As I travel the globe, countries begin to feel geographically closer to one another. This has little to do with plate tectonics. What I’m beginning to see are more cases of people recognizing each other as if part of the same community. Like one big family. It’s as if humans were orphaned here on Earth and after years of asking questions finally have the means to share their findings and experiences.
While our iphone & ipad addictions may seem costly even insofar as it fragmenting the cultural paradigm, the transparency through these new tech formats is taking us to such great lengths that it’s bringing us around again.
Races and religions that perhaps never thought would mix now work together. People of completely different backgrounds and bone structure sit beside each other on airplanes. They holiday in the same tourist destinations. They surf the same waves, protest the same evils, drink the same water and if they choose, they share the same bed. A person’s accent or skin tone no longer offers a clue as to who may be standing in front of you. Stereotypes are fading as sure as our economies are collapsing. This I AM seeing.
And though we may still be far off from having the answers to solving the world’s crisis, tools such as the film embedded here bring us light years closer to understanding who, why, and what we are.
Life In A Day is a historic film capturing for future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. In my opinion it offers so much more than that. Consider yourself part of that future generation and be captivated by this extraordinary, endearing, non-bias, heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious view of our planet as it is right now.
Executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.
A short list (with links! – as well as the first to mention the new audio feature which will officially turn some of the blogs into podcasts! click on the ‘lil speaker icon at the lower right of select posts to listen.)
VitamineralGreen – Living on this immaculate green stuff daily, 4 years strong. If there’s one food product I believe in, a nutrient supply I can’t live without, It’s this.
E3 Live and Camu Camu. I swear in studio I was tripping half the time and if it wasn’t due to the long hours of intense creation in a controlled environment, it was likely due to the shots of E3 Live and the cap-fulls of Camu Camu. E3 Live is 100% Aphanizomenon flos-aquae blue-green algae (AFA for short) that is an all-organic wild-harvested aqua-botanical considered by renowned health authorities to be nature’s most beneficial superfoodalgae. Say that 5 x’s fast.
Kittens. Kittens on YouTube. Birthday Cards with Kittens on them. It doesn’t matter. Kittens win me over every time. They always have. In Indonesia there are monkey forests that are all too adorable for our own good. Still, I dream of someday finding a Kitty Cat Forest. I even wrote a horrible song about it.
CafeGratitudeLA. While making the record this summer, every meal came from my favorite Café on the planet. (And I’ve been to A LOT of cafe’s mind you.) Sometimes I go in there just to get hugs.
Toca Rivera. What a goofball. This reunion tour we’re on has been trying, transformative, explorative, healing, and revealing. I’m not sure what lay in store for us as a duo in the coming years, so I am simply grateful to be revisiting the good old days again in these new now moments. Each day is a gift.
This new community-oriented web-site. Thanks to The Uprising and to Philly B. for the genius design.
Sleeping. Dreaming. Waking up at 3 am to discover you still have 5 more hours of dreams in store.
Riding my bike. I haven’t had a bicycle on this tour, so I’ve been riding a stationary bike a few times a week to train for my biggest ride coming up on November 29th. On that glorious day I’m riding my bike from my house to our last official tour stop at Spreckles Theatre, which is a little over 60 miles. That isn’t a huge distance, but doing something like that on a show-day should provide some wicked energy (or lack thereof.) I once ran a half-marathon before playing a concert. It was one of the best days yet. Second to the day I played 3 concerts and then made sweet love until dawn. That was the best 24 hours ever.
My good friends Rocco & Marianne have a band based in Berlin. I first met them when I back-packed around Europe and asked fans to help me organize some shows. Rocco was one of many Berliners to lend an ear, provide shelter, great conversation, and lasting friendship. Their band, Berge, is heart-centered good-time music that is of the highest integrity and artistic expression. It’s all LOVE. You don’t have to understand the language to be hooked by the melody or to fall in love with Marianne’s voice, eyes, charm, style, scent, etc. Watch their video and sing for yourself.
If you REALLY like them, click on the link below to learn how to join Berge, helping them record and release a full album. (Use the CC tab to bring up subtitles.)
“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”
-The Amazing Maya Angelou
I recently had the pleasure of journeying up into Laochuan Mountain, an hour outside of Taipei which is far enough removed from the city but still close enough to overlook it. This easy distance from Taiwan’s bustling capital hosts thick forests of old and new growth, steep cliffs, hiking trials, narrowing and harrowing roads, gorgeous palms, giant spiders and tea gardens. The altitude and moist temperatures make it the ideal climate to grow tea leaves and is also an ideal place to be devoured by mosquitoes.
While in the hills I met two Zen Masters, Master Liu and Master Huang of the infamous U-Theatre who invited me to enjoy tea and meditation and converse about life and art. Their philosophy, “Art is Life and Life is Art” introduced me to a whole new view of life and art by suggesting they are one in the same. I often say onstage, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” This is the same philosophy.
The masters asked, “How do you drink your tea?” Do you guzzle it down quickly, or are you conscious to your movements; pouring the tea, adding sugar, bringing the cup to your lips, enjoying the flavor and temperature on your tongue… Or are you busy with thought? This is the basic idea of Zen. Zen is about sustaining a meditative state; truly living in the moment, being artful in every breath. Meditation doesn’t always mean sitting in repose, with your eyes closed for hours on end. Meditation can be while you walk, surf, cycle, sing, dance, cook, draw, drive, whatever, so long as you aren’t consumed with thoughts about the past or lost in a made-up future. Master Huang asked, “Can you hear the birds singing?” If so, then you’re meditating. The birdsongs are almost always playing but we lose the sound of them to our own misguided thoughts. By slowing down to the natural speed of our breath, we can again be present to the beautiful songs of the birds, the sound of the wind, in tune with nature, at peace, where true love resides, where hearts and minds are aligned, where bodies heal, and life is consciously enjoyed. At this pace one begins to see life in all it’s glory. At this pace it is much easier to accept it. From this place comes compassion and understanding, which then only leads to greatness as you feel a deeper connection with the earth, its inhabitants, and whatever your connection to source may be. This is why meditation is important. It’s no different than prayer. It’s about taking a few minutes to get centered, listen, ask, learn, love, and let go.
When in Morocco I was most impressed with my Muslim friends who stopped and prayed 5 times a day. It made so much sense to do so as after each session they would return so blissed-out and happy.
I wished I’d have taken an extra breath before walking onto the Coliseum stage in Manila last week. The 11,000 strong audience was the largest ever to attend one of our headlining “intimate” acoustic performances. I can’t think of a room as grand or recall a crowd as excited.
According to astrology and the calculations shared with me about my human design, I have a gate open that can’t help but feel and feed the needs of others. Such as, if there’s a person in the room who isn’t enjoying the party, I will bring myself down to their level to empathize with them, or make it my mission to see they enjoy the party. I’ve been know to flee physically or mentally because the pressure of their unhappiness becomes mine and is too much to bear.
I took the stage in Manila with that gate open, experiencing the very level of excitement and anticipation the crowd was conjuring. 11 thousand pairs of eyes and ears all directed at us, which tricked me into thinking the experience of 11 thousand was on my shoulders. Consumed with thought while playing songs I hadn’t attempted in years, I slipped in and out of consciousness wondering if the essence of the songs were being received all the way at the top of the arena. I would bounce back and forth between the support of the lyrics reminding me that I won’t worry my life away, and the future conversations I would have with my agent and management to please not book me in rooms built for sport. My music at heart is made up of mellow, lyric driven compositions. That is especially obvious on this acoustic tour and I simply haven’t the tools to keep a Coliseum quiet.
However, keeping a Coliseum at bay is a made-up demand. By the sound of the crowd at the end of the show, no one noticed what was going on in my head. The audience would have accepted anything I gave them as they did with my inaudible and apparently invisible shortcomings that night. Don’t let your mind stop you from having a good time right?
The experience in Taipei a few nights later was the complete opposite, not just because of the beautiful theatre or well tuned sound system or the smaller crowd of 3500, but largely due to our taking one extra breath to be in the moment just before we walked onstage. That changed everything. Of course, the lessons from the Manila show were weighing heavy on my mind and I knew what I did and didn’t want to do onstage regardless of how the audience would react. The final backstage hour before the show was just as hectic if not more than in Manila, but by taking that extra breath, I realigned myself and seemed to have closed the aforementioned gate, protecting my heart and stomach, giving me absolute freedom to express what I wished to express that night, making it a far more magical experience in the end. One of my gurus recently asked me put more silence in the show. I remembered that only after playing in Manila where I thought I needed to keep something happening at all times. Taipei was the first place I got to practice that intentional silence and wouldn’t you know it, the audience slipped neatly into my pocket, or in a coma. Either way. It was golden.
All tours usually begin with a warm-up show and in this case our warm-up show was viewed by 11,000 people. No big deal. I don’t mean to undermine their experience by suggesting in this blog that I didn’t give my best performance. About 20 minutes into the show I woke up and told the crowd what was going on. That moment became the breath I needed. And by the end of the show I had grown so comfortable in my skin that I mentioned it in the improvisation leading into I’m Yours. The response in the Philippines has been overwhelming and I look forward to getting back there again soon.
Also, be sure to check out MTV Exit: a rad campaign to End Exploitation and Human Trafficking. MTV abroad is wise to have hosted more than 30 concerts on this topic and I got to participate in one while in Manila as well as visit and perform at a rehabilitation shelter for girls rescued from trafficking. The migratory region of southeast Asia is especially susceptible to this epidemic where humans, mostly young girls, are kidnapped, bought and sold to be servants or sex slaves. CNN has recently joined the fight too, placing their watchful eye on the modern day slavery issue. Visit any of these sights to learn more:
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
- Leonardo Da Vinci
There comes a time when every artist has to walk away from the work, allowing the world to see it, hear it, or smell it. Some artists know exactly when to walk away. If food is your art that is, then yes there IS a best time to abandon the heat and let people eat. Otherwise, it takes trust, intuition and a bit of mastery and/or naïveté. Although, nothing inspires like a deadline.
Since December of 2009 I’ve been writing and recording demos at home, in London, New York, in various studios around Los Angeles and the occasional hotel room, Integratron or tree limb. More than 80 songs were tried and tested in that time and eventually 20 were selected for the final session (12 of which will end up on an LP and the remaining might see the light in future EP’s, bonus add-ons, and/or possibly carry over to another record.) The final album (untitled) was recently recorded in LA with Producer Joe Chiccarelli and a line-up of all-star musicians. The sound is new, but not a departure from the previous albums. It’s rich in texture with great vocal performances over solid instrumentation and clever arrangements and as usual showcases a variety of moods, from soulful-baby-making-jams to colorful-new-jazz to love-fueled-acoustic-guitar-strokery to rhythmic-sunshine-pop. So far, the songs’ themes tie together on this album unlike other albums. The contrast between light and dark is a constant study, as is love lost and found within.
Stay tuned to this website and blog for updates about album title, track listings, release date, etc.