The Moment I Knew I Wanted To Make Music: ROKI

by - February 15, 2024

Photo courtesy of Bruce Borland

My enthusiasm and interest in music have always been present since I was a little girl, though I was too shy to realize it or embrace it until much later.

I grew up with my mother and brother; my parents separated when I was an infant. My day-to-day life was not in a musical household, though a few times a year, my dad would come to visit. Being a musician, he would bring his guitar, or we’d sit by my grandmother’s piano, or he’d bring his latest album he’d recorded to show me. I was always moved by what he could create. One day, in particular, I remember him telling me, “you can write a song about anything,” and he started singing about the most trivial item. It was a pivotal moment for me, witnessing him create a beautiful song out of seemingly nothing.

With every visit, he’d continue to encourage me to explore music. I started piano lessons when I was young, though I did not enjoy practicing. I dabbled in writing songs that I’d never share with anyone. At the end of high school, I was bitten by the drama bug and continued studying acting post-secondary. In one of my classes, we were instructed to do something that scared us or made us extremely uncomfortable in front of the class. For me, that was singing - singing a song I’d written.

I decided to sing my song “Mr. Yellow”, written many years prior, which somehow still resided in my head, a jazzy ballad. I got up in front of the class, knees literally shaking to the point I could barely stand, and I sang my song a cappella. There was no fanfare, no high praise, but when it was done, I realized how exhilarating it was and how much I loved singing my song in front of others (even with the shaky knees).

I then sought out open mics and started writing more seriously. I built up a little open mic community where I felt comfortable trying out my new songs, working out the nerves and building up my confidence.

From there, I played in bands, in solo projects, and even tried stepping away from music at times, thinking I needed to pursue a ‘responsible’ path. But what I learned was that I’m happiest, I feel most myself, I feel free when I’m creating, writing, pouring my deepest emotions out in a song, and then sharing it, performing it. Music is an extension of me. Even as a kid, though I was too shy to share it outwardly, it was always rattling around in my head.

The moment I knew I wanted to make music has been growing for many years, perhaps more than I’d like to admit.

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