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Maggie Magowan

Maggie Magowan

As a songwriter, I like to think poetically, and doing so makes me sound so much more interesting! So, with that in mind, I like to believe that any worldly sound can become music. Be it the songbirds, or the roadworks that wake you up in the morning; the sound of babies crying or old toothless men laughing; the silence of the night scattered with cars going by, or is that the wind in the trees? As music is part of the world, we are part of it too; we have the power to push boundaries, the power to provoke action and reaction, the power to break things and the power to mend them again. The power to hate and the power to love. Music represents the ebb and flow of life and as such, its power to heal comes from the inside out. 

Music has always had a very big presence in my life. I have been singing since I can remember, inventing and imitating songs on the piano since I was at least four, and falling in love with the guitar at ten. The guitar brought with it notions of songwriting, so I tried my hand at it and it really flourished when I reached high school. I wrote my first full song at the age of 13 and things snowballed from there. A lot of my songs were inspired by everything ranging from feeling like an outcast and teenaged angst, to discovering love and being rebellious! But at about 16, my songwriting and my infatuation with music came to a grinding halt, and I lost touch with music almost completely. Through my late teens I felt immensely misguided and thus began an identity struggle which I still grapple with now. In late 2018 I started a university career that didn’t interest me but it seemed to be what everyone else around me was doing and I wasn’t one to question the status quo (or so I thought!). 

The years went by slowly and at 21 I started writing songs again. After the loss of a very close friend, everything I did was infected with undercurrents of grief and a lot of confusion. I had reached a breaking point and the only things I felt I could turn to were music and my own words. Music was an anchor when I felt like I was being swallowed up by my thoughts and a shield against the (nasty) way I often caught myself speaking to myself. My music hasn’t changed much since I was a young teen but as an adult I’ve come into my own creatively, and the last couple of years have consisted of re-learning my love for singing and playing and writing songs. Music has become a place where I can escape to when I need respite from the monotony of life as well as a place to feel grounded when I feel myself spiralling. 

When I think about sound as a method for healing, the way I see it, it’s not a band-aid but rather a heart surgery. It doesn’t cover up the problem and try to hide the scar (in a very ugly and obvious way I might add); instead, it tears us open, reaches inside us and with a precise hand it carefully finds and cuts out the root of the problem. What is more, it all happens on a level of consciousness we cannot otherwise reach on our own. And then, it stitches us up again and the scars that are left take time to heal – we care for them and nurture them, knowing that even though we’re still in pain, the worst is over. And the scars that remain remind us of the pain that we went through, but they also tell a story of the pain that we released and overcame.