Love Letter To A Record: Bec Sandridge On Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Bec Sandridge – ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You’ by Aretha Franklin (1967)

I first met you when I was fourteen.

Many say that you don’t know what true love is when you’re that young, but I felt it. Strong. You were a game-changer…

When I heard your voice, learnt the way you spoke, I knew this wasn’t a relationship out of choice.

You knew how to feel and you weren’t afraid of feeling. I loved this about you.

You see before I met you…

Before I learned about you…

I simply hated music.

Sure, I bought the popular singles (from Sanity) that all (or most) of my classmates bought – from Scandal’us’ ‘Me, Myself & I’, to Faith Hill’s ‘This Kiss’ and Holly Valance’s ‘Kiss Kiss’…

But you were different. You knew how to speak your mind. Even in fear, even in heartbreak. I felt like you knew me. I felt inspired to be more like you. I wanted to be unafraid.

You see, when I was ten, I was forced to learn the trombone in the school band. I hated the band conductor. I hated practice. I couldn’t read music. So, I pretended. I felt I needed to be perfect and I was far from it. I wasn’t naturally gifted like the other kids who had learnt from such young ages. From that moment, I never wanted to pick up another instrument again. I never wanted to listen to music again. It was the most unimpressive instrument a girl in primary school could learn. My classmates thought I was a joke.

Time sprinted on. I got through primary school.

I made it through year seven. I changed schools. And there you were…

Your voice was on the car radio, blaring!

It was my birthday and we (my school friends and I) were headed down the South Coast for a seaside getaway.

What a soundtrack, I thought! I’d never sung so loudly with my friends before. I’d never done this with anyone before. I felt freedom.

When I returned home from that vacation, I frantically grabbed the dial-up cable cord, connected to the internet. I waited and waited. The robotic glitches of the internet squealed, clacked and clacked and croaked.

It felt like a lifetime. My MSN automatically flung open, but it wasn’t time to share with the world my favourite words of yours (yet) – that emotional status update was yet to come…

I needed to know where you were playing live. I needed to see you. I was 14. This was where I learned to love again. Music wasn’t all so bad after all! I don’t care that my introduction to you was initially a Best Of record.

I thought you could do no wrong. The more I got to know you and your back catalogue, the more I was proven right. I found it so hard to believe that you were born in 1967. How could there be such an age gap between us? After all, I was born in 1991. Differences aside, you were my match and I loved you unconditionally.

You had many great friends. Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and I know you also wrote with them a lot too. At times, I felt jealous. But that wasn’t our biggest issue. The heartbreak really hit when I found out we would never meet. This one hit hard. You see when I dialled up to that Internet that Spring afternoon. I found out you lived abroad. And you hadn’t flown overseas in three decades! You had a fear of flying and we were never to meet.

At times, this made me sad. I learnt to not lose the dream. I learnt to swim in my own tears.

I learnt Respect for myself…

When I look back at you today I still feel the same… You just mean something a little different to me now.

I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You…

You make me feel like I can be my true self. Although things didn’t work out with us, you gave me the strength to believe that I can fall in love with anyone.

I could love someone else more than I loved a man.

Bec Sandridge’s debut album ’Try + Save Me’ is out October 4th. Pre-order here. her national tour kicks off the same day in Brisbane. Head here for dates and ticketing details.

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