At Guitar Center, we believe that music is an essential and powerful tool. It lifts us up when we’re down, and brings us hope when we feel like we have nothing left to believe in. It’s there to celebrate with us on our good days, and brings us comfort on our bad days. And when we’re feeling isolated or alone, it gives us a sense of community. The power of music lives not just in those who experience it, but those who make it, which is why we continue to support and inspire musicians of all backgrounds. That’s also the reason we invited over 20 artists to share why they make music.
From Grammy winners to up-and-comers, Guitar Center’s Make Music campaign featured a unique mix of artists representing all styles and instruments. Each shared the stories of inspiration behind their reasons and methods for making music. We spoke with artists like H.E.R., Margo Price, A-Trak, Mike Campbell, Lucius, Juanes, FINNEAS and more, to learn why music is essential and how they’ve continued to explore their creativity during the pandemic.
In speaking with this variety of incredible musicians, we learned that while the music we make differs from artist to artist, what we have in common is our reason for creating—whether it’s to spark a connection, express ourselves or satisfy our inherent need to create. Below we highlight a selection of the artists we interviewed. You can explore all of our Make Music interviews on our website.
We Make Music to Create Community
Music is a universal language. Whether it’s music from Colombia or California, metal or reggaetón, music connects us. It connects us to each other and to ourselves—where we came from, who we are and where we’re going.
“We've all seen how music brings people together,” says Grammy-nominated DJ/producer A-Trak. “When you're at a concert, the people in the audience might disagree on a lot of things, but they're all experiencing the same vibrations. Literally vibes. Frequencies. Those movements of harmonics and rhythm and lyrics, the way they can assemble people and soothe them, calm them, elevate them or make them feel like jumping. It's beautiful.”
“When I sing, I feel a connection to something bigger than us, something from the universe, like energy,” says Latin Grammy Award-winning Colombian artist Juanes. “I think art is really important for anybody and any society. I found, through music and art, a way to connect with the rest of the world, and a way to feel and identity with something. It’s just like magic.”
“The most challenging and rewarding thing that can be done as a songwriter and musician is to create a song that provides a level of instant empathy for the listener,” says five-time Grammy Award-winning producer FINNEAS. “If you can express something that someone else can’t express themselves, that is such a powerful thing.”
We Make Music to Spread Joy
When we think about pivotal moments in our lives—both good and bad—we can usually tie a specific song or piece of music to that moment. That’s because music can help us spread joy and positive vibes through a shared message or feeling. When an artist expresses themselves, it gives us something to feel. Here’s a few artists who told us making music helps them get back the joy that they share.
“I play music because people listen to my music, and it might articulate what they can’t necessarily say themselves,” says Grammy Award-winning artist H.E.R. “I say a lot of things that sit in the back of people’s minds and their hearts, and they can’t necessarily say it. It’s such a powerful thing. I feel like I have more of a responsibility with my music to continue to give people things that they need in substance.”
"I make music because I want people to feel something,” says drummer/producer Destin Johnson. “I love the idea of captivating someone's attention, in the span of a few minutes or the span of a show. I feel like music is one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful instrument we can use in the world today. So, if I can be a part of that, that’s fine with me."
“I make music because it’s such a joyous thing for me,” says jazz drummer Blaque Dynamite. “I love the energy it gives people, and I love receiving their energy back.”
We Make Music Because It’s Essential
It's impossible to imagine a world without music. For many artists, it's impossible to imagine them doing anything else.
“I make music because I need music the same way I need water,” says electric and upright bassist Max Gerl. “You might be able to make it a couple of days without it, but it’s essential. If I didn’t have music, I don't know what I would do when I get up in the morning. It’s a universal language.”
“The fire was lit in me at a young age,” says Grammy Award winner and longtime Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell. “I was inspired by the bands from the ’60s, never dreaming that I would ever really be a record maker, or actually meet and work with some of those people. It’s blown my mind. In my lifetime, I’ve been so blessed. But I know if I had never made a record, if I couldn't make a penny, I’d still do it, because I have to. I don't know how to describe it. It’s like you have to love your child, because you do. And I have to love music, because I do.”
“I make music because I have to,” says singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Celisse. “I need to. Music has been the most important thing in my life for as long as I can remember. Without music, I don’t think I would be as joyful, as peaceful or as generous a person.”
We Make Music to Inspire Others
Whether it’s inspiring you to make your own music, or encouraging you through a tough time, music is always there. Here’s a few artists who told us how they hope their music inspires others.
“I create music because it makes me happy,” says drummer, and former Navy Band member, Camellia Akhamie Kies. “I make music so it can be heard and appreciated by others so they can be uplifted.”
“I hope I inspire people to write songs that are unique and a little outside the box,” says Grammy-nominated country artist Margo Price. “There's no formula. As Loretta Lynn said, ‘You have to be either first, great or different.’”
“I hope that people listen to my music, understand my story and just feel it,” says French-Caribbean singer, bassist and producer Adeline. “I just make music to make people feel good. Besides my own story, the reason why I keep going is also to sort of show young girls, young Black girls, young immigrants, people in the hood where I grew up in France, and just other people, that they can do it. They can do whatever they want. They can go after their dreams, you know?”
The one thing all musicians have in common is a connection to, and love for, music. But we all have different reasons why we play. What’s yours? Make a video showing us what you love to play and tell us why you make music—post it and tag it with #WhyWeMakeMusic and mention us @guitarcenter.
You can see more and read more from all artists we interviewed on our website.