My Musical Journey through Love

‘Twas the night before Christmas and a few feet from where a man vows to love a woman until the day that 8x8x8 is 4, artists’ renderings of Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder witnessed a union born out of a love of music. It’s only fitting that a portrait of Stevie Wonder hangs near where I will jump the broom, being that his music played such a huge role in my first date with the woman of my dreams.

In fact, music has played an integral role in every part of our relationship, and the soundtrack to our marriage was scored long before we met at a Talib Kweli & Mos Def concert or sat in my car listening to Stevie for over an hour. Yes, a trip to The Village to be serenaded by Marsha Ambrosius resulted in a late night and early morning a year before she released her debut album. Erykah Badu sang “Next Lifetime” and I thought we were over until a few nights later when she grabbed my hand during a conversation with Aja and Fatin Dantzler of Kindred the Family Soul. We sat in Walmart’s parking lot listening to Leela James’ My Soul before she visited her brother in Atlanta, and parked in my living room to listen to Lyfe Jennings’ I Still Believe when she returned from a girls’ trip to Miami a few months later.

Life works out funny at times; two people born a week apart, raised on soul music and coming of age with hip-hop found themselves occupying the same place at a concert and when the music stopped…they fell in love. It wasn’t as easy as the boy meets girl scenarios in our favorite songs, but more of an LP that chronicles the ups and downs of a relationship in the 21st century; there was self-discovery and heart strings to be repaired, old flames to be extinguished, a friendship at stake and a chance at love to be taken. Yeah, this is a Hip-Hop Soul concept album–think vintage Mary J. and Carl Thomas’ Emotional.

I’m not sure if Fatin and Aja understand the impact they’ve had on our relationship. First, there’s the mutual love we have for their music, but being in their presence over the last 18 months and witnessing the value they place on their marriage has been paramount in knowing that what we have is special. Talking to them backstage after a concert, their love for one another oozed off of them and even though we were “just friends” at the time, I believe we could both see a future for what we shared. Six months after attending Fatin’s birthday party she declared the venue was where she wanted to get married, and a few days later we decided that we would be married on the next Christmas Eve. I conspired with Fatin for him and Aja to sing “My Time”, her favorite song by the group at their album release party, so I could make my official proposal.

Thank you, Aja & Fatin!

I think back on late summer nights when we saw Al Green or The O’Jays in concert, completely enveloped by the love songs of generations previous to those that don’t write about love in the same way and think we’re both from another time. Then my mind wanders to the music of our home; workstations and record players serenading the two of us as I write or she prepares for class: Teddy Pendergrass for hours in my area, while she mixes Nina Simone with Raheem Devaughn, Marvin Sapp and Luther Vandross. However, when the record player starts spinning “Let’s Get It On”, it’s quiet time and the whole nine.

But it’s Stevie, it always has been, always will be, that connects our souls. There is something about his genius that just speaks the word “love”. We both stop and pay attention to the words he uses to express the emotion, the passion, the pain and the prospect of what life can be when is shrouded in love. It’s what intertwined us in that car many moons ago and scores the magic that we call us.
So I stood there in front of my family and hers, our friends, listening to Anthony Hamilton tell me what love is all about before Amel Larrieux recalled that she never thought she would find the words to stand up through any weather and then received my wife before God and my mother. Over tears of joy we share vows of commitment and a respect for an institution that will stand as long as the music we’ve grown up on, fell in love over, and dance the night away to as I whisper in her ear like on the night we met:

“I don’t want to be nowhere but here, nowhere in this atmosphere, stratosphere, ionosphere, ain’t no sphere that’s bright like here, I’m good where I am!”

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