The Soundtrack to Life 

I couldn’t tell you when my music obsession began.  

What I can tell you is that I’m now a music journalist, spend the majority of my free time at concerts, and the majority of my pay-check on said concerts. My Spotify Wrapped minutes last year added up to an almost unspeakable 299,518 minutes. At any given time, I’ll either be listening to a song or have a song (or two) stuck in my head. Every memory of mine has a melody attached.  

But I wasn’t always like this. 

Growing up in Vanuatu, with no phone of my own, no reliable internet, and, most importantly, no iTunes account, I trusted my family for my musical education. Raised on a steady diet of Nickelback, Good Charlotte, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift, my brother and sister made sure I knew the basics of noughties music. But unless it was downloaded on our Dell computer or played on Rage every Saturday morning, I wasn’t gonna know it. 

So, I don’t know when music became such a big part of my life.  

Maybe it was moving to Australia and having easily accessible music. Maybe it was me having my own streaming service account, where I could actually be in control of my own playlist (youngest sibling things). Maybe it became a way to block out the world – and my own thoughts – as my mental health deteriorated. Maybe, over the years, I discovered my own music taste, and everything became more enjoyable to listen to. 

Whatever the cause, I became a music girly. It became a way to scrapbook my life. I’d associate songs with specific memories or periods of my life. The night before my 13th birthday, I laid in bed listening to I’m So Excited by The Young Divas on repeat until it hit midnight. And then, as I began my teenage years, I played The Days by Avicii. Corny, I know, but it was so fun to have a song I could associate with the beginning of my teenage life.  

“These are the days we won’t regret. These are the days we won’t forget.” Like come on. Thirteen-year-old me frothed that kind of stuff. 

My life has been a mosaic of music and memories. 

Until recently. 

Over mid-sem break, I went back to Vanuatu. Staying in a village with no power, no reception, no internet, and no running water, listening to music didn’t exactly count as a priority. But surprisingly, I found I didn’t need it – or even really miss it.  

There was so much to hear in the absence of music. The sound of water splashing against the rocks. The sound of the coconut trees swaying in the wind. The sound of roosters, always wanting to remind me it’s morning (girl, it’s 11am, the sun is up, we get it). The sound of laughter from people I’ve spent my whole life loving. 

Maybe it’s because my left ear is still completely blocked from that speedy descent in a 20-seater plane a week ago. Maybe Jojo Siwa’s Karma music video turned me off music forever. Or maybe I’ve just learned to love the silence. 

All I know is that now, I don’t need music so much. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m deleting Spotify. I came up with this article while Norah Jones sang sweet nothings into my ear. I’m just saying I’m not so afraid of the absence of music. 

Maybe we don’t always need to soundtrack life. Maybe life is the soundtrack. 

Everything is music, right? 

Tione Zylstra
Tione Zylstra

Tione is one of the 2024 Glass editors. She's a final year Journalism and Justice (majoring in policy and politics) student who lives to write about everything going on in the world. If you're after more of her work, check out Urban List Brisbane, The Music, and Purple Sneakers. Concerts and food are her go-to, so hit her up for either of those and you'll have a winner.

Articles: 14

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