Music can provoke emotions, help us bond with others, or even inspire us to make positive changes.
Mastercard truly believes in the power of music. That's why they sponsor The BRIT Awards - the most prestigious, exciting, unpredictable night in British music.
1. The Empowering Album
"I used to listen to the same empowering album on a repeated loop to amp me up before I had to do something that was outside of my comfort zone – like meeting someone for a blind date, going into an audition, job interview, first day of a new job, etc. For some reason, listening to that album made me believe in myself and never fails to remind me that I am a strong, independent woman who can do anything."
2. The Weirdly Accurate Pop Song
"This is actually quite weird, but I was listening to a song about cheating once, and it dawned on me that the guy I was seeing was 1,000% sleeping with someone else. And he was."
3. The Post-Breakup Anthem
"Sometimes a song or set of songs just sounds like it was specifically written for you, in that very moment you needed it. I experienced this when going through a breakup. There were two songs from the same artist that almost mimicked my emotions of being so low and down and then coming out of that dark place and emerging into light, being fearless on my own. I think I went about three weeks where I listened to both of them in a row, walking to the tube every morning, and it completely reset my mood and attitude for the day."
4. The Musical Memories
"My dad loved the soundtrack from one particular musical. He had me write one of the songs into my bar mitzvah speech, and I can remember him singing the soundtrack when I was growing up. When he passed away, I bought tickets for my mom and I to see the show together on their anniversary as a way to remember and celebrate him. We were singing and dancing along like he was there with us. I had chills thinking about him."
5. The Grand Piano
"My grandfather left home at age 12 to take work on farms. This was in the 1930s. One of the few possessions he owned was a guitar, and he told me stories of how he'd entertain himself at night in the bunkhouse by playing his guitar. I grew up listening to him play jazz, big band, and swing, and when I started piano lessons as a kid, I played jazz piano to be like Grandpa. When I was a kid, we'd jam together – me on piano, him on guitar – in the basement of his house. He used to tell me, 'Music is the best thing in life. No matter what you got going on, the bad things or good, you can always escape with music.' He played guitar for over 65 years, until his old hands couldn't grip the frets anymore. And then one day, not long after he gave up the guitar, he passed away. Today I come home and play piano when I'm feeling stressed or glum or bored and escape my life a little while. Whether you're playing music or listening to it, nothing else can transport you so immediately outside your circumstances. It's a gift, really, for all of us."
6. The Love Song
"The notion of having 'our song' is VERY cheesy, but so true for me and my wife. It was a Saturday night, and she was wearing one of my jumpers with leggings (as it was so early on in our relationship that we had accidentally spent the whole weekend together for the first time, and she had not brought a spare change of clothes), and we were dancing to it. And I remember thinking to myself, Man, this girl is so much fun; I love that she is just happy to wear whatever and party. Five years later, we got married. That song created such a profound moment for us that we were actually dancing to it when I proposed (totally planned; she had no idea), and then we walked out to it after we were married while all of our friends and family cheered for us."
7. The Game Changer
"A music video inspired me to make healthier choices when it came to my lifestyle. I saw a video of my favourite singer at the time, and when I saw her in a pair of white trousers that tie up at the sides, I looked at myself in the mirror and realised I wasn't happy being the fat kid anymore – and most importantly, I wanted a pair of those trousers!
"After that, I was a lot healthier than I used to be. Even now, when I hear that song, I feel the sudden urge to do some form of exercise."
8. The Not-So-Subtle Hint
"My (then) friend tagged me in a song I'd never heard of, and so of course I listened to it. The song was about someone straight-up saying 'I want you to make a move on me' to a girl they liked. I got the hint, and we started dating a few weeks later."
9. The Pertinent Reminder
"A few years ago now, I was at a job where the company culture was...well, let's just say, demoralising. I was miserable, and I soon found myself feeling really low all the time. I spent months toying with the idea of handing in my notice purely for my own sanity, but every time I got close to doing it, I wimped out because I felt that it would be a sign of failure.
"One day, I was scrolling through songs on my phone when I landed on one that really spoke to me. The lyrics reminded me that they needed me more than I really needed them. A job is a business transaction after all, and you should never let it negatively affect your sense of self-worth or your life. After a couple of weeks listening to it this song on repeat (I mean, constantly), I worked up the nerve to ask my manager for a meeting and to hand in my notice. At the time, it was such a scary prospect, but I now realise that it was, and still is, one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
"As a weird piece of serendipity, I actually later on realised that my cousin had choreographed the video for this song. It was practically meant to be."
10. The Defiant Decade
"It was a time when I was really struggling with feeling heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do or how to get over it – I felt trapped and afraid that I’d never feel okay again. I’d started to listen to a lot of '60s music. For some reason, it was the only place I really felt any solace; I felt the songs were written with real meaning and had words that actually expressed feelings I could relate to. One song in particular made me feel like I wasn’t alone. The song was sad and accusatory and defiant, and I felt comforted."
11. The Curtain Call
"I have a song that reminds me of this time when I realised that the guy I was messaging was not really into me. That song was the push that made me move on."
12. The Healing Art
"We played a show last year in the winter. We like to take a fire pit with us when we're on the road so everywhere feels a bit more like home. After our show, the five of us in the band were standing around the fire, when a venue employee brought us a note. He said a woman from the audience sent it to us. The note said the woman had been struggling the past few years with a crippling autoimmune disease, depression, and suicidal thoughts. That night, she said, it was hard for her to even leave home to attend our show, but her friends convinced her. But then she experienced something amazing to her. Our music found a way into her heart, and she wrote how she was free of sorrow and pain for 120 minutes. She said that she felt normal, and she thanked us. Imagine, five grown men trying to hide our tears, blaming the cold for the sniffles. I think we all felt honoured that the art we created could have such a beautiful and genuine impact on a human life. The negatives of life tend to stack up, but they can’t compare to the freedom music can provide. Music is the outstretched hand when you’re about to fall."
For the past 20 years Mastercard holders have enjoyed truly priceless music experiences - whether it's walking the red carpet at The BRIT Awards, attending an intimate gig, or meeting their idols. To find out more about Mastercard’s sponsorship of The BRITs, visit mastercard.co.uk/BRITs.
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