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Music Saved My Life

I am alive. Truly alive. And it’s all because of music. Since I remember myself I was creating art. Maybe because I was more introvert I was so much drawn into this private world of creating something out of nothing. It kept me busy from interacting with others and it added some value to my self-esteem. It started with me drawing circles for hours when I was three, writing short poems when I was five, trying to write my first tunes in notes when I was nine, and writing a fantasy book at the age of twelve. Neither of those were masterpieces but they all gave me much joy, and occasionally a good word from others. After painting throughout my early years I went to art school. I got really good technically and learnt to paint hyper realistic oil paintings that looked like photos, but the problem was that I wasn’t satisfied. Focusing for hours on one thing helped me to forget of all the hardships of immigrating from Russia to Israel when I was seven, but I felt that I can’t express myself fully. Until a true miracle happened.

As a teenager I went to art school. It was a prestigious high school in Israel, but the truth is that I felt very isolated and lonely. Drawing gave me a sense of purpose but it wasn’t enough. While drawing I listening to artists like Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Bjork and Depeche Mode, admiring their unique sound and the amount of emotion that a few seconds of their music were able to stir in me.

My friends were in a high school band. I would go to their concerts and admire everything they were doing. One day I gathered the courage to go to their rehearsal. When I came in I witnessed for the first time the miracle of music creation. They were talking among themselves about ideas for their song, and trying it out on the spot. I felt mesmerized and paralyzed. Something was happening inside me that I did not know what it was. But it was so strong that I couldn’t stay. I left after a few minutes I left and went to the art studio upstairs. No one was there and I could actually hear the band rehearsing pretty well. I sat down on the floor and started crying. I did not move from that place for about an hour, listening and weeping. As far as I can remember I only cried once prior to that, after my grandmother died. As an immigrant child in a foreign country I learned to hide my feelings pretty well. When I was picked on by the locals I felt that if I would hide what I feel from the world I would be less hurt. This just led to years of burying my feelings. But when I was listening to that band playing, all the barriers suddenly broke down and I could finally let go. Music was what made it happen. I knew at that moment that I would devote my life to being a musician, so I would be able to do the same thing for others.

A few months later, my high school started an innovative electronic music production class, with a world class teacher and music software developer. I signed up. While clearly I was completely fascinated, the other 20 students slowly lost interest. Soon I was the only who was left, and I had an amazing teacher who became a private teacher, and a music studio at my disposal. I asked the principal of the high school for a key, and got the keys to the kingdom. I was spending all of my time in the studio, days and nights, blasting bleeps and beats at high volumes. My high school had also a well known music departments, and my studio was in that part of the school. Often, world known music professors and conductors would come and visit me. Alas, they were not admiring my talent, but begging to turn the volume down.

Soon electronic music was not enough. I started borrowing instruments such as bass and electric guitar from the same band that was responsible for my beginning. I started recording without actually knowing how to play anything. Writing and recording music was more important for me at the time than the perfect performance part.

As years passed I found the best teachers in town to study music theory with guitar, bass, piano, composition, and finally, the most vulnerable of all, vocal lessons. I wanted to be like Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, or like Bjork. I wanted to know to play many instruments and sing, so I could able to create my own musical universe. I found out that the price between the best teacher in town and an average teacher was not that big, but the return for the investment was huge. From age of thirteen and on I would spend most of my money on music equipment and music education. I would record, write and play every day, sometimes up to twelve hours a day. With the money from my Bar Mitzvah I bought my first computer. I worked for two years and saved enough money to buy my first electric guitar. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so I had to compensate for the lack of resources with creativity. When I got a cheap and horrible sounding synth, I would run it through guitar effect pedals that I borrowed, and would get sounds that were usable. I glued my cheap plastic mic more times than I could remember. But it never stopped me, it just motivated me to make more music, get more educated, get better at what I do, so that one day I could do what I love without the limitation of money.

Fast forward two decades, 2 albums, numerous remixes of artists who are my heroes, such as Bjork, Trent Reznor, and Matisyahu just to name a few, performing in countries like Israel, Russia, Greece, USA and more, thousands of hours of playing different instruments, producing artists in every musical genre, writing music for theatre, starting a record label, and a million other musical experiences along the way and it's still that feeling of gratitude that I feel when I think about my life and career as a musician. I now make a living from music, from selling my own music, remixing and producing other artists. I recently started a record label for drug abuse prevention by giving healthy alternatives for youth. Music saved my life. It gave me a purpose and meaning, and got me through my lowest moments of depression. It was also responsible for many of the best moments in my life. Every time that someone from the opposite side of the world writes me that a song of my had an influence on their lives, I feel that I’m not spending my life without a purpose, that I am actually doing what I was meant to do. And I’m saying this in a very humble way. My life is a life of service.

Music saved my life and I have a strong feeling that at least one time in your life, it did the same for you. You and I, and the rest of the world, are very similar in that way. Music has a tremendous power to change out state of being, literally within seconds. All we have to do is press play, or pick up an instrument, or hum a tune.

It took me around eight years to release my first album. It took so long because I had to learn a lot in the process. One of the things that I learned was to trust myself that I what I had to give had value to others. I invite you to become a part of my journey, and to listen to that first album that is so dear to me. At the end, the reason I made it, is very simple. As everyone else, I simply want to be loved. I hope that you will love the album. If you do, or you felt connected to anything that you read, please comment. I would be honored to talk to you about my journey or yours.

So if you'd like to hear the first milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my debut album, 'Only Music'.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.


Sasha Raskin

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