EDUCATION

Sometimes Music is Personal: UM student pens songs about personal experiences

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Maggie Houin plays the guitar. Photo by Ali Watts.

Ali Watts
Oxford Stories
amwatts@go.olemiss.edu

Sometimes music is personal.

Tupelo native Maggie Houin, 20, wrote two songs this year for both her older sisters who each had a child. Her sister, Mollie Houin, was the first sibling to have a child in the Houin family. Her little girl, Tatum, inspired Houin to pen a ballad.

“I had no expectations for her song,” Mollie Houin said, “and when I was about to hear it, I was a little nervous and did not know how to feel. I was overflowed with emotions, and the words she wrote were beautiful for my baby.

“I cried from joy thinking about how precious my child already was to me, and I will forever be thankful for that song. I cannot wait for Tatum to be able to listen and understand the meaning of it one day.”

Houin is a junior at the University of Mississippi majoring in integrated marketing communications who plans to make advertising videos after graduation. She has been playing guitar since she was in the second grade, and sings and writes songs.

She received her first guitar in kindergarten. In second grade, she received her first acoustic guitar and became determined to learn how to play. She asked her dad, who is in a band and plays various instruments, for help.

“I came home every single day after school and practiced,” she said, “and I remember I practiced so much that my fingers were in extreme pain.”

Houin watched videos and mastered the guitar. Her father taught her a few cords, but she is mostly self-taught. In fourth grade, she wrote her first song about her oldest sibling leaving and going off to college. In the seventh grade, she received a guitar more fit for her age that she stil uses.

Houin began playing guitar and singing in her church youth choir in seventh grade. She had never performed for a huge audience before until she was in the 11th grade when she and a friend signed up for a school talent show.

“I was super nervous with it being the first time on stage in front of that many people, but we actually ended up winning the talent show,” she said.

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Maggie Houin writes songs. Photo by Ali Watts.

Houin entered the talent show again her senior year and won it two years in a row. Since her first song in the fourth grade, Houin estimates she has written around 15 songs, and she is writing several songs at the moment.

She said her song inspirations come from family and past relationships that did not work out. She has played and sang at a few locations, including Fox’s Pizza Den in Tupelo.

Houin is shy and reserved when playing and singing in front of many strangers. She said she has gotten better with stage fright, but still gets nervous in front of a big crowd of unfamiliar faces.

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