The bright side of ‘Black as snow’

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She found in music true joy and in god a savior who pulled her out from the throes of a deadly addiction

Yangchen Zam

from Thimphu

Twenty-three old DechenWangmo, a name unheard of in the local music industry, is among 15 young talents selected from 15 countries, who will be competing in the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union’s (ABU) radio song festival in South Korea on October 11.

Her song ‘Black as snow’ recorded at M Studio  and nominated by Centennial Radio has made it to the top 15 of this year’s ABU radio song festival.

“I’m honestly quite satisfied with just being in the final 15 and it’s quite scary for me because I have never been on an international stage,” said  DechenWangmo.

‘Black as snow’ is an original English song composed and sung by DechenWangmo. The song’s theme revolves around getting trapped in abusive environment and the courage and power to come out of it, and regain control over one’s own life.

“You are who you are for a reason and no one has the power to control you. You are fit to be independent, strong and courageous,” said DechenWangmo, describing the message of the song.

This song has a strong autobiographical undertone as well.

Since 14, DechenWangmo battled with depression and drug addiction, moving in and out of rehab centers for almost seven years. “Nothing seemed to help me change until I found solace and peace with god,” she said, “it was god who filled my empty life with hope and encouragement.”

Unlike many youth today who are more into hard rock, metallic, hip-hop and pop music, she prefers listening to jazz and blues. She grew up listening to Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and Beatles which led to Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and so on. She prefers these genres more for its depth in general and also because she could relate to it.

Inspired by her father who is a guitarist and also a singer, DechenWangmo chose to direct her life and career toward the world of music. She never really learnt how to play guitar but picked up through learning songs in boarding school and by writing poetry and lyrics.

“The reason why I think we are all gifted with different talents and abilities is so that we can bring about joy through doing what we love,” she said.

DechenWangmo is planning to start her recording studio.

She went to Sunshine school till class III, then to Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School and later to Woodstock in India. She attended several colleges but never actually completed her degree because of her problem with drug addiction.

“Everyone is our society should know that addiction is a disease. I have to say to those of you struggling with it that you can change your life, you will fail many times but you will come out of it. Get any help that is available and don’t ever give up,” she says. “You must understand that addiction is a disease and that it can be cured.”

‘Black as snow’ is just the song you need to listen, if you’re fighting addiciton.