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What is your pre-show ritual or practice? How does it make you feel?
Before a show, I usually try and get by myself for a few moments and just get quiet. Simply by just breathing and getting present, I can let go of everything going on in the day. This allows me to give myself fully to the music.
What fuels you before a show?
I don’t like to eat before I get on stage. I like to feel light and fluid. My “go to” before a show is a lot of coconut water:) Making sure I’m super hydrated before getting out there.
What’s the best performance advice you’ve ever received?
One time we were playing this big show up in the mountains of Colorado. It was in this outdoor amphitheater and the whole town showed up. When we started playing, the sound was awful and I was getting more and more pissed off as the show went on. When I looked over at my keyboard player, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled and said,”Sometimes it sounds bad.” He said it so beautifully that I just started laughing and realized the divine play of it all. As a musician, every show sounds different and sometimes really bad. But when I remember that line, it helps me accept things as they are. That’s a good thing … accepting things as they are.
Talk us through the creation of one of your songs: How did it come to be? What was the creative spark? How did you then make it a reality?
One of my favorite songs off the new album “KALA” is a song called “Bowl of Light.” While living in Maui, a friend gave me a book called “Tales of the Night Rainbow.” One of the first stories in that book is the story of the “Bowl of Light.” In the story, it is explained in Hawaiian culture that every being that comes into this world is born with a bowl of light. That light is what they call our “mana” or spiritual energy. It is like our “life breath.” The Hawaiians believe that the goal of our life is to grow our bowl of light to its fullest potential.
On the other hand, if one does something hurtful or wrong, a stone goes into our bowl. The light and the bowl can’t exist in the same place. So if we do enough hurtful things, all of our light goes out and we are left with a bowl of stones. But the Hawaiians say that at any time we can flip our bowl upside down and start again. After hearing this story and meditating upon its meaning, the song “Bowl of Light” came through. It is inspired by the story but also by different experiences we had on the islands relating to it.
Give us a playlist of five of your favorite songs, and tell us why.
Song 1: “Before David” by Midnite. This song is just soooooo roots and gets me in such a vibe. The lead singer Vaughn Benjamin is one of my favorite singers I’ve ever heard. He is a mystic man and definitely channels some ancient beings. This is the song I listen to if I need ground out.
Song 2: “So Good” by Mason Jennings. It’s all in the title. This song just makes me feel good. Mason Jennings is one of my favorite artists. His songwriting is just amazing to me and he doesn’t conform to the mainstream.
Song 3: “Kusanagi” by Odesza. Vibezzzzzzz. This song just takes the load off for me. Makes me think all celestial:)
Song 4: “Culture Bleeding” by Xavier Rudd. I love this song because it is such a prayer. It carries a lot of power. I love listening to Xav because of his deep deep connection to land and to country. We love this song so much that we cover it sometimes in our concerts.
Song 5: “Pretty Pimpin” by Kurt Vile. How can you not bob your head to this one? Such a feel good song and soooo unique.