Guest Post by Madam CJ
“In 2007 I took a one way trip (on Valentine’s Day to be exact) to London, to audition for The London Center of Contemporary Music. Although I was fortunate to have made it into the school, MY American dollars were not prepared for the high cost of living in London. So a month later, tail between my legs, feeling deflated and defeated, I returned home. And I do mean quite literally to my Mother’s house. One day she sweetly and ever so gently brought it to my attention that Dekalb County Jail was hiring Mental Health Nurses. So reluctantly I gave them the obligatory phone call and was immediately given a job I knew I didn’t want, but felt like I had to take.
My time working there certainly felt like a sentence that I was serving, but came with its blessings as well. For one it afforded me with enough money to buy a house and some studio equipment. So when I was released from my shifts there, I would return home, sequester myself in my basement and record music for this album. It was a very solemn, quiet and reflective time. Along with the weight of working in such a mean spirited environment, I was also dealing with my Grandmother’s passing and the subsequent chaos that ensued in my family soon after. I did a lot of pondering and soul searching while making “Rhythm in Search of a Band”. I think it’s definitely some if my most reflective work thus far. It’s heavy and moody and otherworldly, which is reflective of the space that I was in at the time when I wrote it. After having produced it I got stuck. I never really pushed it. I didn’t trust that people would really get it. So for about six years I kind of just sat on it. Sure I did enough promoting for it to ‘exist’ in cyberspace, as well as gave away copies when I felt so inspired, but otherwise I remained virtually silent until very recently. I was inspired by a friend to re-release the album and give it a full year of focused promoting. So this is the direction that I’m moving in right now.”
‘Rhythm in Search of a Band’ is certainly a great musical option that I think the world can use right now. It’s for people from all ages and all walks of life. If you had to classify your music, what would you call it?
For years I have called it “mosaic”, because it’s made of all these bits and pieces I put together. I really began calling it that though because I never knew how to answer that question, in terms of how to classify it. I write in various styles, so it’s difficult for me to limit myself to one genre. I don’t think that “category” (mosaic) all the way resonates with me now though, but I still don’t know what to call my sound.
Are you constantly writing and coming up with ideas or do you have ideas and writing sessions in spurts?
I would say I tend to write in spurts. I don’t like to force myself to write, so if I start to feel like that’s what I’m doing, I’ll make myself leave it alone for a minute. However I can sit down at times with the intention to write, and easily crank out a song. But typically I’ve learned to go with my own flow so to speak.
How long did you work at the Dekalb County Jail?
I worked there for 3 very long, lesson inducing years.
As an artist, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself licensing music for music and film. I see myself touring and performing in museums, art galleries and theaters. By then my stage show will be much more theatrical. I see myself acting on stage, in independent films and various web series. There is so much that I want to do that I could keep talking, but that’s the gist of it.
You grew up raised by Metaphysical parents when it was not the ‘cool’ thing. Please expound on this experience.
It was a very different reality for me growing up. When I was a little little girl my dad had a small metaphysical church in our basement. On top of that, they were always exposing me to something new spiritually. Cultivating spirituality was a priority in my household growing up. I was raised as an only child, so the focus was intense. The same way a child may get asked “have you brushed your teeth today?” Or “did you make up your bed today?” I can remember my father asking me things like “Did you meditate today?” So it was very different for sure and like some if not most kids, I grew up thinking that my parents were weird. I realize now that I made a good choice.
What is the goal for this music?
My goal is to take this music around the world, and to help elevate and expand the consciousness of humanity through it.
You can find Shanti Om on Facebook.