. I crossed my fingers, hoping one would respond.
Weeks later, I was sitting backstage in the dressing room at the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street near 4th with one of my favorite bands, New Politics.
At the end of the interview, the band apologized for being a bit rambunctious. I replied with a comment about how all my male friends in high school were the same way and I was used to it. Even though I had introduced myself as a writer for a teen publication, they were shocked.
They asked how old I was. I told them 16.
“You’re 16? I was still playing with Legos when I was 16.”
Later that night, as I stood in front of the barricade with my back to the crowd while taking photographs of the show, I realized how much I loved that feeling.
Not only was I covering something I enjoyed, but I was documenting memories for all the fans behind me in the process.
Soon enough, each weekly section became a chance to attend one more show, interview one more band and photograph one more lead singer.
There were times I went to the city three times in one week for shows.
I befriended security guards, met with band management and got comfortable with empty venues. I learned the layout of all the area’s music venues. I chatted with artists about their strange tour bus locations on the phone or related to young artists with comparisons of the high school experience.
I did it all on my own. And I grew for the better because of it.
I don’t write about music anymore, but those shows taught me one of the most important things: what you love doesn’t have to be separate from your job.
It’s funny how something as simple as attending a concert can change you that much.
Sometimes when I attend shows, bands still remember me as that girl who interviewed them all those years ago. Except I’m not a teenager anymore.
I miss being that girl who covered multiple shows a week, but without her, I wouldn’t be pursuing journalism like I am today. And for that, I am thankful.