Music is the language of the Universe. It can be created with nature, and with man-made instruments. It can speak to the soul. It can tell a story. And all music is a part of history that gets preserved once it's recorded. Music is vibrations of frequencies which stimulate the senses in all living things. "Listening" is both a proactive and a subconscious act of being in tune with sonic vibrations emanating around and within us.
My task as a composer is to make a musical story that I would want to hear and feel, and have that energy pass along to the listener. I've been playing guitar all of my life. The moment I had first heard Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene" album in a local planetarium during a high school field trip, I decided that I wanted to make music like that.
My advice to artists is "Never give up. Never stop creating." If you want something bad enough, and you're really passionate about it, then it's possible to manifest whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. It is the Law of Attraction. My other advice is "Listen to constructive criticism." Criticism can be good and bad. If it's constructive then there is something that an artist may be able to learn to better their craft.
There have been many occasions when I've suddenly awakened in the middle of the night with a melody stuck in my head. I've had to get out of bed and go into the music studio to record the idea so that I wouldn't forget it later. When creative inspiration hits me, I must act on it immediately. It feels like it's a part of my DNA.
Howard Givens and I continue to grow as a musical duo every time we create music, both solo and as a duo. This new album evolved from our personal journey of music, which is based on our appreciation of the way we have been experiencing the perception of consciousness. This is "The Bodhi Mantra": Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. We represented this idea in the music by making it sound warm and peaceful; hypnotic and uplifting.
When I created "Vostok" in 2001, I had no intention on releasing it because I was making upbeat music at the time. However, I had sent a copy of it to a music reviewer who really enjoyed it, and he suggested that I send it to Spotted Peccary Music. I was not familiar with the label at the time, but I thought I'd reach out to them. Once they heard "Vostok", they were interested in releasing it, as well as future albums. I was also attracted by the positive and creative energy from Howard Givens and Deborah Martin, and by the high quality of music that was (and still is) being released on their label. I feel honored to be included on their roster.