Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vitas Found Me!

It was a difficult night, December 16, 2011. My Pastors wife had just passed away. She was also my mother's aunt and it was very unexpected. Everthing was making sense and at the same time it wasnt. I couldnt sleep as always, the feeling of coming home to only my bed never appealed to me much. I went online, like im accustomed to. Youtube is one of the sites I always check. Along with Facebook and Twitter. I remember someone posted a video on Facebook, of which the contents I cannot remember, for what I was about to find moments later would be what I have been waiting for all my life.
The video led me to Youtube and it was funny, of what I could remember. I think it had something to do with a funny singer from one of those talent shows. on the suggested videos I noticed one titled, "The Man With His Crazy Voice". It appealed to me for some reason. I clicked on it, not knowing that that one click would change my life forever!
The music was... Joyfull. I enjoyed violins, even orchestra for that matter. Then what I would describe as "the most peaceful voice I have ever heard in my life", begins to sing in a language I recognized. Russian, it was one I was familiar with since It was one I had chosen to learn. Although hard teaching yourself, haha.
As soon as those high notes came out... I was in shock! I could not believe it. What was that? I thought to myself. Woah!!! I had never heard anyone, much less a man make such a beautiful sound like that before. I had to keep listening. And again with the high notes... By this time I was so surprised tears were coming down my face. Most great singers give me chills down my spine... But no, this new (to me) singer had brought only Tears of... I dont know how to describe it. He was Perfect, he was Vitas!
I had discovered Vitas, or rather, Vitas had found me! After coming out of the shock I was in, I knew my life was about to take a huge turn. I had to know who this amazing singer was. I watched more videos on Youtube of him and I came to one of Vitas singing "Besame Mucho". Woah!!! I said again, he sings in Spanish? Amazing, my first Language. I knew from that moment Vitas was going to be a great part of my everyday life.
My past consisted of pretty sad moments. Ive been through a lot. But God was very Merciful of me. Thanks to Him I am sane and whole, not to mention alive. But that didnt mean I didnt suffer from depression on my lonely hours of the night. My past was too harsh on me to ever forget. The lying and abuse always came back to mind. Forgiving is one thing but forgetting is a whole other thing. I am a pretty shy and closed person, for that same reason. Only certain things made me happy. And Vitas was about to become one of them.
The next song I heard was one that I cant spend the day without hearing more than once. "Ulibnis" Smile. I could just picture him recording this with a huge smile on his face. Oh, how it makes me smile so much. In fact listening to Vitas has made me smile more then I have in my entire life. I cant stop. His music and his voice always positive expressions make me happy.
I have done what I can to obtain most of his music, it has become part of my life. I go through my day with Vitas singing, as if he was the soundtrack to my life.
Someone told me that Vitas comes to you at the time when you need him most. I agree... I dont know how but its true. I have heard many people have been healed with his voice. I can say he healed me from extreme sadness. I am now more happier and confident.
I am a big Music fan, and I enjoy singing as well. Although I get very judgemental while singing or listening to someone sing. But that didnt happen with Vitas. He was Perfect, I couldn't find anything wrong with his voice, or his performace. he hit every note exactly the way it should be. He is musically intellegent and has an extraordinary talent!
Listening to the song "Dedication" brought me to tears. Not because of the lyrics, for there are none, or the music, for its mainly Piano and drums. But the Melody of his Voice. Vitas sings this song with so much passion and as the title states, dedication. On the high notes you can feel the Pain! It has become my favorite song, for the emotions produced by this song are endless to me. I believe there is no greater instrument then the Human Voice.
Now, how can you not believe in God, when he gives certain people such great talent. I dont think Vitas was touched by an angel, I believe he was touched by God and sent to help those of us in need. Vitas is a gift to the world. Vitas is Our Voice! Thank you God! Thank You Vitas!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My trail to Vitas

I found this Music Therapy blog a week or two ago. As per usual with me, I had a hard time trying to post to it. You see, I laughingly call myself "Tech-lexic" meaning: anything having to do with technology just escapes me. My cell phone for example, is way more phone than I need or require, but it's pretty, and it looks kind of flashy, so I bought it! I can't however do anything more with it, than call, text, or take an occasional picture... but I digress.
As I said, I had found the music therapy page earlier, and had made several attempts to post to it. So, understand that I had written my story several times. However, because of the tech-lexia I failed to save any of the previous attempts. Now, after reading more of the stories, I realized that I wasn't even breaking the surface of what Vitas really meant to me, or why I had needed his healing voice in my life. So, here goes, trying again to write my story of "My Trail to Vitas."
I don't want to go into minute detail of my childhood and early life, I figure we all escaped our dysfunctional families, broken hearts, scrapes with sexual molestation, low self esteem etc... ad nauseum. Not to belittle anyone else, I just don't want to itemize my deductions this close to tax time! Suffice it to say, that due to poor health, I spent most of my time in bed, my only entertainment being books, TV, the internet, and my puppy dog Baby. (Such a love!) Would you believe that with such a life, I found myself very depressed?
Concentrating this part of the story on my internet surfing, I spent loads of time on YouTube. I spent many hours of the day there, looking up laughing babies, cute pets, and yes, I'll admit to seeking out some of the gory pictures too like that man with the warts all over his body... Yikes! But it was the music where I spent most of my time. I'd listen to one song, and look to the side bar and click on the next one that took my fancy. I kept seeing what I thought was a stupid post saying "The Man with the Crazy Voice". I kept avoiding that one for months, just because the title annoyed me! Well, one night, I remember it well, it was in May of 2006, I finally got over my aversion to that "crazy voice", and clicked it. It took me to Vitas, singing Opera 2; the video where he is on stage with the hooded musicians, and the fans in the grandstand behind him moaning and waving their arms. I listened, I watched, I got hooked! One song, one listen. He mesmerized me. So young, yet he seemed to have such command of the stage, and of course I loved his cheeky expressions for the camera!
It took me a while of surfing to realize that this was one of Vitas' first songs, that he had been around for several years before I found him. That he had literally thousands of videos on Youtube, and maybe hundreds of songs out there to listen to. From that night on, my YouTubing was concentrated on Vitas. I learned my way around the internet to more sites, and all the info I could gobble up about him. As time went on, more and more people posted English translations for his songs. Then, not just the sound of his voice filled me, but also the beauty of his words settled in my soul..
Almost immediately, I started feeling more at peace with myself, and my health. More accepting of things that I had no control over, and happiness started creeping back into my life. I started sharing his music with my kids and grand kids. They put up with my fascination, and even had a few of their own favorite songs. If ever I was away from my computer, Vitas songs played in my head all day, and kept me in a good place. Over time, I found my way to FaceBook, and all the lovely Vitas fans around the world whom I now count as friends. I'm not so alone in my room anymore.
Fast forward to August of 2010, when the announcement came out on Vitas' web page that a USA/Canada tour was planned for December and January 2010/11! OMG! Right? I was ecstatic, as I'm sure all of you were as well! I literally jumped out of bed and ran around the house shouting it to anyone who could hear that "Vitas is coming to the states!" Woo Hoo!! And this is where my story gets good! I decided right then and there, that if I was going to get the chance to see Vitas, and he see me... I was going to do something about my health and body. I got serious about my eating habits, and quit drinking soda pop completely. I was given a treadmill, and I put on a Vitas playlist, and walked/sang myself to a 75 pound weight loss, and the best health I had been in for nearly 20 years! I was inspired. I kept my eyes on the prize, and Vitas was that prize for me.
Through meeting so many other Vitas fans out there, an offer came to me to be onstage with Vitas at his Los Angeles venue, as one of his "Birdies". Did I want to do it I was asked? Heck YEAH I typed! So yes, lucky-lucky me, I got to sing and dance with Vitas to Bird of Happiness. The entire 4 plus minutes of being on stage with him is a cherished memory! The night was surreal, and I did my best to just keep myself in the moment. I actually got to meet Vitas! Sometimes it is still hard to believe.
After the concert we were all invited back stage to meet and greet him, where he kindly signed autographs for everyone that wanted one. He was so genuinely happy to see all of us, and he is really just a sweet, wonderful man in person. He had to be tired! He had 7 concerts to perform from one coast to another from the USA to Canada, yet he sat after that concert and signed until the last fan got her autograph. By the time I was done, I had gotten 3 kisses and 2 hugs, 2 autographs on paper and one... wait for it... one autograph on my arm, next to my ~V~ tattoo. Yes, in anticipation of his coming to America, I had his logo tattooed on my left arm. So, while I was backstage with him, he signed his name right above his logo, in purple. When I got home, I had his signature tattooed permanently on my arm. I couldn't wash that arm for 3 days until I got to my tattoo artist... Not that I wanted to wash the arms or hands or cheeks that touched him anyway! :-) Whenever I look at my tattoo, it brings me right back to that stage, that night, and all that happiness I felt at being near Vitas. This tattoo is the only one I have, and the only one I will EVER have. I feel to get another tattoo would lessen how I feel about Vitas, and there is nothing that will cause that! Yes, I am the true meaning of the word FANatic! You can see a little pic of my tattoo in my profile pic on the blog! :-)
What is it about Vitas that touches us so? I can never explain it. Is it the sound, the range, the timbre of his voice? Is it his poetry? His physical beauty? His passion, honesty, generosity? I think it is all of the above, and more. I am forever grateful that I clicked on his crazy voice. Through Vitas, I have lost the loneliness and depression that were my only friends. Through Vitas I have found many new and wonderful friends around the world who maybe are just a little bit FANatic like me! Through Vitas I got to throw away all my fat clothes! Thank you Vitas for all you have done for me and for so many around the world!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How Vitas help me come back to life

I discovered Vitas in 2006. It was near the second anniversary of my son's death. I lost my son to suicide when he was 29 years old. He was despondent over health issues, loss of a job, and a broken heart. Too much came down on him at once for his tender heart to withstand. It is the most horrible thing for a parent to lose a child for any reason...but suicide, it is indescribable torment. A parent feels they should be able to protect their child. So with the loss is not only grief, but guilt, regret, and endless "what if" scenarios that replay over and over.
My husband and I went to grief counseling, and we learned that our son's suicide was like many - he hid his deep pain from those closest to him, putting on a brave front, not wanting to hurt the ones he loved. And they do not realize that their method of escape is what will hurt the ones left behind the most. They think they are relieving them of burden. Intellectually, I get this. And I know that probably nothing I could have done would probably have changed the outcome. But emotionally, I could not let go of the grief and pain. I went through the motions of life, but my heart was dark and sad, and I cried alone at night when no one could hear or see me. All joy was gone, and I was not able to enjoy my other children as I should have. They reminded me of the missing one...

Then I found Vitas. I was just about ready to go to bed, and there he was on the front page of Yahoo as I went to shut my PC down...Opera 2. For some reason I watched, and like many people was amazed. I showed the video to my youngest son, who loved him. He sent me on a hunt for more of his music. I did not know it at the time, but this was the beginning of my road to healing.

While Opera 2 was impressive, it was Vitas' ballads - the songs about his mom, and the songs filled with so much emotion that got to me and helped me heal. I cannot explain exactly how the music helped me. But I saw the deep love for his mom, and the grief and longing in one song...then the next he is smiling and singing "Bird of Happiness" or "The Kings Can do Everything." I connected deeply with his grief, and at the same time admired how he could go on and smile and be happy while still missing her and loving her. This was a great lesson for me. It helped me see that I could/should also be taking joy in life and in my other children, and not let this grief consume me forever.

I cannot say I thought it out exactly that way at the time. Most of this is what I think after reflection about how and why listening to Vitas helped me. At the time, it just felt like magic. I could cry with him, smile with him, and when I was listening, I felt GOOD. His music made me smile, sing, dance.

So I kept listening, and the more I listened the more devoted to Vitas I became. And here I am almost 6 years later, still listening and loving his voice and everything he does. Of course I will always miss and grieve for my son, but discovering Vitas was the turning point of moving on with life and not letting the grief consume me. I did some research on music therapy since this happened, and I found that there is a scientific basis for how music heals. Whatever the qualities in music that makes this happen, Vitas must have them in abundance. His voice is more than amazing. Maybe it is a little bit magic...