Love Letter To A Record: Rya Park On Adele’s ’21’

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.

Rya Park – 21 by Adele (2011)

Dear 21,

You mean more to me than you will ever know. I first heard you when I was 16 years old. I was in my school uniform and had just eaten some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I was trying to learn how to play ‘Drops Of Jupiter’ on the guitar for a YouTube cover (haha) when I stumbled upon ‘Someone Like You’. I don’t think I moved for the entire song and I balled my eyes out. I was too young to understand the heartbreak that you were going through, but it made sense to me nonetheless. The stark power of the lyrics and the flawless piano left me in awe.

You weren’t my first love, I would have to give that to Avril’s ‘Let Go’ or Red Hot Chili Pepper’s ‘Californiacation’, but it was definitely love at first sight with you and I and know we will be together forever! (I’m so clingy, I know).

To say that I am obsessed with you is probably an understatement! When I was in London visiting my cousins in 2012, I bought a book with all your songs on it. I put my hand up to perform at my school assembly about once a month, and every. single. time. it was one of your songs. ‘Rolling In The Deep’, ‘Don’t You Remember’, and every other song in the book. My singing teacher asked me to try something else, but I was pretty persistent in wanting to stick to the routine. I knew you inside and out and still do.

I always had it in my head that I would be a singer. Nothing else even crossed my mind. In Year 11 I had a meeting with my guidance counsellor and she tried to convince me to do some science subjects. I told her that I wanted to be a singer, and she laughed and proceeded to put biology into my schedule. But there you were when I got home, inspiring me and reminding me that I could become a musician, continually showing me that there was more than enough room in the universe for a female with a loud voice and an honest message.

You have everything any friend could ever want. So many dimensions and facets to you that are undeniably beautiful. You play the piano when I want to cry, you kick in the drums when I’m angry, you bring in strings and guitar when I’m feeling nostalgic. You’re never too much, and you’re never not enough.

‘Turning Tables’ helped me through my first breakup. It was 2016 and I felt small and inferior, unheard even. This song beautifully captures what I was feeling at that time and helped me realise that I needed to end the relationship.

Later in my life, when I was hit with depression and anxiety, I came back to you in a different way. Your lyrics spoke to me in ways that I had never expected and I felt more connected to you than ever. You taught me to be more vulnerable and to open up to people when I was feeling down.

10 years down the track, I still talk about you all the time. My partner, whose favourite bands are Metallica and AC/DC, also puts you in his list of favourite albums ever. You speak to everyone on all levels. You won a motherfucking grammy, so I’m sure you do know how amazing you are.

I know ‘Rolling In The Deep’ talks about someone always having your back. But that’s how I feel about you. You’ve got my back. And I’ll forever have yours.

Rya Park

Rya Park’s new single Bitch is out today along with its official video. Watch it here and peep her upsoming tour dates, below.

Rya Park ‘Bitch’ Single Tour

Friday, 20th September

Grace Darling, Melbourne

Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 28th September

Oxford Art Gallery, Sydney

Tickets: Official Website

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