The following questions were taken from an interview I did with Dara Monifah Cooper and questions from my children…
Why did you name the album Spiritual Awakening?
The name of the album was inspired by a series of events over the last few years. I was struck by the lack of humanity when so many unarmed black people were killed. Then an elder expressed that we need to collectively connect with the spiritual powers of our ancestors. The spiritual power that led to slave revolts. The spiritual power that led to new music. Focusing on spiritual power, I began composing songs that outlined the journey from awareness (Awakening) to freedom (Rejoice).
Have you ever had a spiritual awakening?
Yes. My first spiritual awakening was at the age of 20. I was reading a book by Deepak Chopra. One of the exercises in the book required me meditating while watching the sunset. I’m from a very beautiful place. Sometimes we take beauty for granted. For the first time in my life, I sat and watched the sunset. I saw the clouds in the sky change and so did my soul. I became fully aware and appreciative of my beautiful home.
What is the connection between your music and your heritage?
I grew up in the US Virgin Islands. Music was always present. Mr. Glen “Kwadena” Davis was a prominent storyteller in my community. I remember his stories were filled with powerful lessons and rich cultural songs. Many of my teachers stressed the importance of culture. Naturally when I compose, my music reflects my experience.
Can you share the meaning behind some of the tunes on the album?
Before composing Awakening, I focused on the feeling of awareness. I meditated on what it feels like to become aware of a situation. The discomfort. The immense desire to take action. The transformation from one level of consciousness to another. The melody is asking the listener to wake up and do something about injustice.
Growing up in the Virgin Islands, most of the conscious music I heard came from reggae. While composing Spiritual, I wanted to capture the roots of our collective spirituality. The bass line represents our spirituality guiding us through our transfiguration.
What do you hope people will receive from this album?
First and foremost, I hope the music heals. Some listeners might download one song or the entire album. While listening, they might create unique memories for each song. Others might pay attention to the song titles while listening and make a connection. A few might read the linernotes and obtain a deeper understanding behind my intent.
I put a lot of time into the concept. There is meaning in the artwork, the number of tracks (9), the song titles, the song order and the release date (May 4th). Every aspect represents a spiritual awakening.
Daddy, you have four albums. Are going to record a new album next year? You should name the next album ‘Family’ and put us on the cover.
Really?! (Smiling) Don’t you see these boxes? (Shaking my head) It’s been hard releasing albums consistently. I thank God, family and friends for the support. I will have to wait on the ‘Family’ album. Maybe if you practice your trumpet you can play on one of the songs?
After my first release (Freedom’s Children: The Celebration 2011), I felt compelled to compose music for Love (2013), Elements of Life (2014) and now Spiritual Awakening (2015).
I don’t suspect that I will be releasing another album soon. Spiritual Awakening is powerful. I want to reach people with this message…
Download on iTunes
Get it on Amazon