Do Not Disturb.

If you met me over the last year, there’s a 40% chance I yelled “this is my song!,” while listening to music when we were talking. Sound high? Probably, but it’s true. After Spotify released its 2018 wrapped information, I saw numerous posts about people’s personalized statistics. Most people listened to music anywhere between 9,000 and 20,000 minutes. Others listened to their favorite artist on average of 20 hours for the year and had a top 5 artist list that spanned across diverse genres. Feeling left out of the discussion, I decided to join the party and have Spotify reveal my statistics for the year.

Since the turn of the new year, I have listened to music for 211,145 minutes.

Yes – you’re probably thinking the same thing I was thinking a few weeks ago. When this number initially popped up on my screen, I thought my phone was glitching and this was a typo. So I logged out and logged back in, only to be greeted with the same statistics.

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For perspective:

  • There are 525,600 total minutes in one year (40.17%)
  • Sleeping 8 hours every single night for one year = 175,200 minutes (120%)
  • 251 babies are born worldwide per minute = 52,997,395 babies were born worldwide while I listened to music this year

I always knew that I listened to music more often than others, however this assessment was shocking and left me speechless with only one question: “how?” I go to sleep to music every single night, but I only sleep for 6 hours. I listen to music most of the day when I am at work, though this is usually interrupted by hour long meetings and three-hour classes. It wasn’t until I was talking to one of my friends that they encouraged that I focus on “why” I listen to music so much, rather than “how.” Several weeks later, I finally have answer.

Music is my peace.

When I don’t know what to say, what to do, or how to respond, I open Spotify and select a song that best describes my current situation or feeling. It’s probably why I have listened to Drake for 423 hours in 2018. No, I obviously was not on Degrassi, nor is my net worth $100 million. However, I do know what it’s like to “bounce back from bounced checks” and to “keep the family close” while on “do not disturb.” I wasn’t born in Columbia, Maryland but I, too, have “so much I want to talk about, but I ain’t got no one to talk to,” similar to Brent Faiyaz. I still don’t know how to pronounce “6lack”, yet I agree that “love is not looking over shoulders and love is trusting what I told you.”

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The examples above briefly illustrate the power and influence music has in my life. It is nearly impossible to quote a movie I’ve seen, but I can recite lyrics verbatim (mostly lol) after a few solo listening parties. Why? Because music eloquently articulates thoughts, ideas, and behaviors that I struggle to express in my relationships with others. I have no problem speaking to crowds of 500+ about what has happened in my life, though I struggle to express how I feel in one on one or group settings. It’s easy for me to speak about what my father has neglected to do in my life, but I have a hard time explaining how that makes me feel and how it has influenced me as a man. Music takes this pain away and invites me to empathize with experiences of others across vocal and instrumental sounds.

Well this got deep, quickly. I am not sorry because Spotify helped expose an area of personal growth for me. Instead of using the silent treatment and putting my airpods in, I am committed to doing the following in the future:

  • Respectfully articulate how I feel without seeking acceptance or validation
  • Be more empathetic and actively listen to understand, rather than to respond
  • Request feedback on how I can be a better communicator in my relationships

Music is therapeutic but that cannot come at the expense of others. I believe all of us have used music as a barometer to predict successful friendships and I have stood witness to how music can build community and shape culture. It is no secret that I will continue my solo concerts in the future and I hope to attend several tours throughout 2019 – starting with B2K and Travis Scott. Still, I vow to become more authentic and transparent in my dialogue with others, especially in my new role at the University of Maryland. I appreciate how artists such as, J. Cole, 21 Savage, and Jhene Aiko narrate their life experiences, but I must be just as comfortable owning and telling my own story.

2018 Spotify Wrapped, thank you.

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Encourage somebody to be great today!

Tim Bryson

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