It was a Tuesday morning. Sitting at my laptop, I typically jump right into my email to start working. But this time, I opened up a YouTube video to listen to music first.

I had been craving music for a while. Unlike many people who have their go-to playlist or channel on their phones running in the background during their commute or while running, when it comes to music, it has to have my full, undivided attention.

It’s probably because I pay close attention to the lyrics and what they mean. Or that I invite the emotions of the song to pour through me — the hurt, the heartache, the anticipation of joy – and it requires my focused, sense of awareness.

The video happened to be an audition from X Factor. The combination of the song, the voice, the singer’s backstory, and the emotional response of the judges moved me. Tears came up and before I knew it, I was blowing my nose into a tissue.

Then I realized I had to jump onto a client call. Regaining my composure, I felt like I had released a lot of internal stress. While the stress itself was subtle, it was like I had created an avenue for all that was weighing me down unconsciously to slip away. My mind felt clear.

In that vein, I compiled some favorite YouTube videos of songs and stories that are so riveting and heartfelt. When I listen to them, I can feel the chills, the lump in my throat, and I feel the love and ache that their creators pour into their artistry.

If you’re looking for some crying therapy to release some emotional stress or simply want to enjoy poignant storytelling, check out these videos.

  1. The X Factor 2015 – Josh Daniel singing Labrinth’s “Jealous”

The first time I watched this video, I felt the hurt that Josh poured into his rendition of this song, dedicated to his best friend who passed away. This video was a tearjerker in part because of this story of loss, but also because of how powerful it is to see in real-time how his performance impacted the emotions of the judges. One can only assume what loving person they had lost and how they shared this sentiment. The power of song to convey emotion on the same wavelength truly astounds me.


2. The X Factor 2011 – Lascel Woods sings Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody”

Lascel’s story of growing up in foster care and the fact that his biological mother had never truly heard him sing before (until that audition!) touched a nerve for me, the judges and the live audience. His voice beautifully lifts everyone’s spirits and reminds us that the love between a child and their mother overcomes any barrier or separation.

3. Sara Bareilles sings “The Light”

I first started listening to this song around the time of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan March 2011. At the time, I was in graduate school and because of the monumental scale of the event overseas and the lives lost, I just couldn’t bring myself to work on my thesis that was due in a few weeks. My heart felt like it was in a fog. The lyrics in her song, about trusting that everything is going to be okay even in a literal or metaphorical hurricane, is where I go to whenever I feel the need for more faith.

4. Sara Bareilles sings “Bluebird”

When I got my first digital piano in my apartment, I played this song and sang along. The lyrics were so poignant and sensing my anguish as I poured the emotions through my voice, my dog whined and sat under my feet at the piano as if to comfort me.  Towards the end, the song crescendoed into a heart-wrenching cry before falling back into a whisper. It felt like an emotional release. I’m grateful for the song’s message about rising up, spreading your wings, and taking flight.

5. Britain’s Got Talent, Bars & Melody audition singing “Hopeful”

I chose this song to end this list on a youthful and uplifting note. The two young boys adapted the lyrics and performed this rap about bullying in school. Written as a musical letter to Mr. Bully, they ask for acceptance and remind everyone that they can use music as their hope. The fact that these young kids turned being bullied into an act of creative expression to empower others assures me that the world can be a lighter place.



Which videos did you end up tearing up for? How did you feel afterwards? Did they make you reevaluate your relationships or what is important in your life? Did they help you let go of a little stress? Leave me a comment below!

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