The Pride in Memphis

Fun and CreativityGlobal Beat

When you think of Memphis, most people think of music, particularly blues, maybe Elvis, gospel, or even rap. We’re a city of performers, our alluring talent and effort pulling you in— great for tourists.

Memphis is made up of so many different types of people who all, of course, create things and live life in their own way. But what binds this community together is our music.

Maybe, we don’t all love blues. Maybe we don’t all love rap and gospel. But when we tell people we are from Memphis, we’ll always smile with pride at compliments of Elvis, BB King, Johnny Cash, and many others who have made music and recorded here.

Despite not embracing everything about Memphis, any Memphian acknowledges that music shapes the way the rest of the world views us. It’s quite nice, taking compliments for things you didn’t even do. I’m no famous musician making her way on Beale Street, or singing her heart out in the Orpheum, but I know the impact of music on a smaller scale.

Becoming a rapper while in high school can be strange to other teenagers, but it’s not as rare as one would think in Memphis. Other genres of music get attention too: I can’t tell you how many times I see an upcoming show from some indie band on social media, or my own friends dabbling in the arts during school. They don't all play the same type of music that distinguishes Memphis as Memphis, but they all play with the same passion and energy. They all support and encourage each other, too.

I grew up playing music, and since my dad used to work in the entertainment business on Beale Street for around twenty years, a lot of positive encouragement came from friends he made along the way. They would always shine a bright smile of excitement when my dad told them I had taken up bass, just like him. Encouragement comes from every walk of life here, to keep musical passion alive. It’s a beautiful thing.

Music shapes our community in Memphis. We’re a generally diverse city, and that may have its own problems regarding the maintenance of a community. I will promise you though, there will be at least an ounce of pride in each Memphian because of our music.

Katie Lamm is a 16 year old KidSpirit editor from Memphis, Tennessee.

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