The Uncaught Fish that Swims in the Soul
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Sananda means ‘joyful’ and/or ‘one who walks with light’, whilst Maitreya is to be interpreted as ‘loving-kindness’.
It’s no accident that the artist who we are about to interview, would dream recurrently about these names in his darkest hours, when the fishnet of the corporation was starting to strangle the very gift that was his life purpose.
Sananda Maitreya was born in Manhattan, New York, at the break of the 60s and found himself in all of his glory at the end of the 20th Century.
From birth to recognition, through and beyond, this hugely talented singer/songwriter and musician was a Grammy-nominee and won a Grammy in the category of Best R&B Vocal Performance. He was also chosen for the British Awards as “Top International Newcomer”, given a Soul Train Award nomination for Best New Artist (amongst other reputed Award nominations and wins) and baptized ‘New Prince of Pop’.
His debut solo album has sold over 12 million copies so far and with it the artist set a world record, for in its release it was the first debut album in history to sell one million copies in just over 3 days.
Worldwide success was bittersweet. Fish Sananda knew he was meant to lead a life as Maitreya, and thereby he made the enormously brave decision to jump out the money-pond, before he was caught and strangled by the corp-net, thus reaching the waters of the Soul, in setting up his own independent label, through which he has kept distributing his wonderful, soul stirring, heart healing music.
Music that you’ll have heard in famous movies, series, commercials and in other well-known artists’ albums as collaborations, as well as in Sananda’s own prolific works. Music that will probably be entangled in your veins, running in your blood, reaching and setting residence in your brain by a five-octave vocal range.
And so the story of the artist has been told, although we feel that this is, somehow, the moment it begins all over again… Classic, current, timeless, multi-talented, wild, free… he was, is and will always and simply BE.
But before we can have the immense pleasure of offering you his words, directly from his heart, digitally poured by his own hand, let us give you a list of our all time favorite songs of his, old and new. Be forewarned the list is not short, but we bet that you’ll recall the delicious taste of all the notes behind most of these words as well as the distinctive, unique, otherworldly voice that sings them:
If You All Get to Heaven * If You Let Me Stay * Wishing Well * I’ll Never Turn My Back on You (Father’s Words) * Dance Little Sister * Seven More Days * Let’s Go Forward * Rain * Sign Your Name * It Feels So Good to Love Somebody Like You * To Know Someone Deeply is to Know Someone Softly * This Side of Love * Roly Poly * I Don’t Want to Bring your Gods Down * She Kissed Me * Do you Love Me Like you Say * Delicate (with Des’ree) * Succumb To Me * Vibrator * Holding on to You * Undeniably * Surrender * It’s Been Said * Designated Fool * My Dark Places * Drivin’ Me Crazy * Suga Free * Testify * Shalom * Ev’rythang * …And They Will Never Know * Shadows * Reach out * I’m your daddy * Dolphin * It ain’t been easy * Daddy can I have a war? * Pretty Baby * South Side Run * It’s just my pain * Screamer * Marlene * C.Y.A.M.G. * If I were * I Never Knew How Much * Sometimes You Gotta Cry * At The Crossroads * If I Just Stay With You * Has It Been Too Quiet? * Ooh Carolina * Because You’ve Changed * Superstar * Sananda’s Variation on a theme by Mozart * I Never Know * The Blame * What Baby Wants * The Laughing Song * This Far…
He presents his music as POST MILLENNIUM ROCK: its main elements are heart and soul, its nature made of passion, courage and curiosity; it acknowledges no rules. And so, no matter how he may prefer to dress his expression, or the perspectives from which this expression springs, let’s not forget that, at its core, its truth is universal: FREEDOM & LOVE.
‘Judas bled heavy his debt to the Lord,
in poverty pleading for his room and board.
He read to the children of Jerusalem,
seduced by his flute, he would read
Proust to them. More cannot be stated.
However WE rate it, he was of
use to them. He evened out his score,
while heaven called a truce with him.
His descendents live in Baltimore’.
WONDERLANCER: 😀 Love for others, whether this is a fraternal or a romantic love is a recurrent theme in your lyrics. What do you think most literature and film have reflected accurately and what they have confused people more with so far about the subject of “Romantic Love”?
SANANDA MAITREYA: The greatest known love is love for the self or you are fooling yourself about what love is and will be hard pressed to share it. We share what we know, and to know love from within is to be able to distribute it where you choose. Love does NOT oblige. LOVE COMPELS. Duty obliges and duty is what duty is and has its place, but it is not love itself. ROMANTIC LOVE is not love. It is a particular form of illusion based on how we see ourselves. It is no less vital or valid as a level of expression, though in the long run, that is all it is, a noble form of expression, but not the love itself. Face it, sometimes, romantic love is but a scorpion charming and kissing your hand right before it stings it with its deadly venom. Sometimes, romantic love leads to the NEXT door, LOVE. And most importantly, LOVE IS TO EACH AND FOR EACH, AN INDIVIDUAL REVELATION.
My love may bear little or no resemblance to your love, but damn if both of our versions are not real. Love is too vast to be so meekly and timidly defined. Love is not a mouse. Love is a lion. Our visions of Romantic love DO tend to be more unified, as romantic love includes a communal symbolic language which we are mainly attuned to as a culture.
WONDERLANCER: You never stop hearing music in your head and in fact play several instruments, but does your song writing always follow the same flow, do you hear the music before you think of the lyrics or has it happened the other way around at any point? We know you love writing and you do write poems, so we wonder if the latter could be a possibility too…
SANANDA MAITREYA: I never stop hearing music because our dear mother nature never stops singing it. The planets still keep up their daily planetary chatter. The moon still clears her throat, and even a good long winded fart has potential for music in it. This is what I do. This is what I were designed by spirit and nature to do, therefore without fanfare or too many trumpets, I do it. And I have never loved doing it more. It follows a fairly regular pattern (we know each other well) unless in those moments where I feel I need to be shaken up, upon which time I will choose a different process to keep me and the work fresh. At some point our aim is to take some poems or text from scratch and begin from that perspective, much as masters Schubert and Schumann did. In the meantime, my mule takes my tools up the mountain, so while that mule is able and willing, we stick with that mule most of the time.
WONDERLANCER: Do you remember the precise moment in which you realized that you could connect with others through your own musical creations?
SANANDA MAITREYA: Yes, it was in a former life, prior to this one. The age was two. I heard the Beatles, after which time I realized that were my destiny as well. It wasn’t even about me, though the connection was so strong that I felt that they were speaking on my behalf as well. Yes, I have always had a sense, a knowing, that we were meant for this life. And that we were meant to lead. Otherwise, where would all of these ass-whippings be coming from and why?
WONDERLANCER: Which of our favorite songs of yours, listed in the introduction, can you say that have most resonated within your heart, throughout the years?
SANANDA MAITREYA: I don’t have favorite songs, and I do not DO favorite songs. Frankly, I never revisit old work, it is anathema to my essential nature. One day, apprehending the approach of death, I may choose to go over the work I’ve done. I will not and cannot be judged by the length of just one or two jigsaw pieces, when the whole tapestry is still being worked on. I don’t think as much like a songwriter, I think more like a publisher now. Not ‘what have we done?’, but ‘what more do I need?’. Life is too short to gaze at your reflection in the mirror while they are shooting at it.
WONDERLANCER: You moved to Europe from the US in 2001, first to Germany, where you started your own independent record label, and soon moved to Italy, where you have your permanent residence. You have mentioned in other interviews (please correct us otherwise) that you feel America as your mother and Europe as your wife. How did it feel for you the moment you left what you’d known as your first home, to marry this old continent? And are there remarkable differences between their audiences?
SANANDA MAITREYA: The history of music clearly suggests that YES, there is a difference between a European and American audience. For a start European audiences tend to be less politicized as well as more knowledgeable and accepting of different forms and levels of expression. But ultimately my art is where my heart is. My heart is here because the living here is closer to my concept of good living. The freedoms promised to me elsewhere, but stingily doled out and parted with only after punishment, come more easily to me, at this stage of my living, here in Europe. Italy LOVES music and the place and esteem for it and its practitioners are clear. Music and politics are yet far too segregated and mean-spirited for me to ever feel my place within it. Nor did anyone go out of their way there to make me feel a part of it. History would have swaggered a bit more and not stumbled and bled to death had my vision among others, been more included and those I encountered as my daily bread, not so painfully deluded.
WONDERLANCER: “Wildcard!” was the first of your albums released through your own label, and it received raving reviews. In your opinion, can critics break and/or impulse artists or a true artist should pay no attention to critics?
(CONTINUE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SANANDA MAITREYA on Page 2)