While I was on the bus heading into work last week, my MP3 player decided to play “Skin” by Mz Ann Thropik. My MP3 player is always on shuffle so chances are I hear a Mz Ann Thropik song at least once a week, but for some reason when I heard it last Thursday a flood of memories filled my head.
I discovered Mz Ann Thropik when I was around 16/17 on MySpace. I fell in love with the music pretty much straight away and was fascinated by vocalist Mzzy. She just seemed so self assured, and strong and everything I wanted to be. Growing up is hard. Some people have it harder than others, dealing with more than just the usual changing body, crazy hormones and figuring out where you fit in life, and where you want to go. Admittedly, I had it pretty easy. I went through the whole goth phase though and did think my life was oh so tragic (it wasn’t) and thought everything was the end of the world (the world is still here), but despite that I still just wanted someone to talk to. Someone older and wiser who could show me the way. Problems are relative, and while I wasn’t dealing with issues such as abuse, or bullying or anything of that nature, I was still a teenager dealing with many changes and a confusing time of figuring out my sexuality. No matter your situation, everyone needs someone to talk to and help them. I was lucky and got that from Mzzy.
I don’t remember when, but I do know I reached out to Mzzy one day through MySpace. I was probably feeling lonely, or maybe just wanted to see if she’d reply (I already considered Mz Ann Thropik celebrities, so a reply would have been amazing!) and so I sent a message most likely just saying how much I loved the band. Lo and behold I got a reply! And from there my relationship with Mzzy, and the band, begun.
Mzzy became my strong female mentor. She was proof that I didn’t have to conform to anyone’s standards. Proof that it was possible to live your dream. Sadly, I have always wanted to be a musician and with no musical talent to speak of, it will always remain a dream. But, she was proof I could achieve dreams that I had the talent and skills for. I remember it felt like I was going to a Mz Ann Thropik gig every second week. I wanted to be at every Sydney show they played (where I could) and I made sure I was always right at the front. I am not ashamed to admit I fangirled a lot over Mz Ann Thropik. Would make sure I high-fived Brad (bass), Ben (guitar) and Miller (guitar/keys) several times throughout a set, and have quite a few of Damien’s drum sticks. I am slightly ashamed to admit that Mzzy still remembers the first gig I went to where I screamed my head off like a crazy person. But hey, we were all young once.
The point of all this, is that I felt Mzzy and the whole band were always there for me. Mzzy has sent me several letters and cards over the years and watched me grow from that crazy, screaming kid into who I am now. And I don’t think I would be writing about music if Mz Ann Thropik didn’t get me so interested in the local music scene. I wanted to be a part of that world and since I couldn’t perform, I would write.
Mzzy listened to me complain about probably really inane things, but she always let me talk. Regardless of what she thought, she would listen and help me as best she could. And I got at least one hug per show. I actually thanked her again recently, and it felt good to find out that it was actually a two way street. She helped through tough times and was (actually, is) my strong female mentor and I (along with all the other fans) reminded her of her purpose, and gave her reason and strength to perform.
Growing up with Mz Ann Thropik was just awesome. Some of my favourite gig memories are from Mz Ann Thropik shows: the time Brad’s amp started smoking half way through the set and had to be removed, the time I got to sing “Dynamite” (just the “bang! bang! bang!” parts) with Mzzy and being part of their “Rule of Three” music video. But all of those things were by-products to what was really important. Having a mentor. When all these memories came back to me last week, I realised how important it is to have a mentor as a teenager. To have someone you can look up to. And to have someone show you anything is possible. I think it’s especially important for a teenage girl to have that kind person in their life. Whether you’re told you’ll never amount to anything, or that you couldn’t possibly to do that because you’re a girl; or your own inner voice is telling you those things, you need someone to tell you and show you otherwise. I didn’t know what I wanted as a teenager. I thought I wanted to study law, but that changed fairly quickly after high school. Mzzy let me know that it was ok to not have your whole life planned out at 16. That whatever I chose to do, I could do it. And if I changed my mind, that was ok too.
No one can say where their life would be had their past been different. Who knows, maybe all roads really do lead to Rome and I’d be exactly the same. What I do know is that having Mzzy there to help and guide me as a teenager laid down the foundation for me writing about music, which I absolutely love, even if I can’t make a career out of it. It’s my hobby. What I do to relax. So, thank you Mzzy and Mz Ann Thropik. For everything.