This entry is a little different from what most of you are used to seeing from me. I recently connected with someone who wants to possibly use my story as part of an inspiring docu-series. For awhile now, I have wanted to figure out what I would want my legacy to be when I leave this earth. No one else on this planet has a story that is exactly like mine, although I’m sure others have their own “meant to be” stories.
First, here is a little history on me (for those of you who might not have read my blog entries previously). I am not a musician, but I’m extremely passionate about music and supporting the artist. A year and a half ago, I had a very “meant to be” moment that eventually led to me to start a company and website 6 months ago, called “Shine On Music City”. On the site, I feature (or spotlight) up-and-coming artists and get to know them on a deeper level and help them share their some of their story and their music with the world. The name was inspired by my first experience of actually meeting and talking with Keith Urban. He was absolutely my inspiration for starting Shine On Music City, but first, here is a little more of my back story as to how all of this really came about…
I was born with a disability called Spina Bifida. Due to my limited mobility, I use a wheelchair most of the time. Because of this, I have always had to adapt and learn how to make the best of a situation. More recently though, I was also diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer at age 27 about 2 1/2 years ago. In the process of learning how to deal with my Thyroid Cancer diagnosis and the uncertainty of what was coming with surgeries and radiation, I began sharing my thoughts here and even started expanding into different topics that were on my heart. During a time that I was writing a lot, I came across a friend’s post on Facebook about wanting to make basically a short term bucket list (101 things in 1,001 days). I loved the idea so much that I started making my own list. I realized that music was a huge factor… Not only music, but Keith Urban specifically. (*** I had the opportunity to see him play at Legends Corner in Nashville one night and I was completely hooked). After breaking my list down, I realized that an entire section of my 101 list was music-related. I originally was just going to share my list here, but before I knew it, my friends were trying to help me get things completed on my 101 list. I was blown away, but the one thing that stuck out the most was my #1. Meet Keith Urban. It seemed like such a long shot. Little did I know, that a dear friend of mine had a connection. She shared my blog with her friend and then he told Keith and they got me on a meet & greet list to meet him the day before my 29th birthday. I had no idea how much meeting him would change my life. Two days later (after the adrenaline had somewhat worn off from meeting him), I had a very real “a-ha! moment”…
I was sitting in the middle of my kitchen bawling my eyes out, overcome with emotion, when my husband came home from work that evening. I finally realized that I HAD to do something related to music. I submitted my resume (which at the time lacked any real experience in the industry outside of just being a huge supporter of local musicians). To my surprise, I got an internship. After my internship ended, I kept applying for jobs, but nothing really clicked. Then one day, I was sitting there thinking about what my next step should be & I came up with an idea to start a website and company that spotlights up-and-coming artists. I decided that I wanted to see it grow beyond just a blog. Through that, I created my company, Shine On Music City, LLC. (“Shine” being the name of my favorite Keith Urban song, and since I live in Nashville, that’s where the “Music City” part comes from). I also decided that the point of this idea was going to be to *shine* a spotlight on these artists & share a side of them that is just beyond the basic “What’s your favorite color?” type of interview questions. While the big plan is still in its’ infancy, I’m planning to expand into some other things eventually, but so far it has been a great thing, not only for me, but also for the artists. I’m hoping that it makes a difference in these artists lives to know that they are being noticed, people do care, want to support, and that someone believes in them. I feel as though I have been truly blessed during a time that has also been the hardest time of my life. I have had so many artists rally around & support me in some way since my diagnosis. I have had artists do everything from going out to dinner before my first surgery and introducing me to one of my other favorite artists (Gavin DeGraw), to shout outs at shows via FaceTime when I couldn’t be there while going through RAI radiation, to a free, private show at my house after my diagnosis and my first surgery, to having several artists play for a charity event I put together to raise money for Thyroid Cancer Research & Awareness, to meeting Keith (as well as making other things on my list happen), to taking time out of their busy schedules to surprise me on my 30th birthday at dinner. Most importantly though, these artists have allowed me to be involved in their journeys on some level and they have shown even more support by wanting to be a part of my big vision and my journey in general. All of these things combined have meant more to me than I can fully express. Nashville truly is an incredible city, filled with talented and amazing, kind-hearted musicians.
I believe that God has given me a unique story that I am *meant” to share with the world. At the end of the day, I just want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I have so much to be thankful for, but it genuinely fills my heart to know that these artists want to be a part of my vision. “Shine On Music City” is just one way that I can pay these artists back for their support to me.
Sometimes it is hard to go through certain things (or chapters) in life, but these things shape who we are. They are learning experiences and opportunities for growth, and although there are many other chapters of my life that I’ve already written and there are still chapters that are un-written, I know 100% that this is the chapter that I will probably look back on and will be one of the most important chapters in my life. I will continue to share this chapter, in hopes of inspiring others to take the plunge and live the life that have always hoped to create. I pray that you all will be inspired to share your chapters with the world.
“Everybody’s got a cross to carry. Everybody’s got a story they can tell.” – “Shine” by Keith Urban