Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part interview with Snatam Kaur about her new album Beloved. You can also read Part 2, where she takes a deep dive into her intimate creative process, sharing how she composed each song alongside nature and the beat of her own heart.
Snatam Kaur’s new album Beloved is nothing short of amazing. After reading this interview, you will understand why. Her deep connection to her “inner Beloved” and dedication to washing away the ego to clear the path for the sound current to flow through is downright magnetizing. And you experience the pulse of this pure energy listening to every song.
We’re thrilled we got the chance to hear all about the making of Snatam’s latest work of art, the poignant messages woven into the sacred words and melodies, and her desire for each of us to move closer to finding our own inner Beloved.
What was your inspiration for this album?
One of the greatest gifts that we can give to ourselves is to be ourselves, and in order to be ourselves, we have to rise above the resistance of the ego, which wants to analyze, measure, cut, and define. To be the self, we have to exist in a state of inner faith, unwavering no matter what comes our way. The rewards are great, because within this sense of self, we have found the Beloved, the greatest love of this life. I have found that the most powerful tool to get into this space of self is through the chanting of sacred mantra. In particular, this album has a focus on finding this inner Beloved, and the journey to get to it involves moving up through emotions, and moving into a sense of being present.
For this album, we recorded most of it in a live studio session with my band. It has a certain kind of synergy and flow that can only come from the live experience and amalgamation of the energies of the band, which includes Stuart Fuchs, Siri Kirtan, Neelamjit, and our producer Jamshied.
Can you share a story from the making of this album?
During our live recording session in Rhinebeck, I sang along with the band, thinking that my vocals were just there to help the band know where they were, a guide track so to speak. However, the producer, Jamshied, told me after the session that he thought my vocals might be good enough to be final. I insisted on coming to his studio in Manhattan a few months later to do all of the vocals again. In the past, my experience had been that the vocals would just get better over time, and that there would be a more solid delivery the second time around.
So, the first day in the studio, I spent three hours recording my vocals for a particular track. When we finished, Jamshied said, “Just for fun, let’s see how these vocals compare to what you already did in Rhinebeck.” So we listened, and I was stunned. The live recording session vocal for this piece was the one to choose. It had a particular quality, a life, and an energy that just worked. In fact, after that discovery, I listened to all of the tracks again, and decided to use every single lead vocal from those live sessions!
As I mentioned, we recorded the bulk of this album at a studio in Rhinebeck, New York. At this studio, there were accommodations and a kitchen in which we could cook our food. On the night of our arrival there was a huge snow storm that covered the forest around us with at least 3 feet of snow. We were effectively snowed in for the entire session, but we had a fully stocked kitchen, and plenty of good music to make.
Are there any special contributors to this album?
We brought in a bansuri flute player named Steve Gorn. He brought a deep sense of devotion and joy through his playing. He was really aware of being supportive, which is important for a meditation album in which the instruments serve to support and not distract from one’s inner journey. I thought he did this masterfully, bringing incredibly beautiful sounds that don’t take you out of the center of the meditation.
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