This week, weekends on All Things Considered begins a new series called "Why Music Matters": stories from fans, in their own words, about how music has changed their lives. In this first installment, Seattle resident Nathan Hotchkiss reflects on a sheltered childhood.
"My parents were very religious," he says. "I was limited to listening only to Christian music and classical. My father would stay away a lot, and my mother would be wrapped up in her own turmoil, and it would spill over onto me."
When Hotchkiss discovered he was gay, things grew even harder, as he wrestled with how to tell his family. But he says everything changed one day at a friend's house, when he was 13.
"I was flipping through her CDs and popping in various ones, and happened on The Cranberries," he recalls. "I remember being overcome with emotion, the emotion that was poured out by Dolores [O'Riordan], the lead singer. That touched me — to hear that much passion come out of one body. I really hadn't heard anything like that before."
Click the audio link to hear Nathan Hotchkiss' full story, as well as some words of encouragement from a surprise guest.
"Why Music Matters" is produced by Anna Boiko Weyrauch with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in collaboration with the Association of Independents in Radio and KEXP-FM in Seattle.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.