On Katy Perry, Brain Tumors, Autism and Inspiration

Posted on November 27, 2013


I am editing this post that I wrote on November 26th because I have received some very inspiring information from one of my readers.

The post is technically supposed to be about “my views on mainstream music”. But the problem is I don’t know what that means. I was very much into music during the 1990s. Channel V and MTV actually had songs instead of the reality crap that they have on these days. I’d buy cassettes as soon as they were released. Hours were spent in creating mixed tapes. I was into all sorts of music back then. If it was new, I had to have it! In the last decade or so, the music lover in me took a long vacation. My knowledge of new music is now limited.

But here I am. Recently in class, we had an introductory session on music therapy. Basically, music can be used to heal, inspire, transform, motivate and energize. Think about it! How many times have you used a song, played it over and over again to express something – whether it’s hurt over a break-up or exhilaration over first love. We all do it. So if you were/are doing it, you’re basically indulging in a useful form of self-therapy.

Lately, I have played two songs over and over again. Both by the same artist. It’s Katy Perry. I love “Firework” and “Roar” (click on Firework and Roar to see the videos). It’s the beat, the tempo, the lyrics…they get my heart pumping a little harder, I feel a little alive. I used to listen to “Firework” while I was on the treadmill a lot. But in class, our teacher told us that it was a song that was used to inspire cancer patients. If you see the video, you will in fact see a person who looks like they’re undergoing chemo. “Roar” reminds me of a woman experiencing domestic violence. When I hear “Roar”, I can see a shadow breaking free from the shackles of an abusive relationship. She rises and she shines. She is free and you can hear her roarrrrrr.

And then one of my friends and readers sent me this video of an autistic boy singing “Roar”.

You can hear the joy in the boy’s mother’s voice as she is recording him. I read in the accompanying article that the mother’s said, “I was so happy to know something that he liked. I don’t know what his favorite food is, I don’t know what his favorite color is. I know he likes music, but I didn’t know he liked a particular song.” Can you imagine? How beautiful this is? To an insensitive person, the boy’s singing is mere mumbling. But to his mom, this is better than Katy Perry performing live in her home!

And then I came across this other inspiring rendition of “Roar” by a young Toronto teen with an inoperable brain tumor.  It was her dream to record herself singing in a studio. In September 2013, her dream came true. I have watched this video at least five times before editing this post and can feel myself getting teary eyed. She even got a response from Katy Perry herself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Q9VBkaNIQ

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that just writing this post made me want to dance. Today, as I edit this post, I am just filled with a deep sense of amazement at what music can do! I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are music snobs, who think their type of music is the best kind. But all music that speaks to us in our journey of life is good music. And mainstream music can be inspiring and Katy Perry is making so many people ROARRR. So kudos to that!

Posted in: spreading cheer