Day In The Life: Lucinda Drayton, spiritual singer and MD of Blissful Records
'Music and meditation can unlock the heart'
Monday 12 May 2008
I get up and feed my puppy, Willow, before going downstairs to sit in my meditation room for 45 minutes. Meditation is about directing the mind on peaceful, positive thoughts. It helps me to remember what I’m supposed to be doing rather than getting caught up in daily business. Over a breakfast of porridge and my one coffee of the day, I read a spiritual study. I avoid listening to the news first thing as it fills my head with the bad things happening in the world.
About 15 years ago I started to see music in a different way. I began writing songs aged six and, after university in Cardiff, I went to make it in London, playing in my group Luce Talk and on the professional circuit. I played everything from pop and funk to rock. When the dance thing happened, Andrew Blissett – my musical and personal partner for 17 years – decided to write songs for other artists.
That’s how the Number One hit “The Real Thing” with Tony Di Bart came about in 1994. We met Tony in a club and he came to the studio in our house to work on a song he had in mind. It was incredibly easy –we finished off the words and did the arrangement. It was remixed by Cleveland City, a cool label in the Midlands and suddenly it was soaring up the chart to Number One. It overtook Prince, which I thought was terrible!
So, there I was, 25 and the top of my mountain, but the view wasn’t inspiring. I had been discovering how hypnosis could programme the subconscious mind when I used it to give up smoking, and from there my spiritual journey began. For me, meditation and music are complementary and powerful ways to unlock the heart, to let people experience feelings or connect them to God.
Other music has its role but I don’t consider myself an entertainer any more. Music is about creating a space for me and the audience to go somewhere together.
My sister Samantha runs the office at the bottom of my garden in Cornwall.
We’ve received an e-mail from a fan to say she’s taking my music to her chemotherapy sessions. I draft a personal letter back to her. It’s incredibly touching to see how this music can help people’s lives. I went to an exhibition recently and met a woman who had come out of a coma after her family played our track “Om Shanti” to her – we were all in tears in the gallery!
There is a lot of badly produced music in the spiritual genre, and it has been much maligned. My music is good, song-based music, though. I’ve paid my dues on the live circuit! A Hundred Thousand Angels has been a really successful album. It’s sold 80,000 copies now and the title track is becoming a spiritual classic. It was covered by Sinéad O’Connor and is on several compilation albums, including one by BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Aled Jones.
I go into an assembly at a primary school to sing a couple of songs and talk about - values. The reaction is great – children of that age are so wide open and they love it if you can sing and play the guitar. It’s important to instil self esteem at a very young age. People would deal better with crises in later life if they were happy in themselves.
It’s fine if people are dismissive of what I do. If they’re happy and don’t need it, that’s great. Most people only wake up to it when they reach a black hole and then it can help. I went through a personal crisis when I split with my partner of 17 years and had to leave my home. But music and my spiritual practice definitely helped me recover quickly.
I am vegetarian and at lunch I’ll often cook for myself and Samantha. Lentil soup sounds a bit predictable, but I often make that! My partner Marcus Cliffe, a bassist who has worked with Mark Knopfler and Emma Bunton, calls me the “Lentil Sandal Brigade”. He lives in London, so I hop between there and Cornwall. I used to live in London but came back to Cornwall where I grew up. I love it here.
In London, everyone seems to be in survival mode. I am very affected by my environment, which I talk about in workshops in the UK, US, Australia, and even in Kenya. I was in Arizona last week to do three programmes about love, with a spiritual teacher. She spoke, then I sang and gave a talk before we all did some meditation. People in the US aren’t more spiritual than the English – they’re just more willing to be open about it. That’s changing though.
After lunch, I call radio presenter Sacha Knop to discuss a workshop and concert we’re doing at Chalice Well, Glastonbury, on 9 June. It’s a sacred garden, so a great venue.
I go into the small studio in my mill to work on my new album. I haven’t got a name for it yet, but I expect to release it by autumn. My last one, Both Sides, was a covers album, but the new one will be all originals.
All my music is put out on Blissful Records, which just came about naturally when Andrew Blissett and I got dropped by the music industry years ago! I was recently offered a deal by a major record company, which I would have jumped at years ago. But now I enjoy the freedom of the independent scene, of being able to do what I want. I also do spoken word meditation CDs, for example. The most recent one is called Letting Go, Moving On and the one I’m currently working on is called Letting Love In.
I have dinner on my own and take Willow for an evening walk on Bodmin Moor. When I get back, I lie in the bath for awhile – I don’t have a TV, so evenings are spent in the bath or reading. I then pack my case to go to London tomorrow. Marcus has a bigger studio there, so I am going to try to work on the album. The travel can be exhausting but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
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