Why Upstage360? Because sound matters

Why we created the UPstage360, a letter from our CEO


In 2014, my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Godehard Guenther, was diagnosed with end stage stomach cancer. Despite being given a 1% chance at an additional year of life, he decided to live, both personally and professionally, with more fervor than ever. Even while undergoing weekly chemotherapy, he continued to purchase land and machinery, envisioning a future that I was not able to see—a future for Soundmatters without him in it. When he passed away 596 days later, I found myself not only reeling from the sadness, but also struggling to deal with an indeterminable anger. It was unfathomable how someone with such drive and genius could be taken so soon.


But, as I was attempting to move on from the death of someone I consider to be the greatest mentor I have ever had, tragedy struck even more closely to home.


My mother spent her entire life working as a psychologist, catering to the emotions of hundreds of others around her. As her daughter, I never once witnessed her unleashing any of the burdens that she carried with her upon those around her. It took me many years, however I eventually came to understand that whereas most others make decisions and then act, my mother planned studied, and weighed all outcomes before speaking aloud to others. So when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, my always calm and ever refined mother began to retreat into herself. While the rest of the world moved on, she spent hours poring over all the literature she could find about the disease, eventually reaching the decision that despite having encouraged countless numbers of patients to cling on to hope despite all odds, she herself no longer had a desire to live in a world where her hands shook, her voice faltered, and her demeanor gave away her incurable disease.


For the next few months, I spent many hours accompanying my mother to countless therapies with the hopes of maximizing her motor movements and speech abilities, not allowing them, or her, to succumb to Parkinson’s disease. Around this time, Level 10, a startup company, also contacted me with the hopes of collaborating with Soundmatters in producing a sound system. However, my heart was not invested and I could not help but wonder why it was necessary to produce another sound system when the world already possessed the necessary engineering for producing high quality sound systems. With both my mentor, Dr. Guenther, and my mother on my mind, I wanted to invest my time in something that would make a difference. I found myself in a strange predicament because for the first time in my life, sound did not matter.


As I continued to help care for my mother, I began to turn more and more to music to ease my burdens. It was through this exploration that a friend introduced me to the music of famed composer, Peter Hubner. Hubner spent his lifetime creating music as a form of therapy, researching the components of music that would allow patients to be healed simply by listening to his carefully curated sounds. It was through this rendezvous into the world of music therapy that my own passion for sound slowly began to evolve and led me to the creation of Soundmatters’ newest product.


I have truly poured my heart into this new sound system, the Upstage360, immersing myself in understanding how sounds could be manipulated to create a sound system would maximize the benefits of sound for all types of listeners – healthy, healing, anxiety ridden, burdened, hurting, etc. – to benefit from sound therapy, It is therefore my greatest hope that from my own experiences, this sound system will be able to provide a sense of release that I have been able to garner from my own understanding of what truly matters in life, and that everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of sound therapy and share in my passion for why sound truly matters.


Emma Yu / CEO soundmatters 2018.12.30