I spent all summer socially distant, researching, writing, growing flowers and filming nature in my backyard. For GROUNDED, I researched the healing effects of sound and mindfulness and listened to dozens of audiobooks through the Library. To create some of the songs (Here Now, Awaken the Peace Within, Binaural Bees) I’d meditate in the garden, film flowers, capture nature sounds, and then go into my studio to record. Every song was sung in a positive mindset with loving and healing intentions. Every flower filmed was captured in the hope of making you smile. At the very least, I hope sharing these pretty sights and sounds will help you zone out for 20 minutes and share ways to show love to yourself and the people you care about.
The album is made up of mindfulness exercises, mantras, and meditations. For it, I wrote minute long mantras of positive affirmations to balance out the experience of negative thoughts—and I feel like it has worked. Some mornings I wake up with a song called “Good Vibes” or “Four-Square Breathing Box” as my first morning thought rather than a.m. dread.
LaToya Kent is a musician and meditation teacher. She radiates love and is so cool and calm. I asked her to record meditations, gave her creative freedom, trusted her expertise and then wrote music around her words (Breathe, You Are Love).
Free time to focus on art is what I craved most, pre-pandemic. I decided to make something good come of a tragic situation. When life is full of worry, it’s important to balance perspective. Even when chaos is overwhelming, there are beautiful occurrences still happening. I recognizemy privilege. I can stay home. I have a home. I have a garden. How can I share these privileges while social distancing?
My music has a hypnotic meditative quality. Over the years people have requested I make more meditations. The first one I composed, 5 Minute Meditation (Amateur Hour, 2014) poked fun at my fleeting attention span. I didn’t realize it was relatable. For years, I have meditated and assumed that I was bad at it. I thought my overactive thinking was a unique curse. However, I misunderstood the mechanics of the brain. Now I know that we are all constantly thinking—organic machines are made for it. It is the judgement we tie to these thoughts that cause our suffering. Fighting and suppressing these throughs is pointless and only increases distress.
I am not a doctor, but I am a self-proclaimed expert at experiencing worry and anxiety. I share my vulnerability and path to peace through my art in hopes it helps you too. Making this album has helped me articulate and find a path to self-acceptance. It has allowed me to acknowledge my overthinking brain and offer it kindness and love. Since making this album, I have experienced moments of mental silence for the first time.
In the past, I wrongly assumed I was too antsy to meditate. I sought out learning different forms and it tried running, sitting, and standing. Chanting is what made me realize that I have been meditating my whole life. And I’m good at it. Singing is my meditation. It is deep breathing. Vocalization sends healing vibrations into the various parts of my body. Singing and songwriting is where I find flow and can be in the present moment. I think back at times when I was unable to sing, and remember feeling miserable, in pain, and experiencing mental distress. Songs are my soul singing. My breath is my spirit. Music is my medicine.
I hope this film helps you explore meditation in whatever form works for you. Please sing or hum along if you so desire. If it brings you joy, please do it. We can all use more moments of happiness right now.
This film is only a fraction of the record. The digital album will release early January through Bandcamp. There will be more meditation videos released then too.
GROUNDED is supported by the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.