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Finding the Right Chord

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

By Shamaur Williams


When I was younger I was hidden within myself. Locked away in my head, because I never kept a steady home, barely had my father, and my mother was sick. But music, it lived in every home, in every hospital and on every street. My mom sang before getting sick and my dad produced and rapped. I had something I could relate to him about, I had something that grasped my father’s attention. When I was making music, I didn’t feel like I was in the wrong place. I felt a world develop and emotions expose themselves. But every lyric I wrote was about hurt, it was another way of crying. It was another way to hold up a mirror and look at my loneliness. So I hid behind others’ music, for such a long time.


Until I discovered that I needed to let go, I let tears fall and allowed my once-weakened voice to become my strength. I’m not weak and my music needed to reflect this. If I was sad, I sang it. I screamed words you shouldn’t say because it was how I felt. I sang about my mental war, a psychological battlefield, where I didn’t throw grenades, just hurled the words I couldn’t say. Words became poems, poems then became song. It all sounds melancholy, and sometimes lyrics are blunt but they are true. I rewrite arguments and make them beautiful. I take all the monsters that have driven my psyche into a cesspool of hate, and give in to the pain. I let the music reflect my mental state and it usually ends with a sigh of relief, a melody with peace and tears that follow. It’s not wrong to be sad, but it felt wrong to hurt myself and music helped me. But I’m still not done with this song. I forgave my father and rejoiced for my mother, while admiring the beauty of earth. But I just can’t find the right chord to make me happy again.

Shamava Williams is a student at the Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) of the School District of Philadelphia.

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