Posts Tagged ‘Grammy Awards’

Grammy Award winner Omar Akram says TM brought him closer to his source of creativity

June 26, 2013

Enjoy this great interview Christopher Caplan conducted with Omar Akram, published June 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm in RYOT Reports. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how Transcendental Meditation freed the creativity of this Grammy award-winning composer and recording artist, and the respect he has for David Lynch and the David Lynch Foundation.

Q&A: Omar Akram, first Afghan American to win a Grammy, talks Transcendental Meditation

Omar Akram, 2013 New Age Music Grammy Award Winner

I recently sat down with Omar Akram, the first Afghan American to win a Grammy award to learn a bit more about his creative process. He has been referred to as a cultural diplomat by many, and the musical equivalent of Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, in that he is (gradually) mending cultural differences between war-torn nations through art. His recent article on The Huffington Post bespeaks of a well traveled life in which he has mingled with Cuban dictators and contributed to peace in the Middle East. What’s particularly interesting about Omar is the way he uses Transcendental Meditation in his creative process, as well as his support and admiration of the David Lynch Foundation.

Q: When and how did you first discover Transcendental Meditation?

I began using TM about 5 years ago. I was going through some creative blocks, so to speak, and a friend of mine suggested it. I’d known about it for years, but I had never taken the time to try it. I started to meditate slowly, and after doing it a few times, I got hooked.

Q: How has TM helped your creative process over the years?

I think it definitely brings you closer to the source of creativity. I feel this way almost every time. I remember David Lynch was talking about it. He said it was like “searching for the big fish,” or in other words, reaching deep down. I can reach deep down inside of myself and get to the big fish — that big creative idea. That’s what it’s all about, the big creative idea, and TM helps me find this.

Q: Have you tried other forms of meditation?

Yes, I’ve tried straight meditation, on and off for many years. But five years ago I became a lot more serious about it.

Q: How do you feel about David Lynch’s recent advocacy of TM?

I think what he’s doing is fantastic because he is really trying to get it out to school kids and to people that have never been exposed to it before. I think that once people try it, I mean really try it, they realize how beneficial it is.

Q: How do you think TM can help children and students?

One thing that I know is that kids sometimes have a hard time focusing on anything. Especially nowadays because they are being bombarded with so much media. I think it’s really helpful for kids once they give it a chance. They learn the value of meditation and focus. It will be hard in the beginning to understand what they’re doing, but with proper guidance they’ll learn. I think that not only will it help them become more creative, but they will improve in all aspects of schooling and self-esteem.

Q: Do you use TM when you are in the recording studio?

I try to do it a couple of times a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. It has been really helpful both with creativity and dealing with the stress and deadlines of my upcoming album, “Daytime Dreamer.” It kind of sets the course of my whole day. Once I’m in the studio, I like to take a few minutes, but it’s hard to do it during the day, and that’s my routine. When I do it the morning it helps me focus for the whole day, and shift everything so I have a clearer sense of what I need to do. In the evening I can absorb everything that I’ve done, and refresh my mind all over again.

Q: What do you see for the future of TM and its continuing acceptance in the mainstream?

I think the more people are exposed to TM the more they’re going to realize the benefits of it. A lot of people are not aware of TM, and that’s what David is doing, he’s going around and introducing it to a lot of people that otherwise would never be exposed to it. The more people are exposed to it, the more practitioners there will be, and I think it’s going to be huge. Guys like David Lynch are pioneers in that. I have nothing but respect for him, especially with what he’s doing in schools. I think it’ll make a huge difference.

posted by Omar Akram. Check out his blog: www.omarmusic.com.

RYOT NOTE: Transcendental Meditation not only helps to reduce stress, it also helps with clearing the mind and allowing people to be more creative. The David Lynch Foundation provides millions of dollars of free services every year, implementing these scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities for at-risk populations and communities. See other related articles on David Lynch from RYOT posted at the bottom of this article, and click the gray box to learn more, donate and Become the News!

You can read more about Omar Akram’s background and musical influences in this PRWeb press release: Grammy Award Winning Artist Omar Akram Becomes Latest Entertainment Client to Join YM & Associates PR Marketing Firm at Beverly Hills.

UPDATE

In an April 29, 2019 interview in Thrive Global, Omar was asked:

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

What helps me is meditation. I would highly recommend it to my colleagues. I’ve been doing Transcendental Meditation for many years and it has had a big difference in my life.

Lavina Melwani interviews Chandrika Tandon on her Grammy Award nomination

November 6, 2011

FEBRUARY 11, 2011

A Corporate Trailblazer Goes for Grammy Gold

By LAVINA MELWANI

Also see: Chandrika Tandon and ‘Soul Call’ at the Grammy Awards (includes music video clip)

[GRAMMY1]Philip Montgomery for The Wall Street Journal

Grammy-nominated musician Chandrika Tandon plays a Tambura, a traditional Indian stringed instrument, in her home on the Upper East Side.

She is the quintessential underdog, the unknown. Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon, a financial advisor and a trustee of New York University, is also a nominee for the Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category, and she’s up against veterans and superstars of the music world—Bela Fleck, Bebel Gilberto, Angelique Kidjo and Sergio Mendes.

Ms. Tandon’s résumé doesn’t exactly read like that of a music diva: A graduate of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, she was a partner at the corporate consulting firm McKinsey and Company before founding Tandon Capital Associates in 1992. Apart from her work at NYU, she is a board member of the American India Foundation (AIF) and the founder of Tandon Foundation. There’s not a musical note in there—she’s better known on Wall Street than in Woodstock.

Indeed, Ms. Tandon, a 56-year-old Upper East Side resident, earned her Grammy nomination without a major record label or any star power behind her. Yet “Soul Call,” her second self-produced album on her own Soul Chants label, has become a sleeper hit, garnering more than 36,000 followers on Facebook. One, an expecting mother, wrote that her unborn baby kicks and dances when she listens to it; another wrote: “This music is like digging a tunnel deep into my soul.”

The Journal spoke with Ms. Tandon about mixing business with music and the prospect of taking home Grammy gold on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.What was your reaction when you heard of the Grammy nomination?

Utter shock and wonder. I have such gratitude that the community of music industry folks has taken the time to listen to an unknown. What it’s done is made the music accessible to so many more people than would have heard it otherwise.

Was music a big part of your growing up years in India?

We lived in a joint family where everyone loved to sing, and music would always be playing on the radio. When we had power cuts, my sister, brother and I would sing in the dark—we didn’t care how long the power cuts lasted! (Ms. Tandon’s sister is PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.) We were a simple family where education was so important. Music was my soul but I chose to pursue a career in business.

Tell us about the journey from business success to composing ‘Soul Call’?

Ten years ago I realized that the happiest moments of my life were tied to music and decided to make it center-stage in my life. I searched far and wide to find great masters to give me a rigorous grounding in classical Hindustani music and devoted hours of study despite my tough work schedule. This whole journey has been about going deep into myself, of viewing the world through a kaleidoscope rather than a single lens. We have one short life, are given certain resources and have an obligation to use them. It’s all about giving back, and sharing. That’s why all proceeds of “Soul Call” go to community-building causes.

How have your worlds of business and music intersected?

Music keeps me centered at my deepest level and has made me a more expansive person. I am learning every day that it is easy to radiate grace if you can find it within. This journey has also helped me redefine my concept of perfection—many birds in the forest can sing sweetly even if they are not all nightingales…. we have to honor them all and it does not compromise excellence. After listening to ‘Soul Call’, some of my most reserved business acquaintances are much more forthcoming about their passions and their spirituality, and I hope some have been inspired to actively follow their dreams, even as a second innings.

How much has music affected your life as a New Yorker?

I am a New Yorker inside and out, having lived here for 31 years. I get to listen to all the great Western and Indian musicians more easily here—and sometimes go to the same concert many times! I just love the city, and am very involved in great institutions here, like NYU, where I get to work with some of the greatest minds ever. One of my great passions is a community choir which I founded and conduct for the seniors in the Queens Hindu temple. We perform ancient Sanskrit chants set to rocking western harmonies, using Indian classical and western vocal training techniques for people who have never sung before. Each session is a shared celebration.

With the Grammy ceremony just days away, what are your thoughts on winning—or not winning?

That’s not the way I think of my life; I don’t think of winning or losing. I think of the Grammys as a happening at a point in time. I’m not trying to use this as a stepping stone to something else. I live by the words of the mystic Kabir:

When ‘I’ was there, the Divine was missing.
When ‘I’ left, the Divine took over.

So the quest is to lose myself and go with the flow.

Copyright ©2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Also see: Chandrika Tandon Concert to Benefit 1000 Maharishi Vedic Pandits Launches Global Peace Initiative, Global Peace Initiative: 13 Questions and Answers with Ramani Ayer, and Chandrika Tandon Benefit Concert in Iowa Helps Launch Global Peace Initiative.


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