My dad and I had always had an unusual bond over the entertainment industry. We were both born in Canada, growing up as second and third generations of Chinese immigrants. My mom was born in Hong Kong, attended high school in Hawaii, and then went to LA for college. While both were engaged in Hollywood culture, they had very different upbringings. My dad was very into music, listening to various bands, and was a proud owner of the now-discontinued iPod, which was stolen by five-year-old me and now has Hannah Montana songs downloaded into it. Mom was a ride-or-die Friends fan (a little overrated, in my opinion, but that is a topic for another day).
He also was an avid reader, and to his luck, his only daughter was the fastest reader he had ever seen. At the ripe age of eight, he handed me a book called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Now, I could be wrong, but handing an eight-year-old child a PG-13 book was definitely not age-appropriate. I had just finished the Percy Jackson series at this time, so I guess you would call this a level up? It might not have been his best parenting move, but I read it; nonetheless, I did a third-grade book report project on it. I’m still unsure what my teacher thought of me doing a shoebox project on teens killing each other, but we will let it slide.
Growing up, I was taught that you must know who a ___ artist is, and you must like __ songs. Like many, I had multiple music phases throughout my life. There was the Disney phase with Hannah Montana, the boyband phase with One Direction and Big Time Rush, the guy with a guitar phase (Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran), the EDM phase (that we shall avoid at all costs), the classical music phase, and my current stage which is just a bunch of weird genres grouped together. There was the highly coveted CD rule, though. In whatever car my parents had decided to lease at the time, these essential CDs had to be at hand at all times. These included: Sgt.
Lonely Hearts Club Band, Rubber Soul, X&Y, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Parachutes, 1 (All The Beatles’ best hits in one spot), and mom’s one choice; The Phantom of the Opera Original Broadway Cast Recording. Unfortunately, 1 has been lost when my dad forgot to take it out of our old car when returning it to the dealer. We will miss you.
Books, music, and movies have always helped us bond in our relationship. Whether it be just silently listening to music in the car, or the subtle radio he would spring up on me, going “who sung this? You have to know!”, I think sharing is his main love language. He always made sure I had the necessary means to not live under a rock. Experiences were his number one priority in my childhood; the risk was always worth the reward. I think having these musical influences be a constant in my life made me more culturally aware. I didn’t just enjoy these artists; I experienced them, which I am eternally grateful to my dad for making it happen. By the age of thirteen, I had already visited Penny Lane, Abbey Road, Strawberry Fields, and the Beatles museum in London. I went to Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams concert at BC Place in 2017 with him, which achieved our ten-year goal of attending a Coldplay concert before they would go on a hiatus at some point.
Now, the two of us belt out the lyrics to Drive My Car (The Beatles) on our way (one hour earl,y to be exact) to a Marvel or Star Wars midnight premiere while planning who will reserve seats and who is going to suck up their social anxiety to buy one large popcorn, two grape Fantas, and one bag of Maltesers. I usually get stuck doing the ordering, which is just unfair.
My dad and I have curated the playlist in this article. So if you do not like it, I shall force all the blame onto his shoulders. There are our favourite songs from each Beatles and Coldplay albums, 80s movie jams, Eminem, Kenny G, David Bowie, and more! I even included some Frank Sinatra, which was what my grandpa and I would always listen to before he passed away in 2016. Check out the playlist if you want to have the full experience of driving to Cineplex on a Thursday school night or our annual family trip to Seattle!
PS: I cried for an entire weekend in third-grade when my dad went to Seattle with his friends to see a Paul McCartney concert without me. Apparently, I had school, but that’s just a lame excuse, and I still bug him about it to this day.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: TIANA LAM