In today’s modern world, people are feeling more disconnected and stressed than ever. Our recent discovery Shambhu transforms the stillness and silence of meditation into calming sounds. An acclaimed guitarist and composer, Shambhu delivers a deeply soulful and self-reflective experience with his third studio album, Soothe, released on 1 February 2017.
We caught up with the innovative artist for our weekly interview series:
Where did you get the name Shambhu?
‘Shambhu’ is a Sanskrit name given to me by Sri Chinmoy, an Indian guru who was my meditation teacher. A spiritual name given by a guru is meant to represent the true essence of one’s soul’s qualities. In my case Shambhu is creative, independent and limitless inside, absorbed in deep meditation and detached from worldliness. It’s a name of Lord Shiva. Several great musicians, also students of Sri Chinmoy at the time, received spiritual names prior to me – guitarists ‘Devadip’ Carlos Santana and ‘Mahavishnu’ John McLaughlin, producer/drummer ‘Narada’ Michael Walden (who introduced me) and sax virtuoso ‘Premik’ Russell Tubbs. We were musicians inspired by a thirst for self-knowledge.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is heartfelt, timeless and reflective. I go deep inside my own silence while recording so the music embodies a calm, clear, and meditative feeling. The music is injected with my own 10,000 hours of meditation practice fused with imagery of beautiful places in Nature that feel vast. So if you’re wanting to soothe your mind and soul, this music has lots of positive mojo. If you want to be a drop that dissolves in the ocean of good feeling, you’ll enjoy my new release, Soothe . If you just love hearing great music, this album is abundant with gorgeous compositions, brilliant sound production, and exquisite performances by Grammy winning artists.
What do you hope your music provides the listener?
I hope my new album Soothe is a friend and a safe, nurturing place to listen and close your eyes. You might find yourself listening as a background to activities at home, work, school, or while driving, running or at the gym. You may be listening to the music in the foreground – on great headphones (such as these) or a stereo system. The album works all ways.
As far as my guitar playing, it is delicate with intricate expressions of nuance and subtlety. Listeners say the experience is “magical”, “a journey” and “opens a space within”. The Marin Independent Journal called Soothe ‘an aural antidote to the election.’
Who are your influences?
I grew up playing the pop music I heard on the radio in bands. My parents and music teachers made sure I also experienced jazz, big band, and classical. I found folk, world, and new age on my own. I enjoy the Beatles, Will Ackerman and Windham Hill artists, Debussy, Johnny Smith,
Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Stephen Sondheim, Erik Satie, Aaron Copland, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Winter, Stevie Wonder, John McLaughlin, and the list goes on. You’ll also hear Brazilian and Indian strains in my music. While I have tons of influences, my style is very much my own. At the core is a heartfelt feeling.
What is your songwriting process?
I take an intuitive approach to writing and my work is primarily instrumental based around the guitar. I live in the moment. I’m a guy with an abundance of ideas flowing inside my head. So when I’m playing and recording, I’m basically in capture mode. I record my practice sessions, which are improvisations on a moment. Over time songs emerge and take shape — these are the jams I play over and over when I pick up a guitar. They are patterns, progressions and melodies I hear inside that are uniquely mine. Every few weeks I review the recordings of these ideas and find songs and song stems.
Sometimes a complete song emerges in a moment. ‘Days Like Falling Stars’ was written live in real time – I played those chord changes and felt the song was complete. Several songs on my first and second releases, Sacred Love and Dreaming of Now were recorded live in the studio. Pure inspiration. For the ‘Soothe’ sessions I started with about 25 song ideas distilled from around 200 worthy stems of songs played over three years.
What is next for Shambhu?
I’m growing a community of online listeners (join my mailing list at ShambhuMusic.com), evolving my Soothe live show, and recording more albums of my songs and popular covers. I’m also gifting the title track from Soothe available free at soothecd.com . Pay $0 at checkout.
What advice would you give to other artists in your genre?
Meditate daily even 5 minutes a day to find one’s soul essence. It will help every aspect of life. Focus on your goals and visualize the success you wish to have and the person you want to be. Play music soulfully and from the heart. Practice regularly and often to discover your sound and reach your full potential. And keep going; when you hit obstacles, keep practicing until you break through. Believe in the inevitability of your success and …never give up!