It all started with a broken heart…
A while ago, I was struck with a heart-wrenching case of lovesickness. Every night before bed I’d play Bitter Pill, an soothing album by Gavin James. The sound perfectly resonated with my feelings, although I had no clue what the songs were about. That was until the singer-songwriter visited The Netherlands a year later to play a show.
To prepare for the concert, I dove into the lyrics and discovered that the entire album was about heartbreak! It turned out to be the most intense concert experience ever because I understood every word Gavin sang. The fact that we shared this feeling forged a tight bond.
I remember thinking; what would happen if the entire audience would feel the way I feel right now? How nice would it be if more people could experience this warmth, this affirmation, and this connection?!
My vision: music is more than sound
From there, I started doing research. And what I had anticipated turned out to be true.
Only one third of people listen to lyrics in songs, yet artists put so much effort in these. To them, it is an extremely important aspect of their music. They put themselves out there and write about key moments in their lives to cope, but most listeners completely miss that aspect. They only hear the sound.
Music is more than just sound. The sound is important because tone either hits the spot or it doesn’t, but besides the melody there is a deeper meaning. Whenever a listener can relate to the story an artist is trying to tell in their song, whether they have gone through the same thing or can only imagine it, something special happens.
It creates a bond that, for two people who don’t know each other, goes beyond the surface. It is as if you revisit the experiences at the same moment to the tones of the melody and are able to get to know each other on a level that your best friends might not even know you.
What can this connection offer you? It can provide new insight, help you escape the moment, let you wallow or lift your mood, if that’s what you need.
But because we usually fail to grasp this meaning when listening to music, it rarely ever gets to that point. That’s because we only hear the sounds and aren’t listening to the stories that the artists are trying to tell in their songs.
This is where I spotted a huge opportunity. What if I can forge this connection? What if I could bring the artist and the listener closer to each other through the stories in music? That would bring the music experience on an whole different level than most people are used to.
This is why I started my mission:
Bring listeners and artists closer to each other through the meaning in songs.
I resigned from my job and founded an online platform: Nolala.
What is Nolala?
Why Nolala? Because music is more than ‘lalala’. No(b)la(b)la, no BS.
Nolala is the place for:
- Behind The Track-interviews with artists. What, for example, is the story behind the latest Bastille album?
- Top 5 articles on artists What is the music of John Mayer actually about? and various themes including This is the alternative to cheesy Christmas music;
- The ‘Soultunes‘ of ‘ordinary’ music lovers; inspiring stories about music with a special link to something they have experienced;
- Background stories on big hits. For example, This is what Childish Gambino is telling us in This Is America;
- Musical Life Hacks. For example: find out what your anthem is if you’re a Game Changer;
Once you’re aware of these background stories, a song will probably never sound the same again. From then on, you’ll always have the feeling that you have come the know the artist a bit better.
Who writes these posts?
I, Marjolijn Winten (1985), have always had a great passion for music and entertainment. So how do you turn this into your life’s work if you are not musically talented yourself (a bit of an understatement, really) and when your roots lie in a village in the rural south of the Netherlands, which is not exactly the epicentre of the entertainment industry?
The first step was to move to Utrecht to do a degree in Communication Sciences, followed by a master’s in Media & Culture.
After my studies, I had the opportunity to develop my marketing skills further and work at Universal Music, Warner Music, MTV Networks and an agency that organises events. In 2015, I quit my job and eventually started Nolala.com.
Besides Nolala, I work as freelance marketer, I try to see my family and friends as much as possible, I like to experiment in the kitchen, I go to the gym and do yoga, which all helps to keep me going.
It is with great pride that I introduce my pillars of strength, my creative all-rounders; my contributors. For years, Celeste, Amber, Carlijn and Jeanine have been providing you with high quality articles in Dutch and English, develop social media content and set up the greatest collabs.
Do you have any suggestions or shout outs? Let us know!
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