She has been ‘making noise’ as she says since her childhood. Singing and later writing songs was something that came naturally to her. Her music resonated with many people around her and put her on the path of self-discovery and growth. It was music which mostly helped her to become the person she is today. For years she somewhat succumbed to a fear of criticism that caused her to stand back and not shine too brightly, but the day came when she dared to stand firmly and present herself to others as she truly was – a singer and songwriter Nicole Sky or also known as Sarab Deva. Welcome to her world of sound and music.
Also presenting her newly released album Uplifting Mantras for You.
To some people you are known as Nicole Sky and to some as Sarab Deva. Can you explain this significant difference please?
Nicole Sky is my musical name as I have been a musician for many years now. When my spiritual path took me on a profound journey with yoga and mantra, Sarab Deva was the spiritual name given to me by my teachers. It means “universal divinity”.
My new album is a collection of mantras that have been a part of my own spiritual journey and development. By embracing one’s spiritual name one will begin to resonate with one’s true destiny. And so my new album is being released as Sarab Deva under the umbrella of Nicole Sky, because I am a musician, and yet am still so much more.
What is it so special about music that makes you create it, play it, sing songs and dive so deeply within yourself?
I have always been a singer, I was singing as early as I could speak. Even as a baby I made a lot of noise! I do remember developing my love for music and being a performer through my step father. He was quite a stoic man, almost painfully shy, and yet always seemed to sparkle when he played the piano or got on stage as a public speaker. I remember the first time I felt truly inspired to write words, was when I was eight years old. I wrote a short poem, it was an eight line verse with perfect iambic pentameter. My parents were astounded. I think I really began to feel the need to express myself through music when I began playing the guitar as a nine year old and it was at this time that I wrote my first song.
I am very blessed that I have always been very connected to that creative, dream-like, inner sanctum of my being. Some might argue perhaps a little too much! And yet that is where all true inspiration comes from. For I believe that there is a collective consciousness we are all able to connect with, which is the inexhaustible source of all creativity, and yet it expresses itself through all of us in a unique way. Hence I feel that you do not necessarily need to dig deeply within yourself to write music, but rather should just allow the music to write itself through you, when the time is right for it to be expressed.
When do you feel most alive?
I feel most alive when I am working with people to shift their own perception of the world. I really like to use the words in my music for this. So, for instance, I do feel very alive when I am performing and I can see the audience and how a spark of realization gets switched on from within. First their eyes light up and then there is often a small smile of acknowledgement as the words sink in. Often they don’t even realise that this silent exchange is happening, and yet I am always aware of it and it always gives me great joy.
Through my own studies into the human mind and language, I have begun to realise that as a musician I have a great responsibility. Music, as a modality, can be used in such a dynamic and emotive way to energise people into action. Through the ages, music has often proven to exert great control over the consciousness of human beings without them even realising it. Therefore, I have made it my personal undertaking to ensure that I use this powerful modality to actually empower people rather than disempower them, and to encourage them to grow and develop spiritually.
I believe that you use music and singing as an instrument to achieve a certain goal you wish to accomplish. What is it?
My greatest wish is that by using music I can give people the opportunity to see the world differently, for a positive outcome. A shift in perception or awareness does not necessarily have to be very big at the time it occurs, however for the unconscious mind, it only takes a small shift to make a big difference over time. I have been using my voice for many years now to help people to shift their perception of reality. As a hypnotherapist, I would talk to people using a very specific kind of voice (I call it my “therapist voice”) to communicate with the unconscious mind. On a spiritual level, it is also said that mantras are the language of the soul, and yet in yogic traditions there is a very definitive science behind the sacred sound currents (naad) and how they affect the human body and psyche over time and with repetition. In the West, we are only just starting to scratch the surface of what sound healing can really do. It seemed natural to combine my musical ability and singing voice with targeted words (mantras) to assist people in developing themselves and to evolve, possibly without them even realising it is happening.
You mentioned to me that you felt the need to talk about the pronunciation of mantras and the need to do it right. Would you like to expand on this a bit please?
A fascinating subject and one I really enjoy discussing. Sound current (or naad) is a powerful vibration that can generate many different effects on matter, depending on the frequency. So it is the purity of sound and pitch that are quite important – this much can be measured. When it comes to mantras, I have encountered some more conservative, traditionalists whom frown on the pronunciation of their sacred mantras by Westerners as being inaccurate. There is a great emphasis on maintaining the purity of the naad as it has been used for thousands of years.
However, it is also widely agreed by language scholars that language is alive and always evolving, so we cannot be sure exactly how those mantras really sounded when they were first handed down by the masters thousands of years ago. Consider how differently English is spoken all over the world, to the extent that some English speakers cannot even understand their own language being spoken by someone with a strong Welsh or even South African accent. However, who is to say that one person’s sound is more pure than another’s because of their pronunciation? Unless perhaps it is the integrity with which that sound is uttered, and who can truly measure integrity or purity of the heart?
I have never been one to blindly follow any dogmatic or rigid principles. I make up my own mind about something and then I stick with my convictions and dedicate myself to what I feel I can commit to do with integrity. In my personal experience, it is important to maintain the basic accuracy of certain ancient sounds in Sanskrit, which are classically considered to be the sounds of creation. But in the end, it all comes down to how you feel in your heart and what happens in your life as a result of chanting a mantra (despite pronunciation). It is after all the final result that really counts.
Do you receive loads of criticism about the work and things you do and the life you lead?
I have and still do receive criticism about my work, the things I do and also the life I lead. I think, anyone who openly expresses themselves or their beliefs publicly (poetically, musically or through art) will always be opening themselves up to being criticized by somebody or another. In earlier days it was more challenging for me to accept this because it would break my heart every time someone had something negative to say about me, and often it was a fear of criticism that caused me to rather stand back and not shine too brightly. Part of growing on a spiritual path of awareness is realising that people can only ever see in you what they see within themselves, and so I have now learnt (and continue to learn) to take on board constructive criticism that I know will perfect what I do, and yet also to let go of criticism that does not serve me, but seems rather to serve the person giving it to me.
Tell me please, what is your daily life, what do you usually do?
I travel a lot with my husband for our healing workshops, so it is not always easy to keep to a routine, hence no two days of my life are the same. We stay with people most of the time during our travels, and so I have become accustomed to living with very little of my own personal space and items. However there are some things I have made sure I fit in daily, even if I happen to be on a plane, a train or in someone else’s living room. Meditation is something I do every day, even if it is just for 20 minutes. I also make an effort to do yoga every day, or some form of movement with my body. I work on my voice daily and play the guitar (sometimes not as often as I would like). My husband and I work together and so we often spend much of our time answering emails, arranging our workshops and our own travel schedule. Then, the rest of the time we run our healing workshops, and now we are promoting my new album.
Your new album – what is it all about? What meaning does it have in your life?
I have just released my first self produced spiritual album entitled Uplifting Mantras for You. It is the culmination of the last seven years of my life. I have been working with all the mantras used on this album for a few years now, and they have all played a key role in my personal development and healing on my journey. Essentially I have combined all of my psychotherapeutic experience, along with my yoga training to create music that will make a real difference to other people’s lives. Many of the people I have worked with over the years have been eagerly awaiting this album, because as the album title says, the songs have been designed for people’s own self development, and so it is my hope that they will find it uplifting and that it acts as a catalyst for positive growth for them on a personal level.
Were you always so spiritual? What kind of event in your life has brought you to the place where you are now?
I was always a spiritual child and had a great love of God growing up as a Christian. I began to feel discontent with organised religion and it’s dogma as an adolescent and felt indescribably drawn to mystical tools of self discovery and self actualisation such as astrology, yoga and tarot as a teenager. I have always kept that connection as a theme through my life, even though there were times when I was fully immersed in the commercial world trying to earn a living. One day, when I was living in London about seven years ago, I came across the first mantra I’d ever seen in a yoga and astrology book, and without realising what it was at the time, I just knew that I absolutely had to incorporate this string of words into my life somehow. So I wrote it on a post-it note and put it on my bedroom mirror where I could see it every morning and say it to myself every day. I found out years later that this mantra was the Tibetan Heart Sutra “Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasam Gate, Bodhisvah”. Soon after this, my life began to shift exponentially leading me towards this destiny. I discovered Kundalini yoga, began singing again and started a Bsc (Hons) in Clinical Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.
Could you share a bit more about your previous works under the name of Nicole Sky please?
The music I have under the name of Nicole Sky is a small collection of self written English songs that encapsulate some of my own experiences and learnings over the last few years. I got to the stage where I realised what a huge role words play in our lives, and that’s when I made a decision never to write or publish another sad song! I began to notice that the more I sang those sad songs, the more they would carry through into my future life, and that they might also become the story of other people who listened to those sad songs. Anything (even music) that elicits such depth of human emotion creates an electrical charge that will eventually generate matter. And so by focusing on sad or angry things (especially music) human beings are literally generating or creating their reality. Hence, I feel a huge sense of responsibility in the message I bring to people and wish only to use my skills to bring a sense of positivity and upliftment to anyone I may encounter. Also this responsibility translates into what kind of music I release into the world, because in today’s digital society, music travels so much farther and far more swiftly than even the spoken or written word.
I must admit, it is nice to meet another soul who is so aware of the power of words, and especially when melodic music comes together with it. Are you aware of the power of words in your daily life as well and use that knowledge as much as you can or do you trip from time to time also knowing that we are all humans and emotions can take us over?
In my personal daily life, I would not say that I have always been careful with my words. In fact, I can recall many times in my life when my emotions have gotten the better of me and I have spoken words that were destructive and lacking in empathy towards others, I am after all, also only a human being. However, I have learnt that the words that one uses are often very reflective of how one feels about oneself inside. Nonetheless, through applied careful mindfulness, meditation and grace, I have definitely improved this aspect of myself. I have found that through working on my own personal development (by using mantras, yoga and meditation) I have acquired a deeper sense of compassion for myself and hence also for others. After all, if one is constantly speaking angrily or negatively towards oneself, surely that is how one will speak to others.
Your current songs and music are very different from the ones you used to play in the past. Do you think you will continue on this new path for the rest of your life?
No one can know for sure what the future will bring, and often the things a person imagines themselves doing in the future, when it happens actually turns out to be quite different to how they expected. So, I can certainly say it is my intention to continue doing spiritual music and to keep on evolving with my music so that I can always offer something that inspires growth in others. However, there is always a possibility of moving into another field of self expression. I would never rule anything out.
You are a musician, a creative soul and I believe you have a dream for yourself. What is your dream? What kind of legacy would you like to leave after yourself?
I do not feel that I need to leave any legacy behind when I am gone. The people, whose lives are positively affected by what I do, will naturally become my legacy, because through every act of kindness and through every unkind deed we are all connected with each other throughout lifetimes.
My dream (if that is what you can call it) is to live a happy, healthy and holy life, to contribute towards the lives of others in a meaningful way, and yet in a way that also brings me joy. And something that brings me joy is to make conscious music and to facilitate growth and spiritual evolution in others.
Where can people find your album? And how can people support you?
For purchase of my album, please visit: http://www.sarabdeva.bandcamp.com/
People can also check out the dates for my 2013 European and American Tour here.
There are many ways people can show their support at no cost to them:
* Add your name to my mailing list where I will regularly send out free downloads and updates:
* Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/sarabdev
* Subscribe to my Youtube channel – and if you like my videos, please like them and share them on your page or on your friends pages: www.youtube.com/chononita1
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