Music was the one thing I could control. It was the one world that offered me freedom. When I played music, my nightmares ended. My family problems disappeared. I didn't have to search for answers. The answers lay no further than the bell of my trumpet and my scrawled, pencilled scores. Music made me full, strong, popular, self-reliant and cool.
I didn't understand key signatures or anything, you know. I'd say silly things at the top of a trumpet part like, 'Note, when you play B naturals, make the B naturals a half step lower because they sound funny if they're B naturals.' And some guy said: 'Idiot, just put a flat on the third line and it's a key signature, you know?'
I lost my mother when I was 7 and they put her in a mental hospital. My brother and I watched her being taken away in a strait jacket. That's something you never forget. And my stepmother was like in the movie 'Precious.' I couldn't handle it. So I said to myself, 'I don't have a mother. I don't need one. I'm going to let music be my mother.'