I am happy to announce the release of my debut album entitled “Mother of Mine.”
These songs have loved me, healed me and reveal my heart’s deepest longings — as an artist, a healer and a Mother. It feels as if this work is the reason I was born in this life.
I am already fulfilled in these songs before anyone hears a single note. There are so many layers of meaning that the experience has given me. I had wanted to sing since I was six years old. But it was only six years ago that it came into my present reality. One could say that I birthed my band. My (now 17-year old) son Tyler plays guitar, bass, esraj, piano, and sings. He also produced the album. My (now 15-year old) son Trapper is my drummer and grounding force. My (now 19-year old) nephew and spiritual son Harrison plays guitar, bass, piano and sings. It seems I have waited my whole life so I could play, write and perform music with my children. And this is one of the greatest gifts of my life.
Throughout the past six years, these songs have been sung by my little girls while riding in the car or taking their evening bath. I remember Mathis, at age 3, singing along with an early recording of “Mother of Mine”, tears streaming down her face. “It’s so sad, Mommy” she choked through the tears. It touched me so deeply that she could feel the truth of the song and give me this instant recognition. Yes, this has been an experience of a singer songwriter. But foremost, it is the joyous expression of being a Mother.
I did not set out to write a song. The song stream opened to me during a 4:30 am humming meditation practice. I just started hearing them spontaneously and recorded them on a rudimentary tape recorder.
Later, on silent retreat at Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashram in Encinitas, the image of a harmonium literally wouldn’t leave my brain. Finally, I relented, crossing the street to the retreat gift shop where it sat pulsing, beckoning me to take it home. I have no technical musical training, and yet it was on this instrument that I wrote “Ganapathi Mantra”, “Mother of Mine” and ” I’m Here Now” by making made primitive charts on pieces of paper, counting keys from the left and from the right to find the notes.
I then called my brother Stuart Mathis, an extraordinarily gifted musician and singer-songwriter, currently of The Wallflowers. “I think I wrote a song.” He invited me into his recording studio and gently guided me as I warbled out the first notes into the microphone. Stuart’s wife Holiday Mathis then accompanied me on violin. Maybe you read her syndicated astrology column (found in many major newspapers); but she is also an incredible musician. I think he said, “already better than Madonna”. I laughed. Stu was wonderful; generous and encouraging.
Over the following months — which turned into years — I grew more comfortable with my voice, learning to use what I had. But you won’t find me “skatting”. My daughter Mathis and I used to watch American Idol together. At about age 5, she suggested I go on the show, hilariously pleading with an earnest straight face and assurance of certain victory, “Momma, I’ll go to Hollywood with you!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her we already lived in Hollywood, or at least a 20-minute freeway ride away!
Every time I played a song for my children, I was touched. Every time my children were inspired by me or watched my process unfold and gleaned something for themselves, I was verified. Every time, we rehearsed together there wasn’t anything I would rather have been doing. Every time we went into the studio to record, I was swooning. Every time we played live, forget about it — I was freaking out with joy.
I bought my son Tyler his first guitar at age 5. Later I would discover that his brother Trapper – 2 years Tyler’s junior — was a natural drummer. I think he was 7 when I bought him his first kit.” Very late one full moon night, I couldn’t sleep. I got up and went into my yoga room and fired up the harmonium. At one point I noticed Tyler’s silhouette traced with the outline of his guitar dancing along the wall in my peripheral vision. He had come to sit in with me. He was 11.
For the Summer of 2011, Tyler (then age 16), Trapper (then age 14) and my nephew Harrison (then age 18) went into the studio to record. We used $3000 from the sale of an old wedding ring from a previous marriage to a music manager. My Mom gave me an advance on the sale and we were in business.
Bless you mom. Your generosity bestowed upon us such an amazing gift of experience; one that touched us all deeply and became a critical part of the fabric of our musical journey as a family.
There were late night rides in our minivan returning from gigs, equipment bursting out the back. Trips to Coachella where we pushed our way to the front for Them Crooked Vultures, Thom Yorke with Flea and Nosaji Thing. I’ll never forget the sheer joy on my boys’ faces. The word “epic” doesn’t even come close to describing the emotion of it all.
The following year we returned to Coachella to witness the incredible artistry of Radiohead, Andrew Bird, and Mazzie Star.
In the Summer of 2011, my nephew Harrison joined us and I found myself part of a real rock band. A rock band with my sons. Wow! Amazing! When people would make a reference to “The Partridge Family”, Harrison was not amused. “We aren’t in a band with you because you’re our Mother and Aunt. It’s because the music is great.”
As we emerged from our summer of recording, we realized my songs are better served in a more vulnerable raw arrangement. Although what we recorded was really good, it wasn’t my sound. The artist in me stepped into the forefront and the Mother stepped back. It was time for me to take control and make the record I was meant to release to the public. Tyler and I got a global view of my songs and what served them and we worked with Trapper rehearsing new arrangements of what is now the album. Tyler would produce the songs. It has taken us another 10 months to complete.
I have been singing these songs for years. And I still love them. I still get healed when I hear them. Connecting with my heart and with the music has been the most meaningful experience of my life. I am grateful beyond words for this experience.
My spiritual name is “Ananda Srimati”. It means blissful, beautiful, fortunate, spiritual knowledge and power. It is with this name that I represent this music. The songs came through me but are not of me. Maybe that is why I love them so much? If you say to me that you love one of my songs, I might reply, ” yeah it’s great.” Not because I think I am great. But because I KNOW how great the energy is that brought the music through me to surface.
It’s the ONE breath that is breathing us all. And this is the same energy that beats every heart.
This is a beautiful completion of this body of songs. But it is really only the beginning. I have two albums coming up right behind this one. And the boys will begin recording their own album this summer as “Farthengale”, with producer Jimmy Hori and their Uncle Stuart Mathis. They are nothing short of genius. So stay tuned.
Thanks for listening! If you like what you hear. Please share.