Music has been with me my whole life. It has inspired me, it has comforted me, it gave me an outlet for emotional expression – in short, music has saved me. Music was around me growing up – my maternal grandfather played the organ and my father played the guitar. But I had no musical inclination until my first musical performance at age 7 when out of nowhere, one day at my grandparents’ house I sang “You Light Up My Life”. My family was shocked at my flawless rendition, but my musical ability would lay dormant for a few more years.
At age 13, in the height of the hair bands of the 1980s, I started to play the electric guitar. I shredded it up in several different bands in high school. I was able to channel my teenage angst and frustration through the heavy metal music I played. As a contrast, I was also very enchanted by Queen and Freddie Mercury with their complex compositions with layered harmonies and instrumentation and ethnic influences.
After high school, I went to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, presumably to study computer science and mathematics, but I ended up spending much of my time at the music building instead, taking various courses such as world music and music composition. During this time, I learned to play the piano, and started writing my own songs, and listening and playing new age music. I also used music for therapeutic purposes to soothe myself, at this time I was depressed, unhappy and unfulfilled studying computer science… but this is a whole other story, please see my companion web site Life Alignment Coach for more details (include link here).
After I graduated university I moved to San Diego and I worked as software engineer. I still played music and was in a few different bands. However, unfulfilled with my software career, I turned to yoga and spirituality to find meaning and purpose. I discovered kirtan (devotional chanting) in 1998. I quickly purchased a harmonium and started to sing chants from Krishna Das and Yogananda. My highlight was when in 2001 I went to a retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs with Krishna Das and Ram Dass.
In 2003, I stumbled upon a CD by Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, an Indian Classical Musician and the pioneer of the santoor. I was immediately captivated by the tone of the instrument and the melodic quality of the music. It touched my heart deeply and I knew I would learn to play this instrument. After unsuccessfully trying to learn the santoor in the bay area for a summer, I decided to go to India to learn at the source. I spent time in Rishikesh learning some of the theory of Indian Classical Music on my mandolin, and some sitar, from Pradeep Gupta. Soon after, I went to Bombay where I met Pandit Satish Vyas, the renowned santoor player, most senior disciple of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, and son of famous vocalist C.R. Vyas.
I was immediately touched by Satish’s generosity, humbleness, and love of music. I started to learn in the traditional Guru-shishya (teacher-student) system. For about then years, I would spend 2-3 months in India per year, and practice back home in the United States in between visits. Over the years I have become close with Satish and his family, and am happy when I can host him on his tours the United States, and I am honored to be with him on the stage and play the tanpura.
Around 2006 I started performing concerts in Encinitas. One notable concert was in the chapel at the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) Lake Shrine in Los Angeles.
In 2010 I took a music production program on Berklee Music online, and in 2011 I took Sound Healing intensive with Jonathan Goldman. In 2016 I took a Sound Healing Music Production course and in 2017 I have studied the recording techniques with Ronan Chris Murphy and created a music studio in my home.
In 2018 I am currently working on an album of instrumental versions of folk songs from Nepal with Nepalese multi-percussionist Manohar Gurung. Stay tuned for this release!