My Story : I used Music to Escape, to travel and dream

My Story : I used Music to Escape, to travel and dream

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Written by Mickey Solow |
Growing up from the humblest of beginnings, we didn’t have a lot. At that time, it didn’t
mean much until I started growing up. I saw my shoes, wished they were newer because the
kids at school had a lot of those. So I always felt like i wasn’t good enough. I thought maybe if I
was good at something, I’d get recognition from that but I quickly found out that people aren’t

They say it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is
nearest of all to us. This light presented itself to me in form of Music, it incited imagination and
creativity I didn’t know was buried under layers of my skin. I sold my cleverness and bought

I used music to escape, to travel and dream. I wrote about my low self-worth, broken
confidence, past relationships, even my past mistakes, someone could always learn from them.
I figured that to write is to right things. Experts are quick to point out, in order to move through
loss and beyond it, we must acknowledge it and share it. Hard to argue with that, music became
an outlet rather than a hobby.
Some people become musicians to be famous but fame encourages us to believe that if it hasn’t
happened yet, it won’t happen. And that discourages a lot of young artists, I myself at times.


The first step was the hardest. Fear is the true name for what blocks all artists/dreamers from
fulfilling their potential. For me, it could’ve been fear of failure or fear of success, i don’t know. It
could’ve been fear of abandonment. This fear was more rooted in me because like most artists,
I tried to become an artist against my parents’ wishes or call it their good judgment. For a
youngster like I was, this was quite a conflict. To go squarely against your parents’ values
means you better know what you’re doing. You’d better not just be an artist. You better be a
great artist if you’re going to hurt your parents so much. These thoughts went through my mind
every passing day.

But parents do act hurt when children rebel, and declaring oneself an artist is usually viewed by
parents as an act of rebellion where I come from. The guilt it brought me, music took away. As a
younger artist this was very confusing to me. I myself have considerable gifts, and have in fact
won awards for practicing them. So I wrote poems that turned into songs even when they
neglected to supply that most rudimentary nutrient: encouragement. I exposed myself to the
savagery and disappointments of creating.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity and I saw this through music; some of my best songs
came from a place of no hope.

Music has taught me that often audacity, not authentic talent, confers fame on an artist. The
audacity to be an artist in a world where they are looked down on, the audacity to make the first
step, the audacity to see my dream through amidst all the doubters and critics. The audacity to
prove them wrong.

I say it with great assurance that music helped me learn the art of survival,  of loss, hope, face,
money even self-belief. There’s a sense of power that comes from dealing with the shame,
anger also with criticism as an artist. That’s why music is my drug of choice, whenever I feel
happy or sad, regretful and reflective. It gives me a feeling of identity, a sense of faith and self protection
because when we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, we are not in
a world of could-have-been and regrets.
The trick to survive for me is to learn how to let myself heal using music to try, rest and dream.


***This article is among the articles being published under our Therapeutic Purpose of Poetry and Music Tea Talk Series / #TPPM. Mickey Solow is a Ugandan Rapper based in Ntinda and a member of N T M

*** Don’t forget this series runs up to 1st April and shall share with you stories of hope so keep following and use the hash-tag #TPPM / #PoetryMusicTherapy on social media. We shall reach you!

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