Lights by Rishi Kothari
Listen to Lights by Rishi Kothari on Apple Music. Stream songs including Lights (Single Version), Runaway (U & I) and more.

The story of my musical love starts but a few years ago—back when I was starting middle school.

Grade 6 was a time of dreaming for me. Back then, our family was going through many struggles in a lot of different ways; out of necessity comes invention, and out of bad times comes incredible ideation.

One of my favourite memories from that early part of middle school was shuffling the furniture room around: taking off the blinds from my windows, adding a sun mask over my light and pushing my bed right up against the wall so that I could see out of it when I slept. Coincidentally, that was the year that I really got into programming, and also when I decided that San Francisco was the place that I wanted to go to when I was older: it became my dream city. I fell in love with Github's headquarters after viewing it on Google Street View, and even though it sounds stupid, that city was where my heart lay (and if I'm honest, where it still does).

For a kid that barely had a functioning laptop and who distinctly knew that his family couldn't afford a bunch of things, it felt like little more than a pipe dream. But the keyword in that sentence was "a dream." Around that same time in November, our neighbours put these lights on the top of their roof hangover, and they'd usually turn them on in the evenings. We didn't have much back then, but one of my most prized possessions was an iPod with three cracks on it and some earphones that came in the box. At school, I'd download MP3s of random music that I found interesting, and every night, I'd listen to them.

As I dozed off in the wee hours after midnight, those tracks would be the soundtrack to my dreams—the neighbours' lights felt like the same ones that light up the Golden Gate Bridge at night, and as 11-year-old Rishi started to sleep, everything started to feel just a little bit alright. Seeing those lights made me think of a (quite literal) bright future; my dream didn't seem so far away.

Every now and again, I'll move my bed around at night to see those lights on my neighbour's roof, listening back to the songs that lit up my dreams as a kid.

I've been adding to the list for a while, but these songs are the same ones that I've listened to throughout my life—and are synonymous with the single idea that's carried me through my life: city lights.

This trilogy of blog posts was adapted from a thread in my personal channel on Hack Club, and documents the impact that music's had on my life—and more importantly, how it's evolved with me.