Photo: Music Makes Me Happy

By Hunter Gilmore

Joshua Dingle, a 25-year-old Philadelphia native and the creator of an art-music event series, “Music Makes Me Happy,” is using his deep connection with music to inspire artistic minds to join together from coast to coast.

From the age of 3 to 12, Dingle said he attended speech therapy, which wasn’t producing adequate results. He was later introduced to music and theatre and said that not only his grades quickly improved but also, within a year, he was able to speak perfectly.

“[Music Makes Me Happy] was inspired by my own personal story,” Dingle explained. “I grew up in foster care and had a very traumatic childhood filled with physical and verbal abuse. I developed a speaking disorder in which I had to write everything down, I couldn’t talk.”

According to Dingle, the purpose of “Music Makes Me Happy” was to inspire social change through art and music.

The brand itself, which started as a t-shirt line, has grown from its Philadelphia roots to additional installations with monthly events in Atlanta and Los Angeles, Dingle said.

Over the last couple of years, Dingle said the movement has garnered tremendous support, gaining co-signs from the likes of Janelle Monaè, Jasmine Sullivan, and Anthony Hamilton.

“I’m excited because we’re expanding to five more cities very soon,” Dingle said.

Beyond the apparel and events, Dingle explained that the Music Makes Me Happy movement also comprises a number of initiatives designed to address social issues. For example, the movement’s “Create, Connect, and Care” event was designed to serve as the glue that holds together this creativity-driven platform.

“We’re creating spaces for people who care about social justice and social change, we create platforms that allow them to use their voices,” Dingle said.

“We create connection points for people who care about the same things or share common interests and we care by incorporating our youth, we can’t expect the future to be great if we can’t positively affect those who will become it.”

In addition, Music Makes Me Happy houses a strong awareness of mental health-related issues and has a taken a conscious stance of its presence within the artist community. Dingle and his team launched an “Emoji Art Show” to help aid in this significant cause.

“(The Emoji Art Show) is a multi-sensory seven city art show that occurs every year to promote the amplification of emotions through art,” Dingle said. “We use emojis because that’s a popular device we use to express ourselves, so we use it to express ourselves in the art show. When we launched it, it was a huge success with more than 300 people in attendance.”

The Emoji Art Show is just one example of the many soulful-inspired events the organization curates to feed minds, Dingle explained.

“Most people who are in Atlanta would come to The Good Sound event, which is a multi-gathering amongst different types of artists,” Dingle said. “It occurs the second Sunday of every month. Some things you could expect are a jam/open mic session, a feature of different artists, conversations around mental health, or directorial debuts.

“There’s no format, it’s all about being organic and fresh,” he added. “You’ll learn about Music Makes Me Happy, network with people, and plug into other things we’re doing.”

For more information about Music Makes Me Happy or to view their upcoming events visit musichappiness.org.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice.

‘Music Makes Me Happy’ movement addresses social change with art, music events

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