By Ashley Slack

Face blushing, fingers trembling, heart racing, the strings of my guitar felt unusually difficult to play as I counted off the beat and began to strum. All I could hear was the sound of the melody echoing through the hushed auditorium as the words to my own song sat on the tip of my tongue, waiting to be sung. Then they took flight intertwining with the melody. At the moment nothing else mattered; I solely focused on singing the song that I had spent weeks working on; the song that I had become attached to; the song that I had written.
There are no words to adequately describe the feeling you get after performing an original song for the first time in front of an audience that does not solely consist of stuffed animals. As my friends and I walked off the stage and back into the crowded auditorium, beaming smiles plastered onto our faces, I knew it was the beginning of something I’ve spent years dreaming about.
Since first grade, I have known that I want to be a musician and singer. As silly as that sounds, music is the only passion that has stayed with me unwaveringly. I have always been influenced by music: my grandma used to sing and play the piano whenever I went over to her house; my dad and uncle played in a band together while I was growing up; I started taking piano lessons when I was seven years old. I knew I had the music bug, but it really took off after my dad took me with him to a recording studio.
Going to that recording studio truly made me want to make something out of my musical background. In sixth grade my friend and I began writing our own songs; we spent every recess and lunch sitting at the tables planning out how exactly we were going to become famous singers. After about a year of working out various songs and ideas, my friend gave up on our dream, saying that there was no way we would ever be successful.
Around that same time, I talked to my dad about the possibility of going somewhere with music and singing.
“Ashley, very few people make it in the music business. The odds of you or really anyone ever making it are very small,” my dad told me. Although it stung and I felt downhearted at this truth, I wasn’t going to give up. I wanted to prove that I would someday be one of the people that beat the odds.
Since then, I have taken up playing the guitar and writing my own songs; songs that have depth and meaning. I know that I’m not the greatest musician or singer; there are some days where even I feel that I am going for a goal that I can never reach. But regardless of what happens, I just know that I have to have music in my life. After I performed my original song for the first time, there is no way I am going to give up on what I love the most.