Black Music Month: What does music mean to you; businesses

by: cathy foreman


Last week, I talked to curators of music festivals. This week, I’m talking with business owners. I thought this was a good match because some business owners are particular about the music they use in the building of their brand and with setting the tone for the work they need to put in for the day or with projects. Case and point, I decided to hit up hotelier, Damon Lawrence and well myself.

Damon Lawrence:

I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Damon previously, when he launched his boutique hotel The Moor, a part of Homage Hospitality. I thought it’d be cool to chat with him again as his hotel is quite unique and has been carefully curated. I was curious to find out if his music was as carefully curated as his vision for The Moor.

Damon Lawrence - Co-Founder and Creative Director, Homage Hospitality
Damon Lawrence – Homage Hospitality

“My mother sang background for the Gap Band and Troop back in the late 80s and early 90s. So, it was common for us to wake up to music blaring from the living room in the morning. I grew to have such a love and appreciation for music in my life. I can thank her for that. 

Music grounds me. It also takes me to places in my past I want to revisit. I live with an internal soundtrack, which is shaped and molded. but the element I want to draw from. My driving playlist is different from my workout playlist. My cooking playlist is different from my working playlist. They each evoke a new thought or mood and each one is essential to my life. 

For my company I decided to make all of our company values lyrics to songs. That was the best way to ensure I would remember them. Lyrics serve as a mantra from moment to moment. Just the utterance of certain words automatically links to the lyrics of songs in my mind. I live in song! I’ve often believed that I could live my entire life only speaking in lyrics and live a very fulfilling life. Music makes me happy; it drives me. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not listening to music. With Tidal, Pandora, Apple Music & Spotify subscriptions I never miss a beat. For context, on Spotify alone I spent over 75,000 mins listening to music. 

This is a roundabout way of saying what music means to me. It breathes life into me. I wouldn’t say music is life because God is life for me, but I sure do thank God for music! “

Cathy Foreman

Including myself in this series, one would think it was a no-brainer, but it wasn’t. Yet, here I am speaking as a business owner about why I love music. So lets get to it.

Cathy Foreman – photo by Chris Charles

Music really has always been in my life, as I think back to my youth and my grandmother being heavy into the church, there was always gospel filling the house. And when we’d take road trips, it was always music that would help us lose ourselves and time during the trip. For the most part, it’s the same today as far as travel goes. On the road often, my mom and I create playlists … in vain, mind you, because we always end up just listening to whatever is playing between Heart & Soul and The Groove on Sirius XM.

I didn’t understand the significance of what music spoke until I was probably in middle school; realizing that what these artists were singing about was in some part, largely, what I was feeling at any given moment. I remember I used to wear out Keith Sweat’s, Make It Last Forever. At that time in my life, when I didn’t know much of anything about love, but knew everything about love… you know what I mean. This was the cassette that I played over and over again. It expressed everything I was feeling at that time, or so I thought. But I won’t take you there.

Coming of age and into adulthood, music was simply always in the background. From my memories of college, to the birth of my son, to my first concert and so on, there are songs that are literally the soundtrack of my life as I am sure there are many for you. It wouldn’t be until much later when music would become a part of my foreground. This was when I got into photography and started my business.

As I’ve stated, music has pretty much always been a part of my life. What I didn’t realize or even consider was just how much music moved me. I simply never really thought about it, in that respect. And it wasn’t until I found photography that I fully saw and realized the power, movement and the strength it has with people. I mean you see it all the time, but as a photographer I was forced to see it in a much different light. It was as if photography afforded me a second set of eyes. A set of eyes that could see through the facade and get to the real. And photography with music, cut that much more deep, revealing so much more. Then, as a photographer of concerts, it takes me to deeper place when editing my photos, helping me to craft the emotion of a moment.

So, when I think about what music means to me; it’s quite simple. Music is a conqueror, transcending time. Music is a communicator, speaking to people of all ages, languages and ethnicities. Music is an integral part of our lives helping to express sentiments within and of our stories. In short, music is a connection.