Today’s Feature, November 3rd & 4th: Aradhana Silvermoon

November 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm (Today's Feature)

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Aradhana Silvermoon truly is a gift to the music industry – an artist that forms melodies and assembles songs for enlightened reasons, treating her music “like medicine, providing strength and healing during many of life’s challenges.” The Baltimore-born songbird operates with the sensible words of Plato floating through her mind: “Music… gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

Silvermoon doesn’t just rely on her encouraging motives for her success – she has the talent and experience to back it up. Gifted on the guitar, piano and in African drumming, Aradhana first played in the acoustic group Roots A’Risin’ in Washington DC. They went as far to open for the Jerry Garcia Band on New Years Eve in 2003, but Silvermoon would have to soon part ways with the group to honor her true path as “a vessel for healing music. ” She needed to break away on her own course – one that took her to Los Angeles. After gathering more and more experience and insight there, she released her first solo album in 2006 titled, “Infinite Oneness.”

Music such as this “has the power to transform, heal, uplift, and open hearts… sharing messages of peace and forgiveness.” You can hear such pieces at a variety of healing centers, yoga studios, and coffee shops throughout the country – it’s just music that makes you feel good; earthy tones that emit warmth and compassion. It’s so difficult to duplicate, but Aradhana is able to produce such art “from a place deep within.” Keep an eye out for more from this emerging artist, check out “Infinite Oneness,” and read the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Aradhana Silvermoon

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get involved with music?

Aradhana Silvermoon (AS): I suppose I first got involved with music upon realizing the joy of singing when I was a little girl, about two and half years old…I’ve been singing ever since I can remember…always making up silly songs as a kid, and performing for my family and friends. I think I was in fourth grade when I wrote my first complete song with a girlfriend–I still remember all the words too, at nine years old we wrote about some guy breaking a girl’s heart–oh how my music has evolved, thank goodness… Music was my favorite class in school, and I always sang in the chorus and had lots of solos and performed in school musicals. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I realized I needed to play an instrument to be able to accompany myself on all of the poetry I had been writing and making up little melodies for…So I took guitar and piano that senior year, fell in love with the guitar, and immediately started writing songs….In college, I took a few more music classes, and began performing at open mics and coffee shops, and eventually met my future friend and band mate, Pamela Parker. Together we created the band Roots A’Risin’ and my career as musician/singer/songwriter began to fully emerge.

PEV: You refer to your music as healing therapy. Tell us how your music has helped others.

AS: Well, along with my lifelong love of music, I have always had a passion for health and nutrition and well being, with the desire to promote LOVE and inspire people to take responsibility for their own healing. So, throughout my journey, my music has evolved as the space in which I process my experiences, I heal myself, and remind myself what is true, and write about what I want to create in my life. And I want to share it with everyone!! I write about personal relationships and lessons I’ve learned on my path– how to maintain peace of mind and be filled with love and trust, forgiveness and empowerment, in such a crazy world. Through this process of being blessed to create music with the intention for healing–myself and others–my music has profoundly influenced, inspired, and supported people through difficult times. Most people that hear my music can relate, and are so grateful to hear what I have to express–it’s like I am able to sing the words that express the emotions people are feeling and help them to open their hearts and go deeper in their own healing process.

Again and again, I get emails, or hear from people at my shows, or read their comments online about how deeply moved they are by my music, or how it’s helped them make it through challenging break-ups or the death of a loved one, or simply has allowed them to cry and fully feel their emotions.

How do you explain? I actually wrote a song about the healing power of music, it’s called “Take You There.” And there’s a line in the song that says, “How many times have you closed your eyes and let the music take you there? You were burnt to the core couldn’t go on anymore, yet somehow, the music knows where to go…Let the Music take you there, free your mind of your fear and your doubt and your worrisome care. Meditate, let your spirit elevate and let the music take you there…” They seem like simple words, but some kind of magic happens when these words are sung to the melody over top of the sweet guitar and the music has the power to open us, like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

PEV: Where do you find your inspiration to write music?

AS: My inspiration is all around me everyday, if I am aware…I am inspired by the ocean, willow trees, climbing mountains, bathing in the river, babies laughing, families celebrating, being in love, death, my friends singing, the moon, Ani DiFranco, Joni Mitchell, the stars, digging in the earth, compassion, planting seeds, gratitude, weeding the garden, Rumi, fire, big old oak trees, my dog, LOVE!!, looking into the eyes of my beloved, chanting, meditation, crop circles, yoga, Stargate, wormholes, qi gong, the desert, thunderstorms, Michael Moore, rain, old pictures, reading my old journals, rocks, Stevie Nicks, crystals, flowers, conscious hip-hop, the smell of jasmine, African drumming, listening to the birds outside my window, and my roommate playing the piano in the other room, organic farmers, raw food, and experiencing the brilliant works of art that are being created all the time, that we have such access to because of the internet!

Yes, I am deeply moved and inspired by most of life, nature, the innate beauty in all living things; I could probably go on for hours.

PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere you surround yourself in when writing?

AS: I create most of my music when I am either in a highly emotional state, (then it doesn’t really matter where I am or what’s going on around me, I just got to express myself!) or totally present in the most beautiful natural outdoor environment, by a river, or in the desert, or camping in the woods, or on an island, traveling and seeing new parts of the world…I have my journal with me at all times, so if the inspiration hits, I am ready.

PEV: What is in your CD player now?

AS: My CD player is not most frequently used, but here it is: Taoist Breathing CD, Cat Stevens, Dido, One Giant Leap, Rufus Wainwright.

Last played and currently playing on my i-pod: Iron and Wine, my friend Nina Baumgartner, Shim Shai, Ani DiFranco, Jennifer Paskow, Sambada, Orishas-“El Kilo”, Ray LaMontaigne, Pearl Jam, Damian Marley, Lauryn Hill.

PEV: Having grown up on the east coast and currently living on the west coast, what is the major difference in the music scenes?

AS: Kind of an interesting question, because I think it depends which music scene you’re in and what city you live in…there are definitely certain towns, like Asheville, NC that remind me of a Northern California, Humboldt County scene.

Living on the East coast, my experience in the music scene was mostly jam bands and festivals, Baltimore City, Washington DC, and Virginia night clubs…probably a little less free and eccentric and unique as my experience on the West coast.

On one hand, the southern California music scene can be very Hollywood influenced and image centered, but I have also met and seen some of the most talented and original performers ever in LA….the Northern California, Oregon music scene is overall more conscious and rootsy, I think my music is more reflective of that vibe… although, we have quite the collective of incredible artists making positive, deeply influential conscious music down here in southern Cali! I will say that I have noticed a dramatic evolution in my music to include more styles and genres of music, I feel more widely exposed to so many different kinds of music all the time, and have felt more free to experiment with new ideas, which I think lends itself to the west coast openness.

PEV: The LA music scene is one of the most famous in the world for unique and upcoming artists. Is it hard to catch the attention or create a following in LA?

AS: It has been challenging to create a following in LA because of the myriad of options for which show, or play, or open mic, or potluck, or comedy club to go to on any given night of the week. There’s a lot going on out here, that’s for sure….but I have found that the more energy I put in to my music and the more shows I play and CD’s I sell, and the more I keep in touch with fans and friends through emails, the word spreads, and more and more people are coming out to see me, and I’m making important contacts…I have also been collaborating with other like-minded/spirited artists and putting on co-creative events, which seems to be the key these days….that way, people can come out to one event and see a whole bunch of amazing artists in the same place and not have to choose which event attend.

PEV: What was it like when you stepped into a recording studio for the first time?

AS: Well, I was 18, freshman in college, and had played at an open mic, and this guy saw me, and believed in me and wanted to help get me in the studio to do my first recording. I remember being so excited and nervous and worked up about it, that I actually got a sore throat a few days before we were supposed to be in the studio, and nearly lost my voice the day I was supposed to sing–what a nightmare! So I made some really strong lemon ginger tea with tons of honey and sucked on lozenges and was able to pull off a 6 song demo…It sounded ok, you could hear the “sick” in my voice and I never sold it or did anything with it, except play it for friends and family. So besides the voice thing, it was a great first experience, with super kind people and this overwhelming feeling of my dreams becoming real!

PEV: You left a group [Roots A’Risin’] to pursue a solo career. How has that impacted your work?

AS: I left Roots A’Risin’ in order to fulfill a calling that I felt from deep within. It was not an easy thing to do, since we were about to complete our first album, and had some shows opening up for bigger name acts, and things were looking really good for the band. I think that choice has impacted my work the most in that I have learned to trust myself. And because of that, it allowed me to move to California and take myself on the wild ride I’ve been on since I’ve gotten out here, which has been the source of learning and growth and experiences which have fueled my music. I have also had the opportunity to play with and learn from many other talented musicians and producers and live in an environment where I feel more “at home.”

PEV: How has your first solo album, “Infinite Oneness” been received?

AS: The Infinite Oneness album has been received gracioulsy, with much appreciation, gratitude and inspiration. The album is dedicated to a beloved man, Patrick Donohoe, that I shared my life with for two and a half years. He passed away in mid-October ’05 and the album commenced recording 10 days after his passing…the album was then released in early June ’06. So this album is pretty potent with emotion and the clarity that comes after death. So, recording this album was extremely cathartic and allowed me the chance to share what I learned and powerfully express this through music, and pass it on.

PEV: You have traveled all over the world. Which city do you think offers the best environment for music?

AS: Hmmmm, tough one…LA is overflowing with talent and events and shows and producers and potential…other cities have less going on, but it’s easier to develop a following and bring people out to shows, and other cities are more inspiring to me because of the nature and magical energy about them.

PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your music?

AS: My mom is my biggest fan, if I still lived in Baltimore, she’d probably be at every show! The rest of my family and friends are also total supporters and love my music. I have the greatest friends ever, they come out to my shows, they even sometimes buy 10 CD’s at a time and give them away as presents…They all definitely believe in me, and share the common vision of my music taking off and me becoming hugely successful as an artist.

PEV: If I were to walk into your house right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?

AS: Hammocks in the living room.

PEV: When you are not creating music, what do you like to do?

AS: Well, I am a very devoted to caring for my body temple, so I have a daily yoga, and qi-gong practice, and I live up in the beautiful Topanga Canyon, where I am blessed to have many hiking trails just a few minutes from my house. I am a raw foodist, and a gourmet raw foods chef, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food, which I LOVE! And I spend a lot of time with my equally talented and amazing partner TruthI and our dog Desi–hiking, gardening, making food, making art (especially jewelry these days), reading, writing, and being inspired by other artists, going to shows… and we host an open mic in santa monica, which is rapidly becoming one of the hottest community-oriented, artsistic, conscious, expression gathering spots in town. We also love to travel whenever we get the chance.

PEV: People can download your music from your website. What is your opinion on the heated debate over downloading music?

AS: I don’t really put much energy into that debate. I think an artist should be compensated for his/her work and of course time and talent, and I also believe in the laws of the universe and physics, the laws of attraction…therefore, if somebody is able to download my music for free on the internet, and has a positive experience, or receives great healing or is inspired, or whatever, that energy is going to come back to me one way or another…. So my opinion is—trust that what you give is what you get!!!!

PEV: You have played at outside festivals, coffee houses and even yoga studios. What is the best part about playing live?

AS: The best part about playing live is creating a brand new experience every time. It is so amazing to feed off the energy in the crowd, to work with the different energies at different venues, and to challenge myself to open my heart and create a beautiful space for myself, for the audience, for the planet, no matter what the circumstances. There is so much magic created in a live show, I love flowing with my band and being in the moment, and making each experience unique and playful and FUN!

PEV: What can someone expect from a live Aradhana Silvermoon show?

AS: Like I was saying…my shows are fun and spontaneous and full of surprise guests, and deeply personal, and inspirational, will make you think, will make you feel, might even cause a little bit of stirring in your heart or in your gut, you may even cry…you’ll laugh, cuz sometimes I get really silly on stage, you’ll dance, and I always encourage sing alongs, (especially on “Love is Stronger Than Fear”). My live shows can be a pretty different feel than my album, depending on who I’m playing with–if I’m solo, or with a band, and lately have been incorporating conscious hip-hop and some super dope mc’s.

PEV: You write songs that inspire others, but what artists have inspired you?

AS: So many…Ani DiFranco, Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Indigo Girls, Sarah McLaughlin, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Bonnie Rait, Jerry Garcia, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, Bob Marley, Ben Harper, Paul Simon, India Arie, Pearl Jam, U2, Peter Gabriel, Iron and Wine, Kim Manning, Pamela Parker, Shim Shai, Sudheesh, Jack Johnson, Dar Williams, Lauryn Hill…the list goes on and on.

PEV: I know that every song has its own meaning and story behind it but is there one song in particular that you feel you put extra work into? Or better yet, found yourself putting extra work into?

AS: I think the title song on my album “Infinite Oneness” is by far the deepest most profound and meaningful song I’ve ever written. I started writing the song while Patrick was sick and every time I would read the words it was like I knew he was going to die and I kept trying desperately to change the words to write him back into life…but I couldn’t…I actually got to sing the almost complete version of it to him before he died, and wrote the last verse with a friend after he passed. It was the most real and devastating and challenging experience of my life, and to have a song that recounts my journey with him from the moment we met to the moment he died to how I learned to cope with the pain and affirm that love never dies, is the most special to me. I don’t know if I’d call it extra work that I put into this song, but it is definitely the most captivatingly real song I’ve ever written, and has had a great impact on the people that have heard it, especially for those that knew him.

PEV: So, what is next for Aradhana Silvermoon?

AS: I am currently involved in some really exciting collaborative projects, looking forward to taking music to the next level, doing it Full time!!!– “I, Star” is a blend of folk-hip-hop-reggae-rock-funk, with my love, and the most amazing poet/MC that I know, TruthI. And I have also joined the super inspiring and positive conscious hip-hop group called the Luminaries, also with TruthI, where I sing and rhyme and play guitar. I am writing a lot and working on producing my first book of poetry. I am also in studio working on the I,Star album, Luminaries album, and the next solo Aradhana Silvermoon album…so stay tuned for much amazing music to come!

For more information on Aradhana Silvermoon, check out www.SilverMoonMedicine.com

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1 Comment

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