“And we’re all getting older wishin’ we were young. Hangin’ on the memory of what we would become, singin’, Ah ha ha, I was born to be a rockstar.”


Two SXSW patrons sit in the mulch bed that they are restricted from. There was a small turnout at the Quantum Party on Saturday March 15. They didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose them.

Sometimes the music just moves you. It’s more than good, or great. It’s a spiritual experience.

When the first chords to “Rockstar” by A Great Big World came on I started to scream. Not the typical concert “woo!”, but a giddy little-girl scream. I had my camera in my hands and couldn’t bring myself to take a single picture of the glorious music makers in front of me. I was stunned and mesmerized by the pureness of the music. The band continued with some of their lesser known songs, but I still knew every word. They sang through “Everyone is Gay” and “There is an Answer” and then the band exited the stage. Only one member was left with a microphone and a keyboard. Bombs could’ve been exploding behind me and I never would have had a clue. He started to play the most famous of their songs, “Say Something” and my reaction changed completely. Before, I was a thrilled music loving hippie and the spirit within it, but at the first heart-wrenching words, “Say something, I’m giving up on you,” the tears started to fall. I closed my eyes and swayed with the lyrics about pain and loss and felt every word down to my bones. By the end of the song I hadn’t seen a minute of the performance through my tears and shut eyes, but the music had changed me.

A Great Big World is my favorite band of all time. They promote happiness and fun. It’s a simple kind of music that just soaks into your life and becomes a shield of protection from the outside world. As my tears fell and fell while the set concluded I realized that they absolutely had to know how much their music had impacted my small world. I jumped over a barricade and ran over to the guitarist as he was putting his instrument away. I started to try to tell him how much I loved them, but I was just about sobbing at this point. He looked me in the eye and wrapped me in a hug. He asked my name and I told him that I was Hannah, and I loved his band so much. I was not being very eloquent, however I did manage to croak out one phrase that I was proud of — I told him simply that no matter what he had to keep making music, because it mattered. That’s all I could think to tell him. In hindsight I would say so much to my musical heroes, but I was just glad that he knew that what he was doing truly did matter to someone. He told me that he would relay the message to the rest of the band and later that day I received a tweet from the band telling me that they appreciated me too.

I was a blubbering mess that could hardly be consoled and I ended up tripping over the barricade that I was unable to jump due to my starstruck tears. The set was played on the roof Whole Foods during SXSW and there was at most 150 people there, so everyone watched me obsess over them and then fall on my face. It was an all-around embarrassing few minutes, but honestly some of the best in my life—not just because I fangirled really hard over them, but because I got to tell them how their Great Big World had impacted my small one.

To sum up my experience the lyrics from  “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” by A Great Big World do it best. “You had me in a dream, I lived in every word you said.” and I think I always will.