Monday, December 7, 2009

Dec. 2009 Grammy Nomination

There's nothing "casual" about being nominated for a Grammy. Yes, it's my 6th nomination but still, the anticipation and excitement doesn't really diminish at all. If there's one thing that I've learned in being nominated and in life in general, the best thing about it is the inner experience of it. It's very personal and almost private. I've learned in my life that it's what I know and feel that it most important, not what someone else has to say about it. In fact, I've even noticed that I have a more complete and fulfilling experience of some things when I just keep it to myself. It's like watching a sunset or sunrise, or having the best glass of wine or some kind of inner revelation. Of course it's often fun to share that with someone, but the experience, the visual, the taste, the chain of thoughts leading to a profound realization are one's own and very personal. And like a lot of things, the experience doesn't really get any better in describing it. It actually takes on even less dimension, less depth and space. You can't really convey the experience of a great glass of wine by describing it, you can't recreate the feeling you experienced by explaining the chain of events or thoughts that led you to an epiphany. Some things are best left unspoken, unqualified and unquantified.

Of course I tell whoever I want about being nominated for a Grammy. I post it on my Facebook profile, tweet it and send an email to my friends and fan base. But . . . for me the sweetest thing about it is just savoring the moment, the inner experience. Just to be with my Self. Feeling the honor and acknowledgement that it represents, fully letting it in and embracing it. Letting it soften me just a little more, giving myself just a little more permission to be just "me" musically and creatively . . . and then . . . perhaps just a wee bit too soon . . . I take out the trash, empty the dishwasher and make my son's lunch for school and my life goes on. Because, as the buddhist saying goes . . . "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop would, carry water." I'm not equating a Grammy nomination with enlightenment really. I'm just pointing out that it IS the "every day" and moment to moment experiences that we live, create and perceive that gives us the opportunity to truly experience a life of meaning and presence. If we don't wake up in the morning curious about what the day may bring, eager to watch the sun rise and make it's way up sky and back down the other side and be present with all the little moments and experiences that fill space and time along the way, then all the awards and acknowledgments won't make your life any more the sweeter. Oh, and by the way . . . the Sun doesn't rise or set. It's the earth spinning on it's axis that gives the illusion of the sun rising and setting. It's our proximity on the earth that moves closer to and farther away from the sun at a speed of just over 1,000 miles per hour that determines what part of the day or night we're experiencing. I like to think about that when I'm watching the sunrise or sunset. It's different and gives my mind an interesting twist. Funny how an awareness of reality can be so contradictory to the way we usually perceive things.

Having explained above how I know that it's the simple things in life that create a life worth living, now, let me try and describe my experience of receiving this nomination. I was aware of the exact time that they were going to post this years nominations on the website. I had done a pretty good job of NOT thinking about the upcoming nominations 2-3 weeks prior. Whenever it would cross my mind I'd get the little electrical jolt from my chest down to my stomach and then I'd put the thought out of my mind because I really couldn't deal with it. And I did honestly think I stood a decent chance of getting nominated because my album with Dominic Miller, IN A DREAM, really is one of my best (I think). But about 45 minutes before the announcment time which was to be about 7pm PST I started to feel extremely anxious. I was watching the clock and time was slowing down to a snails crawl. I decided to make some soup to keep myself occupied. I started chopping vegetables, sauteing onions etc. paying special attention to stay focussed and present so as not to cut my fingers before my upcoming concert in Boulder that coming weekend. My mind was still thinking about it pretty often but at least I was doing something constructive and useful. Right at 7pm PST I went to my computer to go to to look it up. My 4 year old son saw me go to my computer and ran over and wanted me to print him out some coloring pages. I wanted to see if I was nominated or not, but he felt very strongly that he wanted me to print out some pictures for him to color in. I thought about it for a second and opted to satisfy his needs first because at least then he be happy and I'd be free to experience whatever I had to experience. So I printed him out a couple pages and we was happy and running off to color them in, then I finally went to the site. As I saw the site come up on my computer the wave of anticipation came pounding down on me in a huge way. Suddenly I felt so overwhelmed it became hard to even think straight or really comprehend what I was seeing on my computer screen. I was looking for a little sentence like "See Grammy Nominations List Here" but couldn't find it. Then suddenly i noticed that there was a whole big square bar that had the announcement link which I then clicked on immediately. Then there was a list of all the different Fields and Categories and I went straight to New Age. And there it was. "In A Dream" by Peter Kater, Dominic Miller, Jaques Morelenbaum and Kenny Loggins. WoooHuuu!

Oh boy, that felt good. I yelled to my wife Gabrielle, "We're going to the Grammys!!" Then I looked to see who else was nominated in my Category. My long time friend David Darling, an amazing cellist, is nominated for his Prayer For Compassion CD. I was so excited to see his name. His music (his solo works and his early work with the Paul Winter Consort) has been an inspiration to me literally for decades. Plus I'm fortunate enough to have had David play on many of my own albums. And Kitaro is nominated as well. I don't know him as well as David Darling but we've shared sushi on more than one occasion and enjoy running into each other at events. I immediately felt proud and extremely honored to be sharing the nominations with these two extraordinary musicians. Jim Brickman is also nominated, but honestly I'm not very familiar with his work and I don't know of the 5th person at all. I immediately sent David an email congratulating him for his nomination and really felt only joy and happiness to be sharing it with him. Of course, I'd love to win the Grammy but if David or Kitaro win I'd be happy for them because they truly deserve the acknowledgment for their very impressive and creative body of work and talents.

Next was my phone call to Dominic Miller and tell him the good news. Dominic was in NY at the time (his home is currently in France) rehearsing and doing concerts with Sting (as he has done for most of the last 20 years or so). He answered his cell phone right away and I said "Congratulations!!". He knew what I was talking about because we spoke earlier that day about another matter he knew that we'd be finding out that evening. He said "We got a Grammy Nomination??". He was very excited and proud. We talked for quite a while. Excited about going to the Grammys and looking forward to our next project together. Next was to let Kenny and Jaques know. Both were also very happy with the news. Kenny's last nomination and win was for his collaborative "Song of the Year - What A Fool Believes" with Michael McDonald. As Sting has said "Music is it's own reward". So true indeed. Sharing the creative process with Dominic, Kenny and Jaques has truly been a wonderful honor and gift. And to crown the experience of making a beautiful recording with a Grammy Award nomination is really very sweet and slightly intoxicating. Does it make the Sunrise or Sunset any more brilliant? No, not really. But it does give me a sense that, yes, it is okay to follow my instincts and intuition, to create music that really appeals to my personal taste and to branch out and collaborate with artists that I admire. It's like a big "YES" from my peers and the Universe in general. The gift is really just to be a musician and share my music with those who would listen, but you know . . . I've never held one of those shiny little grammophone statues and would love see what it looks like on top of one of my studio monitors. I guess we'll see!