My life is but a compilation of moments and dialogue. This has been the case since I exited the womb. From the get-go, I’ve been drawn to music and oddly compelled to sing whenever I am able. Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, gave me a unique backdrop in which to play out those musical tendencies. The urban lifestyle to which I had grown accustomed left me ill-equipped to deal with the suburban hell that is Bloomfield Hills, a barren, music-less landscape, where I was transplanted in my junior year of high school. I had always struggled to find my niche there. Now that I’ve migrated to downtown Detroit and I’m receiving a fantastic education, I feel as though I’m much closer to doing so. I’ve met some truly amazing friends and I’ve gotten to explore my connection with music whilst rapidly improving my own musical abilities. The songs I have chosen for my soundtrack range in genre and have meant different things to me at particular times in my life.
My name is Lucie Hanifi and the following compilation encapsulates my heart, soul, and above all, my growth, in their entirety.
Track 1: Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles
Picture a dark, clear evening during the summer. The fireflies flicker and the air is thick with humidity. On those evenings, you would find my brother, my father, and me parked near Huron River on the top of my father’s old blue, slowly rusting Chevy truck. We would look at the constellations and struggle to remember the lyrics to Strawberry Fields Forever. Any time I listen this song, I would feel happy. These times would be some of the few happy memories of my childhood. In the moments when I would look at the sky, I would feel as though my time was not limited and I could be any kind of person I wanted to be. I hear the words “Living is easy with eyes closed,” and I’m instantly sent back in time.
Track 2: Lighthouse by Patrick Watson
The first word that comes to mind when I hear this is ethereal. The pitter-patter of the piano reminded me of rain dropping gently onto a window. The part that resonated with me in particular is when the song swells and Patrick Watson says he was “Dreaming of a lighthouse in the woods.” There was one day that I skipped school in my senior year of high school— which I did quite often— when it was a serene, gray day and raining lightly. I drove aimlessly and wondered what I was even going to do with my life. “What is my purpose?” I would continue to wonder as the anxiety that debilitated me continued to consume my thoughts. I longed to have a lighthouse in the woods, a safe haven where I had no accountability nor responsibility. Ultimately, I remember these moments in my life as being the most unhappy. I thought of the feeling in the pit of my stomach that represented my anxiety and my ever-increasing depression and I think I decided to grow up because of those times and that gut feeling of unhappiness. I didn’t want to feel that way ever again, especially not of my own volition.
Track 3: God’s Whisper by Raury
You’re now seeing the most recent evolution of my musical taste. It’s a little bit more playful and exciting while still conveying a message that is relevant to me, at least for the time being. The song starts off with the lines, “I won’t live a lie/ I won’t live a life on my knees/ You think I am nothing/ But you’ve got something coming.” A few months ago, when I first started school at DIME, I was going through somewhat of an existential crisis that rivaled those that I had had in high school. I realized that I needed to start treating myself in a loving manner if I was to expect anyone else to do the same. I realized that I needed to start taking responsibility for my actions and no longer play the victim. I, above all, realized I needed to change. “God’s Whisper” empowered me to do that and along the way I began to allow myself to feel special and different and to feel good about my progress. I didn’t want to be dishonest with myself any longer nor did I wish to continue spiraling because this time no one would be there to catch me. Even if there was, I would want the ability to save myself. I no longer wanted to escape, but rather enjoy and savor these moments of my youth that are astonishingly fleeting.
When I started writing my soundtrack initially, I struggled with this concept. I worried that my selections would be more revealing of me than I would like them to be. That being said, identifying songs that have made a difference in my life does require a certain amount of self- awareness, which has been one of the main traits I’ve been struggling to develop over the course of this chronology of my life. Ultimately, your selections do reveal who you are in some capacity, and in realizing that, I came to the conclusion that my album— and my life— has been tinged with the desire to escape and to no longer be in my own shoes. Escapism is something that everyone can relate to. It’s easier than actually facing your problems. When the listener comes to the end of my soundtrack, I’d like them to feel as though it’s okay to flounder and to be lost. Life changes constantly and it’s natural to not have your life together 100% of the time. I’ve learned that it’s best to feel your pain and acknowledge it, but don’t wallow in it. Growth doesn’t happen while one is static. It happens when you’re finally motivated to leave behind what no longer serves a purpose in your life. Thank you, reader, for taking the time to listen to my life in music.