Updated: Aug 8, 2018
The inspiration for this song spans over the course of about six years. “Youth” was inspired by thoughts I was having on how we are rushed into everything at such a young age, and how the process is extremely rash. When it comes to college, young teenagers are expected to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at age seventeen. I always knew what I wanted to do (music), but I lived most of my life being afraid. It wasn’t until mid-college that I conquered my fears, and became completely enveloped in singing and performing. This brought me to the realization that I wasn't really passionate about what I was learning. Being that I was already halfway there, I stayed focused on my classes, but shifted my priorities quite a bit.
Fast forward to graduation and now that rush comes back in the search for jobs. At this point, I was applying to jobs in my field, with no success. After a while, and increasing pressure to get a "real job," I took a job in Finance, a field I never had any interest in (Music was still my priority. In the back of my mind, I felt that if I moved to a new place I could meet new people in music and start performing again). I know plenty of people who studied one thing, and ended up working in a completely different field, whether it’s because they knew someone or because they just needed a job and were qualified. Some people became satisfied, some people did not. I also know people who got jobs related to their degree and love it, and I know people who hate it. I gave the office job a try, and I was unhappy. I succumbed to the pressure of needing that money and all those benefits right away.
Fast forward again to post-corporate job. I was working some background acting jobs, but looking for something more stable. My funds were decreasing, and surprisingly, I like to have money! I knew that I needed change, and I knew what I did not want, but I still did not know what that change could be if it wasn’t music. I did not want to work in an office, and I did not want to work for anything I majored in. That scared me a lot, and had me thinking about the pressure to know. As an aspiring musician, what you want to do is always going to be different than what people want you to do.
This song was written in about two hours, from the first note I played to the last word I sang. I sat in front of my keyboard and played the song, singing along over and over again until I had it down. This was one of those blind songs where was playing what sounded good, not knowing any theory at the time. I really liked how the chorus sounded, which reminded me of something Christina Aguilera would do or has done.
The piano bass line in the intro and verse is one of my favorites. I was working with a few older musicians in a cover band at the time (unfortunately it never came to fruition), and the pianist had explained to me how bass lines do not need to be the same as the chord being played (I was not familiar with theory!). I remember fooling around with that, and turning it into this song. This also began the era of moving bass lines in my songs, which I use a lot. Bass is one of my favorite instruments, and I can really appreciate a good bass line.
While writing this, I was looking for the lyrics in my book to find the exact date I did this song. Apparently I never wrote the lyrics down! That is so unlike me, especially when I first started writing (now I am too indulged to stop and write lyrics down. I do it later). I recorded the song into my computer a few weeks later to have a demo copy. I have not officially recorded this song, but I did a live studio version performance and released it online, which you can find right here.
I was really upset with how society was forcing young kids to hurry up and get going on their future. “I am ready to explore in my fate” was my personal realization that I needed to stop being afraid of what I wanted and chase after it. It was important for me to say these things, as if I needed to speak my thoughts out loud to convince myself to follow my passion.
There are two drug references in this song, to bring attention to the experimental youth. It’s only natural for young people to experiment; we are a curious species. I use the references in a way to turn your life around rather than destroy it, which is obviously an extreme outcome of drug abuse, but unfortunately exists. The first reference is “we’re rolling up time and taking a deep breath. Exhale and sigh, too young to die, will you stay alive?” My goal was to insinuate that time is valuable and every minute matters. At this time, a lot of young teens were dying from drug overdoses, and it was really hard for me to understand. Life is so beautiful no matter how hard or how much pressure there is, and I wanted this line to try to help people see that they can confront life's challenges instead of trying to escape them. The second reference is “we make sure it’s sterilized, inject your dreams and close your eyes.” Follow your dreams and douse yourself in your craft and your passion!
One of my favorite lines in the song is “…and hope you’re brave enough to be who you need to be. Young girl I see you and you’re in misery. Can’t nobody stop you from breaking walls. Dreams fall everyday but yours are standing tall.” I was speaking to myself. I was making a decision that scared me, because it was not the norm. It was not the safe way to success. When I say dreams fall everyday, I mean people give up their passion and their dream because they need to live the “happy” life.
They need the job that gives them a steady salary so they can retire safely. Who ever said that if you do what you love, you can’t have all that? Bueller? Bueller? It will be hard ride, but I lived my whole life hearing “nothing is easy. Everything is earned.” Okay cool, so I have to work hard to get where I want to be? I already knew that. Nothing good happens right away. Just because you have a “real job” (what the f@$k does that even mean anyways. As opposed to a fake job? Can you still get paid having a fake job because that sounds pretty nice) does not mean you will find happiness. Isn't our goal in life to be happy? Everyone around me was collapsing and settling for a safe life over their dreams. I was still standing up for what I believed in, and no matter how hard or unrealistic it seems to others, I am happy and doing what I love.
I really love the message this song sends. It is my announcement to myself that I am going to stand up for the life I believe in and run into the wind not with it, but really encourages others with dreams to do the same. Don't succumb to the pressures we face in our youth. Don't rush into something just because someone else says you have to, or that it's right. You need to do what's best for you!