Hi Shambhu, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Life is good! I’m excited to share my 3rd album, Soothe, music designed to chill us out. If life is stressful at home, at school or at work, there is lots of relaxation baked into the songs of Soothe so listeners can absorb some of the ‘chillamundo’ I created inside this music to power the road ahead.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Gaia Sweet Divine”?
I wrote “Gaia Sweet Divine” with my friend and singer/songwriter, Kristin Hoffmann, to celebrate the beauty and wonderful feeling of Nature. Walk through the woods, stroll barefoot on a beautiful ocean shore, or hike the Grand Canyon… breathe in the calm of Nature deeply and mindfully. How great does that feel? Inside my music I seek to convey the feeling of Nature’s extraordinary beauty. “Gaia Sweet Divine” celebrates this sweet feeling and inspires us to be mindful in Nature and discover the warm, heartfelt feelings of love and peace.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I recorded Soothe at Magic Cottage Studios situated in the quiet countryside – in Lagunitas, a small town in Marin County, California. Nature’s beauty inspired me every day of the recording. It is a place with walking trails, the sound of a running creek, the tall, shady trees to sit under, and a family of deer that visited us frequently, inquiring through the studio window. All of that inspired “Gaia Sweet Divine.” It poured rain one night and we captured a recording of the calming sound of the rain and added it to the end of the opening track, “Knowingness,” that we had finished just prior. Nature has so much beauty, peace and calm if we listen and feel. Nature is our friend.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Possibly. A video preview of Soothe is coming soon from videographer Andrea Boston, and we’re looking into doing a video for the single.
The single comes off your new album Soothe – what’s the story behind the title?
Soothe is a collection of songs that convey a deep feeling of my heart. When I played pop music growing up, or played and R&B rock guitar style on the hit album Whitney (Whitney Houston) and other studio gigs, success in music was all about expressing a dance vibe. Soothe expresses my vibe – which is reflective, relaxing and calming. That feeling results from my early years training in meditation as spiritual monk. That training inspired me to create music that inspires reflective listening and the beauty of my inner experience. Soothe was also inspired by trips to Maui where I observed Nature operating in beautiful harmony and sought to reflect that natural flow of Nature’s harmony inside this music. It’s like a vacation in sound.
How was the recording and writing process?
My writing process is intuitive. I play almost every day. Before I start playing or practicing, I meditate or focus mindfully for a few minutes to find a calm place inside. Often, the music becomes a mantra and I find something that inspires me, and later, I jam on that piece. Some mornings I practice at 4 am because it’s really quiet and my ideas are flowing. I close my eyes, play the guitar and seek to lose myself and the time and place – and I go inside the music. My ideas emerge from a creative place inside; when I feel connected to my heart – the ideas flow. I release inside a peaceful feeling and everything is recorded on my laptop or a portable recorder. I’ll often immediately add a second guitar, and a midi keyboard and midi bass to a track. Every few weeks I review a collection of previously recorded tracks and find beautiful songs and ideas that inspire me. The music of Soothe emerged through that process; ideas played over months became fully formed songs.
How did politics influence this record?
Who is not feeling uneasy about the U.S. election? Almost everyone I know is freaked out. And it would seem we disagree on just about everything in our political discourse, and our leaders seem to be out of touch. My approach is to also focus on what I can do to make a better world. I embrace love in every thought and action. Everything works better when I lead with love. Music is also a universal language that connects us regardless of politics. If you’re upset by the election, the music on Soothe can be a calming friend. My music is dedicated to making the world a more peaceful, beautiful place.
You brought up some special guests – did you handpick them based on something in particular or how did they come on board?
Everyone was hand-picked. I created Soothe working with my co-producer, Todd Boston. Artist Paul McCandless delivers mind-blowing performances on english horn and soprano sax. George Brooks joins me for a progressive new age version of Gershwin’s Prelude 2.
The players on Soothe are stellar contemporary instrumental, new age and world music artists. I have played live or recorded with most of them on my prior two albums, Sacred Love and Dreaming of Now. George Brooks and I also played music in high school. Premik Russell Tubbs and I met during college days and we just played live recently.
Players are selected for their ability to express the soothing feeling I want listeners to touch in this song collection. Paul McCandless on saxophone and english horn (Oregon, Paul Winter, Bela Fleck), Michael Manring on bass (Windham Hill), Jeff Haynes on percussion (Pat Metheny), Frank Martin on keyboards (Sting, Lady Gaga) George Brooks on soprano sax (John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain), Ravichandra Kulur on bansuri flute (Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar) and Premik Russell Tubbs on wind synth and sax (Santana, Mahavishnu Orchestra).
Any plans to hit the road?
We just finished a few dates in California. I’m heading to Ubud, Bali (Indonesia) for personal reflection and writing and a West Coast/East Coast tour in 2017
What else is happening next in Shambhu’s world?
Every day I wake up aiming to express with wisdom of love through my own actions. That’s what is next in Shambhu’s world. I’m also working on a new “best of” collection of songs from my 3 CDs for a mid-2017 release.
For more info: ShambhuMusic.com