When people ask me what my religion is I say, “Love and music.” When I’m listening to music I feel connected to something bigger than myself and there are a handful of musicians that inspire me to live the best life possible for many different reasons. We all have those people whose words and stories we connect with. These are mine.
The reason I picked Ryan Montbleau to be on this list goes way deeper than just his epic music. It’s all about the way we all relate to every single word that comes out of his mouth, whether it’s one of his songs, a Facebook or Twitter update or one of his blog posts. I relate to Ryan so much because he is not afraid to write songs about his struggles, and since we are all human beings too, we’ve all struggled too. When you listen to Ryan you know you are never alone. His music saves lives.
If you’ve never been to a Michael Franti show, my recommendation is that you go to a Michael Franti show. At his concerts Michael is found everywhere in the venue because it’s very clear that he is one of us. I feel like if he can be this bright beacon of love and light, then I can do it too because we’re all made of the same stuff. And his lyrics…holy cow! They are incredibly relatable and inspiring. The world would be a better place if everyone in the world listened to Michael Franti.
Nahko Bear from Nahko: Medicine for the People
Nahko Bear has integrity. As quoted from an interview in the Huffington Post, Nahko said this about integrity, “Integrity. Constant checking in with my elders and myself. This is more a social movement than anything. The moment I feel like I’m playing more shows for the machine (i.e. bars and festivals) and not doing enough activist based work (i.e. for environmental and social causes) is the moment I check myself before I wreck myself ha-ha.”
Nahko’s lyrics are life changing and he not only talks his talk, but the man walks his walk too. Very inspiring.
Sharon Jones was diagnosed with bile duct cancer which later became pancreatic cancer in 2013 and she kicked it’s ass all while looking fabulous. Once she felt strong and healthy enough to perform she could have chosen to sit at home waiting for her hair to grow back, but that’s not what she chose. That’s not Sharon Jones. She wanted to get her bald headed butt out there doing what makes her heart sing. She knows things have changed. She said this to Spin magazine, “it’s going to be different. I’m just going to go with it. That’s what soul music is all about.”
Sharon is the real deal and I’m so grateful we get to see you rock your natural born gifts again.
Stevie Wonder is a legend in the music industry. When you hear a Stevie song there’s no question it’s Stevie who’s singing it. The most inspiring thing about Mr.Wonder is that even though he became blind as a baby, he didn’t let that stop him from following his dreams of becoming a musician. Actually I feel it’s one of the reasons he’s so amazing at what he does. When your vision is taken away from you, it allows your imagination to take over. You may never actually see the Grand Canyon, but you can imagine what it looks like. Stevie’s music is all imagination and soul centered.
When Rick was 14 his mother answered an ad looking for a drummer on his behalf for a band named Def Leppard. How cool is Rick’s mom? He was in the band by his 15th birthday. Life was good and then one fateful day when Rick was 21 he got in a horrible car accident that would change his life forever. He lost his left arm and thought his drumming career was over forever. Rick opened his eyes to the possibilities and created a unique drum kit that he could play with just his one arm and his legs. His fans lovingly call him Thunder God and he is rocking out in Def Leppard still today. If Rick can be a one armed drummer, what are you capable of?
I have been a fan of Justin Timberlake for years because he’s just so damn awesome…and cute! I had the honor of attending one of his concerts and I was blown away by something. It wasn’t his music, the production or the dancing (although they were all incredible.) It was how grateful Justin was for everything he’s manifested into his life and he knew he wouldn’t be where he is right now without each and every fan. When he first took the stage he stood facing the left of the crowd and absorbed the cheers and appreciation. He repeated this facing the right and center. Next he blew a kiss into the crowd and bowed down to us. Justin then expressed his gratitude for everyone in the audience. He shared that he hasn’t put an album out in a while and you never know if people are going to like it or not and the fact that everyone showed up to see him perform was an honor for him and he was so grateful. Justin is a class act.
Oteil Burbridge is the bassist for the legendary band The Allman Brother’s Band, but he’s so much more than that. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to speak with Oteil you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Being a musician in a band of that caliber it’s so easy to become jaded and full of yourself. With Oteil that is so not that case. He is one of the most open, real, authentic, honest, raw and loving humans I have ever met. When he shows up, he shows up authentically himself. If he’s having a bad day, he doesn’t pretend everything is rainbows and unicorns, but the thing that sets him apart is that he’s open to shifting his bad day to a day that is really and truly full of rainbows and unicorns. Oteil is a mega rockstar on and off the stage.
Bjork is an Icelandic artist who is as unique as her name. Even though she doesn’t look, sing or act in a traditional way, she owns her wackiness and that’s why we all love her. Did you know she’s the 5th most acclaimed female artist of all time? Bjork is no joke!!! She basically invented her own style of music and fashion and the public loved it. It pays to be yourself because really…who else can you be?
When you hear even one note coming from Trey’s guitar you know it’s Trey right away. He brings his unique sound to Phish, one of the top touring bands of all time. The reason he’s so inspiring is’t because he’s a guitar legend. It’s because he took his drug addiction, kicked it in it’s ass and is now inspiring others to do the same.
On a fateful evening in 2006, Trey got pulled over in Whitehall, NY for drunk driving and was arrested for possession of the pills.
In 2013 Trey shared at a rally for Drug Courts on Capitol Hill, “My life had become a catastrophe. I had no idea how to turn it around. My band had broken up. I had almost lost my family. My whole life had devolved into a disaster. I believe that the police officer who stopped me at three a.m. that morning saved my life.”
Trey was given 14 months of community service where he was forced to scrub toilets, clean fairgrounds and he was sentenced to some jail time.
“When Phish broke up, I made some comment about how I’m not gonna go around playing ‘You Enjoy Myself’ (one of Phish’s most popular songs) for the rest of my life,” Anastasio said to Rolling Stone Magazine. “And it’s so funny because Fish and Mike and Page (the other members of the band) have been talking to each other a lot lately and now — it’s not that I can’t believe that I said that, but its symbolic of how much I lost my mind or how much I lost my bearings or something. Because at this point in time I would give my left nut to play that song five times in a row every day until I die. I certainly thought about that while I was in jail.”
Life shift. So inspiring!
I would love to hear who makes your list and why. Leave a comment below. Let’s inspire each other.
The awesome in me sees and bows to the awesome in you,