“To inspire people in a positive way and remind them dreams do come true when you work hard and stay focused.”
~Didi Benami, about her personal goals in life
I’ve always believed that writing and music go hand-in-hand with one another. Lyrics and melodies inspire characters and stories. The written word inspires song ideas and harmony. And together? They strike a chord that can be so, so powerful. I’ve always been the kind of person who writes to think. Whether it’s a novel, a blog post, or something else entirely, it’s such a wonderful outlet and one that can be immensely therapeutic at times. I don’t claim to know anything about music beyond how special it can be and what an impact it can have, but I’d certainly imagine that the same qualities hold true for it. To have a way of expressing yourself through your passion, it can be a truly incredible thing. And when the two intertwine? It can make for an unforgettable experience.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a proud American Idol fan – have been since season one, will be for as long as the show is around. My favorite this year was – and is – Didi Benami. Not only does she have a unique, compelling voice that draws you in, but she’s about as genuine as they come. She doesn’t just sing songs, she feels the music and tells a story with it. I had the opportunity to see her perform live last Sunday at the Idol tour, and it turned out to not only be a much needed distraction from the sudden loss our family was dealing with, but also a wonderful experience that I’ll always remember. She performed two songs – “Lay it on Me” and “Terrified” – as part of her solo set, and also joined with the other finalists for two duets, “The Climb” and “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Watching her on that stage, living out her dreams, only inspired me to keep pursuing mine, to keep working hard and to stay focused until those goals become reality. Didi’s own goal of inspiring people in a positive way? Accomplished.
I was lucky enough to meet and talk with Didi after the show – gotta love the insanity that ensues as everyone waits by the buses – and I will always be grateful to her for her kindness. When she made her way over to me, I gave her the letter I had written (since I knew I’d never be able to tell her everything about how inspiring she’s been in the brief time we had to chat), and her excited, touched reaction to that will always stand out. I explained a bit about the letter and thanked her for being so inspiring, especially with her “love and light” motto that’s become her signature phrase. Much like Melinda’s “dream big,” it motivates, encourages, and speaks to so many things. I think after I told her that is when she reached over and gave me a huge hug, thanking me and letting me know how much it meant to her. Our conversation alone would have been enough, but she even took the time to come back over to me a minute or two later to thank me again. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I felt someone squeeze my shoulder to get my attention – but it was Didi, who once more proved that she’s a class act all the way. She’s as sincere and genuine in personality as she is with her music, and that’s a definite gift. I look forward to supporting her music career for many years to come.
During a week that was filled with so many difficult times, I have to thank Didi for an experience that was the complete opposite. It was a reminder of the therapeutic powers of music and writing alike (which has also been unbelievably helpful for me this week, in ways I can’t explain), a reminder of staying true to yourself and your goals. Because sometimes? Sometimes that light that comes shining through, sometimes the inspiration that comes from people you admire, sometimes it can be just what you need.