“I think you’re likely to be drawn to someone who has similar tastes in music. Maybe; maybe not. I’m not so sure about that, because you hear that old thing about opposites attract. So if I love gospel, but the person I’m attracted to loves jazz, I’m not so sure if the music is a factor there.”
Despite Dr. Sands claims, students at Columbia College Chicago, between the ages 18-23 seemed to think differently about the place music has in their lives and sat down with me to discuss the influence their favorite genres has had on their love lives.
Cozetta Smith, a 20 year-old, Broadcast Journalism major, and Kendall Williamson, a 20 year-old Audio and Acoustics Major believes music definitely affects the type of people we’re attracted to.
“Oh most definitely,” said Smith when I posed the question. “Music can definitely have an influence on the type of people we’re attracted to.”
“I agree, depending on the type of genre of music I’m listening to, I’ll always feel some sort of way,” said Williamson. “For example with R&B, that’s the language of the love, with gospel, I’m able to express my dedication to my religion.”
“When you listen to a certain song, there’s that type of emotion that comes over you or by listening to the words their saying, it can definitely mold your impression of the person you’re looking for,” said Smith.
Christiana Trailor, a 20 year-old soldier in the U.S. Army says she models her ideal mate based off of some of her favorite type of music.
“Yeah it does, because you’re sitting here listening to your favorite rapper or singer, then that makes me want to find someone who’s like that,” said Trailor. “Who’s gorgeous and influential, so that makes me want to find someone who’s like them. It’s the lyricist and the artist that catches my eye.”
However, Carolina Cruz, a 23 year-old Broadcast Journalism student, agrees with Dr. Sands and believes though music has a place in love, it’s a not a determining factor in friendships or relationships.
“I think music itself is just good to have,” said Cruz. “In my case it’s just a good channel to take things out. In my case it would be giving it too much credit to a specific song or specific genre of music to determine that I’ll care more about him than how I love you. I think it would be giving too much credit for it to be that’s why I care about this person more than I do the other person.”
While the students agreed on the idea of music as a role in determining the type of people we’re attracted to, others believe music holds a deeper connection to love overall.
“Love and music do have a connection,” said Haley Garcia, a 19-year-old Music Business major. “Like music, love is something that everyone has a connection to.”
“The attraction is always going to be there in music,” said Haile Hasen, a Chicago-based hip-hop artist from the No Nights Off collective. “Love is a topic that’s never going to get old. Love is never going to go away. As much as it seems like it [in music], love or the thought of love is never going to go away. Worldwide, everyone has a word for love no matter what your culture is. It’s part of our culture. It’s institutionalized.”
Garcia also offered a different opinion, recounting a colorful analogy of the way music orchestrates your initial attraction to someone of interest.
“When you see someone,” said Garcia. “With your vast library of music that you’ve accumulated and listened to for the past few years, of course you’ll go through this catalogue thing and something will click for that person. Your mind will just grab the song and you think about that person.”
Haile shares Haley’s analogy, stating “What would the world be without love songs? We wouldn’t know how to express how we feel about people because don’t have the smoothest words. You have wordsmiths who provide you with these words.”
It’s the lyrics from these “wordsmiths” that influenced my initial inquiry. After my interest died down during the conversation I was having with my date, I came to realize music influences my decisions when it comes to love, relationships and the people I’m attracted to. While I’m not one to be picky, music is a huge part of my life and I need to be with someone who shares that. If that element isn’t there, the relationship, in my opinion, becomes unequally yoked.
Music affects every generation in an unique way, but with each generation comes a different opinion and perspective pertaining to the current style and message. What’s fascinating is how the members of that generation decipher its meaning despite public opinion and the expectation of our elders.
Author’s Note: Thanks to everyone who agreed to be interviewed for this!