“I thought it was just someone piecing together random Michigan songs.”

I found out about Sufjan Stevens in one of the most random ways, which was, uh, my college girlfriend in the mid 2000s, um, just had a random CD that was missing its cover art that she’s like, “I don’t really, I don’t really care for this. Do you want it?” And she handed it to me. And it said like “Michigan” or something like that; “Say Yes to Michigan.” And I was like “Oh, okay. Yeah. Sure. I’ll take this like random Michigan themed, you know, compact disc,” because I would take any music at that point, you know, just add it to my like big CD folder that I had at home. And it’s crazy. I, I figured it was just like something that like, a department store was handing out for free. Some novelty Michigan CD with random music on it. And nine times out of ten I wouldn’t throw that into my CD player because what would be the point? It wouldn’t even accept it.

But for some reason I took it and then I threw it into my CD player and listened and I still thought it was novelty. I didn’t think it was a real musical artist. I thought it was just someone piecing together random Michigan songs. And then somehow they started to just kind of like — they worked for me, eventually. And it’s like, “Oh, this is kind of unusual, not what I typically listen to, but somehow this works?” Um, ended up being Sufjan Stevens’ ode to Michigan. It was an entire, uh, release of his that was dedicated to the state and it was beautiful. I had dabbled in like, folk or lighter music at times throughout my life, but I think that was kind of a real turning point where I was like, “Wait a second. This actually is kind of amazing?” And it sort of fostered this growth of, of an entirely different genre for me, of music that I care for and, and I love.

So, um, it’s weird how random that is. You know, if I don’t take that CD on that particular day, or if I take it and I just add it to my CD rack ‘cause it says Michigan on it and I don’t really care about what’s inside or what’s played on it… um, I don’t know. It’s just one of those like, forks in the road where you’re like, “Something so random led to a pretty big shift in my life.” I love music and that’s such a big shift in the music that I like.

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