mwe3.com presents an interview with
KRISTIN HOFFMANN

Introduction by Steven Halpern

My first experience of hearing Kristin Hoffmann live was an exhilarating experience. She was the featured vocalist with the internationally renowned BELLA GAIA concert with NASA space visuals in San Francisco in December 2015.

Her voice, enhanced with reverb and echo, was heavenly, a perfect complement to the images of space. I wondered why I had never heard of such an extraordinary New Age vocalist, who sang, without words… I closed my eyes, ignored my date, ignored the visuals… and focused on her voice.

On a following track, my reverie was shattered by a funky R&B song, and Kristin was singing blues and Gospel inspired runs… far removed from the New Age genre.

I received a powerful download on the inner planes: “You two have got to record together.” When the concert was over, I rushed to her exhibit table with her CDs for purchase. As I walked up, about to introduce myself, she noticed me and said, “Hi Steven, I love your music. We’ve got to record together.” What a cosmic set-up! “Great minds think alike!” I said.

On Jan 4, 2015, the 40th anniversary of my first day in a recording studio, I laid down the basics for a new arrangement of my all favorite expanded blues progression. Listening to a funky groove courtesy of master musician Kim Atkinson, I recorded my signature Rhodes electric piano.

I had to wait two months for the bass player I’ve recorded with since 1984. Marc Van Wageningen was booked up playing with Tower of Power, but when he had a break, he came to the studio and tuned in to the vibe.

I added some choir and atmospheric ambiences, and sent the mixes to Kristin. I intuitively knew that she’d know what to do. I sent her the audio files over the net, and she imported them into her studio.

At the time, I did not know that she also did her own engineering, in addition to singing and playing her own keyboards as she did on stage with Bella Gaia.

She then added two layers of background harmony. The blend of her three voices as a choir is breathtaking.

She sent us her own tracks, we imported the audio into the studio I work with remotely, and it was magic right away. I spent more hours fine tuning various aspects, including repeating the best phrases that originally weren’t sung ‘til near the end. I cloned them so I could hear them right near the beginning, to amplify the uplifting effect.

WITH THE GROOVE AND WITHOUT...

At that point, I was concepting an EP featuring some other tracks that Kristin improvised over my arrangements. But when we solo’d out the instruments during the mixing process, when we listened WITHOUT the percussion, the music took on a whole other identity.

I knew in that instant that the NON-rhythmic, ambient and spacey arrangements deserved to have their own album, and that’s how Echoes of A Dream was born, and how that gave birth to Cannabis Dreams.

I wasn’t prepared, however, how tuned in she was to my vision… or maybe, we both tuned in to the SAME vision. She sang phrases that I had heard in my head… only better. One night, as I drifted off to sleep listening to CANNABIS DREAMS, I received more inspiration from my Muse: “Find new magic. Combine Kristin’s vocals with another set of tracks for another song… even though it was in a different key.”

As I learned way back in my early career, inspired by John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, chords based on intervals of fourths allow many more melodic options. Sometimes, of course, I’d edit out notes that did not fit into the mix. So I just deleted those. That’s how CANNABIS DREAMS was born.

The way I look at it, Kristin’s creativity and angelic vocals were too good to be limited to just one track on one album!

For OCEAN OF BLISS Vol. 2, I recorded and sent Kristin a totally different electric piano track, with additional atmospheric layers of sound… She chose to sing more ambient phrases,which fit in with the soothing rhythm of the ocean waves and the spaciousness of my keyboard.

My engineer and I then did our ‘super-producer’ thing, repeating my favorite phrases, moving them around until the final result matched the initial vision in sound that I heard with my ‘inner ear’.

Throughout my career, I’ve only recorded with a few vocalists. Kristin Hoffmann is at the top of that list! Tell your friends about her own albums. The world needs Kristin Hoffmann songs more than ever now...

{Steven Halpern's 2022 CD Ocean Of Bliss Vol. 2 is now available from Steven Halpern Music}

 


 

mwe3: You were born in 1978 so you missed the whole Beatles era with all the 1964 Beatles haircuts. The same year they came, the Vietnam War started, and that was really scary. There is no doubt The Beatles helped us survive the craziness of the 1960s.

Kristin Hoffmann: Yes, seems like the Beatles helped a lot of people survive the intensity of the Vietnam war era. Thank God for The Beatles and their powerful messages in accessible musical form.

mwe3: So your parents must have been into the Beatles yes?

Kristin Hoffmann: My parents had one Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper, which was not played in our house but which I discovered as a teenager and played it every morning as I got ready for school, for about a year or two. It was the morning heavy rotation.

mwe3: Tell us something about your Father and Mother and family. Were they music fans and musicians too?

Kristin Hoffmann: My Dad worked for American Documentary Films in NYC and was very involved in the Vietnam anti-war movement during that era… going around to colleges and playing their documentaries to students to try and help them see deeper truths of the war. Strangely, he and my mom, although they did love music, kind of missed out on the whole incredible music scene of this time period. My mom was 31 when she had me and my dad 33. I have no siblings but we had a wonderful black lab, Pepper, who became my first furry family and love. My mom did play cello growing up through high school but then she just stopped after she graduated high school. However she kept that cello in our closet throughout her whole lifetime, always thinking she might play it again one day.

Just remembering that my mom sang a lot with me as a little kid to help teach me this and that. She was always an amazing educator throughout her life and singing silly songs was one of her favorite ways to teach kids, including me. So sweet! My parents came to literally hundreds of my concerts throughout the years, driving or flying to come tune in. They were so supportive and loved the musical scene that evolved in my world. They really believed in me and this made all the difference in me feeling at a young age that I could really go for it! I'll put my earliest 4 song tape and first released CD in the mail to you - which are not online. I think it will be interesting to hear the teen me! (lol)

mwe3: How did music first affect you?

Kristin Hoffmann: My Mom told me many times that as a baby I would be up all night, every night… and the only thing that would calm me down and make me go into deep peaceful slumber was her walking around or rocking me in the rocking chair to John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain Tunes!” So apparently he was my first musical love and obsession, although I don’t remember that time.

mwe3: Must have been more right?

Kristin Hoffmann: Actually, there was very little music played in my house growing up. Maybe once per month on a weekend during my childhood years, my parents would put on a record on a Sunday morning, and those records were almost always: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – Fleetwood Mac – Laura Brannigan’s “Gloria” song. But there was so little music played in my house that I don’t feel I have any musical influences from my parents… which has always been interesting to me.

mwe3: How about instruments in your parent’s house while you were growing up?

Kristin Hoffmann: We had an upright Poole piano, it’s still in my studio, that was my grandmother’s and mother’s growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. My first memory of my own musical love was playing those keys when they were higher than my head, maybe one or two years old and hearing the resonance. I’d say that was my first spiritual experience of sorts. I started asking them to play an instrument at age 3, starting with a little violin. At four and a half I asked to switch to piano and studied classically for years. I became very good at a super young age. There was a point in time where it moved from being fun to being a lot of pressure… especially from my Dad who thought I might end up being a concert pianist. I know he was just very excited about the music and my abilities, but it became overwhelming for me. Thankfully my main piano teacher, Joan Mathes, who I worked with for much of my pre-teen and teenage years was a very kind and warm-hearted woman in addition to being a first rate classical pianist.  She had high expectations for me, and we were working on quite difficult material, but she was a deeply loving, nurturing and dedicated teacher who I am beyond grateful for, especially as I look back now from my adult years.

mwe3: How did that exposure lead you to songwriting?

Kristin Hoffmann: My own beginning of songwriting started as a rebellion to having to practice so much each day. I started sneaking in my own musical creations and improvisations when I was meant to be practicing the classics. When I discovered that I could write songs, it became an obsession! I have hundreds of cassette tapes still of my young-self coming up with all kinds of songs and ideas. Half of them were recorded on an old Fisher Price tape recorder that I had as a little kid...ha ha!

mwe3: What did you listen to when you were younger?

Kristin Hoffmann: As a teen, my favorite music was: Enigma - Enya - George Winston - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Dead Can Dance - Tori Amos - Joni Mitchell, especially the Blue album - Ravel - Samuel Barber - The Chant records with Benedictine Monks - Beck - Donny Hathaway - Jonatha Brooke. The first song I can remember being absolutely obsessed with at about age 5 was "Take On Me" by A Ha! As a result that was the first cassette tape I got as a gift from my parents.

mwe3: How and when did you gravitate toward being a recording artist and when did you start performing or play with other musicians and bands? You mentioned the pressure of your Dad trying to make you a concert pianist. Was it natural for you to play live with other musicians and in front of an audience?

Kristin Hoffmann: I started feeling a natural desire and drive to record my own songs on a professional level when I was about 15. My first multi-tracked recording was a 4 song cassette tape that I recorded in 10th grade; at the small home recording studio of a young musician I had met during my many hours obsessively taste testing music at the listening station in the local record store, “Sam Goody.” The following year I went on to form a band with a few guys from the area and we started developing arrangements for my growing body of material and began playing out at Starbucks, where I worked at the time, as well as some local restaurants. Over the summer after 11th grade we all went into a professional studio in Stamford, Connecticut, called Carriage House Studios, and spent a week tracking my first full length album, Spring Comes. I was immediately hooked and adored the whole studio process.

I felt very proud of that first CD. I started selling it at my high school and at the growing number of shows I started to play with my band… I believe I sold a few thousand copies, which felt like a big accomplishment at that age. Super empowered by the recording process, I was eager for more; and live shows, which were becoming quite frequent, were an amazing space in which to share, grow, hone my craft and have fun. From that time forward I played A LOT and never stopped. When it came to my own music, there was such a natural flow, love and inner drive… my fears from years in the world of classical piano completely dissipated.

mwe3: I know you studied piano and violin, so did you study every instrument including keys and guitars, percussion too? I thought I saw your albums featured you playing other instruments as well. Also percussion, so you’re a one woman band!

Kristin Hoffmann: Yes, you’re right! Well firstly, I started studying classical voice when I was 12 and got very serious about opera over the years, attending Juilliard Pre-College as well as master classes in Nice, France and other operatic journeys. I have always considered my voice and vocal studies my most important and ever evolving learning journey. I am still studying voice today, working over the past few years with a legendary harmonic overtone singing teacher named Timothy Hill. I am learning how to use the voice in ways I could have never imagined, while coming to understand the “math of music” and a deepened understanding of sound and frequency that the Harmonic Series reveals. More on that later…

I studied alto saxophone through most of middle school and high school with the beloved husband, George, of my piano teacher, Joan. I played sax in the high school jazz band. When I was 15 I picked up my mother’s old classical guitar and it was love at first chord. I figured quite a bit out on my own and then had some lessons with Joan and George’s son, well known master song-writer / orchestrator / producer Rob Mathes, with whom I also began studying theory and songwriting on next levels. Rob helped expand my musical palate and hone my craft at a critical time. I remember my brain would burn trying to grasp some of the concepts he was teaching me, but eventually I was able to analyze songs, both popular and classical, and formed a new relationship with music.

Some years later I took another year or so of guitar lessons with a woman named Eve Moon in the West Village. She was a wonderful teacher who helped me advance my skills and become a more versatile player. From 2008-09 I studied with French sound healing pioneer Fabien Maman, both in NYC and France, learning tuning forks on the acupuncture meridians, healing with frequency, subtle sound in accordance with nature and the cosmos, and the fine art of playing instruments around the body - modernly known as ‘sound bath’. This incredible exploration brought new layers of awareness into my musical creation and sharing, both in studio and live.

I love to challenge myself to explore instruments I have not actually studied, like percussion, harmonica or bass; and yes, you will see that I have played these elements on many of my tracks as well. I find if I spend enough time with an instrument and practice a part enough, I can make it sound good on a recording, even if I don’t really know exactly what I’m doing! Ha ha!

mwe3: I met Eve Moon back in the early 1980s. I produced a radio concert in 1983 I believe, with the now, late great Jim Pembroke at WKCR uptown at Columbia University and Eve was the guitarist on the session!

Kristin Hoffmann: All so amazing! Incredible that you know Eve Moon! She was a VERY gifted and talented player and an incredible teacher. I learned so much from her in one year and was on a great practice streak and making a lot of progress, but she became pregnant with twins and then was taking a break for a while after the birth, at which point we lost contact. I would love to reconnect and see her again at some point. I have great respect for her as a musician. And out of all that I learned from her; I feel I have retained about 20% through the years. At that point I was practicing guitar at least an hour a day and making nice headway...it was towards the end of the Capitol Records days and a bit after. When we stopped lessons and I was super busy with my own music industry stuff I kind of slid back on my practice to focus more on writing...and also moved back more in the direction of my love for piano. In any event, it would be great to dive into guitar again at some point in life with that same level of curiosity and dedication that I once had.

mwe3: I forgot to ask you about attending Julliard School of Music at Lincoln Center.

Kristin: I'm just realizing I didn't mention any of my amazing classical opera or my private composition teachers in the interview. So much amazing learning during that era. Studied with Juilliard opera teacher Lorraine Nubar for 2 years and then incredible Israeli opera singer/teacher extraordinaire, Zehava Gal, for about 6 years. She coaxed THE BEST out of me! One of the most incredible and powerful voices I have ever heard on this planet. And we had a very special, almost familial connection as well. Studied classical composition privately with Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran as well... he challenged me to new levels.

mwe3: When did you become cosmically conscious and interested in global activism, issues like Women rights, peace and environmentalism? Was there a tipping point that made you decide to become an advocate for certain world causes?

Kristin Hoffmann: I was always very tuned into the Earth. As a child and young woman I hiked and backpacked regularly, even taking a strenuous wilderness leadership course when I was 17, thinking I may like to be a wilderness guide or something of that nature. I feel my time in the woods, sleeping out under star filled skies, naturally informed an understanding that I am part of a Divine, interconnected planetary system, and that I want to do my part to care for our Mother Earth. This love has carried forward into my adult life, choices and actions, and I feel that music plays an important role in re-connecting other humans to a sense of care and stewardship for our planet.

I would say that my musical peace activism was born out of a similar space of awareness; that we are all interconnected in a web of life and consciousness, and that if we truly practice and hold peace, compassion, empathy and love in our hearts and lives, to the best of our ability, we can be in synergy and balance with each other and all of life. I am passionate about creating music that can help others to tune into this vibration as a whole, while supporting specific worldly issues that call to my heart.

mwe3: How about meditation? Did you study a particular form of meditation like TM or another? Your music is very meditative, it takes you to a special restful place. Is there a best way for you to meditate?

Kristin Hoffmann: I have been meditating regularly in one form or another for the last 20 years. I first discovered a love of meditative spaces and practices during a powerful period of seeking with my best friend Kristin Thomas. We went to some meditations together and organically formed our own deeply spirited world where, nature, music, drumming, healing, dancing, writing and sitting in deep spaces of soulful inquiry were our regular muses and space of growth.

I then joined a weekly Vipasana meditation group in NYC for a year or two and have practiced many forms of meditation in the years since. I really appreciate all of the different forms and ways to tune into the zone, whether listening acutely to the hypnotic symphony of critters in the night upstate in the woods, singing or chanting, dancing my heart open at 5 Rhythms with a vibrant group of souls, or sitting in total silence. All of these paths can take me there.

I do think music is one of the best ways for people to reach a meditative space, and I feel that it is one of my main missions in this life to birth music that can be a vehicle for others to access deepened states of connectivity to Self and Spirit.

mwe3: How many solo albums have you recorded and released over the course of your career and which albums stand out in your mind as being some of your most successful in an artistic sense and what are your most recent albums? I was listening to your soundtrack album Amazing Space, which is quite amazing sounding.

Kristin Hoffmann: I have released 8 solo albums in the course of my career and a few EPs. Years ago I also recorded and released one song per day for 30 days and then put out some unofficial CD releases, sold at shows only, of some of those songs. There have been a couple of albums, like the one that I was working on with Capitol Records early on in my career, that were partially completed but sadly never made it into the world. Over the past 5 years or so I have released mostly single songs on my own or for organizations that have commissioned me for particular projects. I am slowly but surely developing and recording a new album, called RainShine, which will make it out into the world at some point when I deem it complete. This is definitely my deepest soul project to date and I look forward to sharing when the time is right.

mwe3: When did you realize that other record labels might be interested in recording your music? Tell us about your Interscope album Real. Was Real your first exposure to major label music and how did you come to record with Interscope? These days a lot of artists are going a different route than the standard record label.

Kristin Hoffmann: I was actually signed to Capitol Records first, from age 20-22… so I knew pretty early on that major labels were interested in the music I was creating. I left college at NYU when I got signed, and took a full leap of faith in the direction of my dreams.

There were some amazing experiences with Capitol, such as working with producer Kevin Killen at a legendary studio in NYC. Kevin was the one who also helped me put together my first home studio during that time. There were also some not so amazing experiences, such as having to take a long pause from my passion of performing live because Capitol wanted me to focus solely on songwriting and recording and “come out of the box with a fresh new sound.”

I would say looking back; overall I was too young during my time at Capitol to really be able to stand up for myself and my vision and be fully respected as an artist. The execs likely still viewed me as a kid and thought they knew what was best for me; and their decisions ultimately felt creatively stifling. I finally learned the hard way, for the first time, that when your A&R person suddenly takes a job at another label, and you lose that critical support of the one person who signed and believed in you most, that things tend to fall apart. My parting with Capitol was my first giant heartbreak… and was also exactly the dose of medicine I needed to spark the next giant wave of creative inspiration and discovery within me as an artist.

After recording and releasing my subsequent solo record, Divided Heart, I started playing out live again religiously. Magic started happening in a special little cafe in the West Village, called ‘Caffe Vivaldi’, owned by music lover Ishrat Ansari. At the time I played there 5 nights per week, 2-3 weeks per month. A dedicated group of listeners began coming nightly, and we built a soulful family there; a buzz of intoxicating love emanated from that space and called more listeners in. I had taken on a new manager, Steve, and one night he brought Debbie Southwood Smith, VP of A&R at Interscope Records to Vivaldi. Over the next month or so she also felt the love and healing happening there, and came to about 20 shows.

At some point we were sitting down together during a music break and she said, “I’ve come to a ton of shows and I get it! Feels at this point we should think about doing a deal together, no?!” I was both excited at the possibility and scared to enter the major label world again. Ultimately, I knew Debbie really understood me as an artist and I decided to take another leap of faith. We had dinner that week and talked vision… the next week she already had me booked for a half a month of solo songwriting and demo time at Longview Farm Studios, an iconic converted farm/studio in Massachusetts. A massive shift from my days at Capitol, Debbie understood my artistry and knew how to support my growth in the highest ways, rather than trying to mold me into Interscope’s vision. I felt blessed to be able to write and record the record that was in my heart at that time, entitled Real, with dream producer, David Bottrill, and a wonderful team of creatives.

Unfortunately, despite all of the love, passion and authenticity surrounding the making of that album, as well as super successful live touring while I waited for a store release date, there was not a happy ending to my 2.5 year journey with Interscope Records. During the long wait for release, amidst the early days of streaming and impact of Napster on the industry, Interscope decided to remove Debbie’s position all together in an effort to cut costs, and I suddenly was once again without my A&R person and vital lifeline. I was shuffled around for another 5 months by execs who did not get me or have a soulful history with me and my music. My album was unofficially released online with zero promotion whatsoever. It became clear that it was time to part ways.

The real blessing amidst the disappointment, was that I fully got the message that my path as a conscious musician would need to be one that I create myself, and that the major label world was not the right vehicle to hold my music or message. Within a couple of weeks of that breakup, I was already being guided in the direction of my true purpose through music; to use sound as a powerful vehicle for healing and connection, rooted in “sharing” rather than “performance.”

mwe3: Tell us about the group you perform with Bella Gaia. Who is in the group and have you recorded with Bella Gaia and how many concerts have you done with them? What is the musical mission of Bella Gaia and what were a couple of your favorite albums, tracks and or concerts with Bella Gaia?

Kristin Hoffmann: For the past 11 years, I have had the great honor to be the singer and keyboardist for the amazing multimedia project, BELLA GAIA, created by director Kenji Williams. We have toured extensively throughout the US and internationally, and I consider the core BG team family at this point. Bella Gaia is a living, ever evolving project. It is a stunning, connective, awe-inspiring and deeply impactful experience…dare I say even life changing! I never tire of giving my all to these beautiful shows, and it is a space in which I can continue to grow and explore as an artist. There are different length versions, side story expressions, and new segments always emerging, that can be added on for specific shows. Even my own musical parts are only about 50% set, and the rest is open to improvisation and the inspiration sparked from each unique live experience. To date, we have recorded two BELLA GAIA CDs, one live album that is no longer available, and a studio album that can be found in any online store.

This is a live video of one of my favorite new sections that was added in 2019. Every time we do this live, I get chills and feel reconnected to spirit.

There have been so many memorable concerts, but a few of my favorite theaters and concerts that stick out in my mind are: The Winspear Opera House in Dallas, The Miller Outdoor Amphitheater in Houston for a super engaged audience of 6,000, playing for a theater of enthused NASA scientists at Caltech, presenting at Mae Jemison’s 1,000 Year Starship, rocking it under the giant whale at The American Museum of Natural History, playing at the stunning Ciragan Palace in Istanbul and presenting at the surreal, futuristic campus of KAUST, on the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, being literally ushered to our concert by the blessing of a giant, angelic whale shark!

Here is a little description of BELLA GAIA: BELLA GAIA, created by director Kenji Williams, is an unprecedented NASA-powered immersive experience that communicates without words, the BEAUTY of the planet both natural and cultural (BELLA) – and the INTERCONNECTEDNESS of all things on Earth (GAIA). A visceral flow of unencumbered beauty manifests for all the senses by combining supercomputer data-visualizations from NASA, high-fidelity orbital views of Earth, cultural photography, and stirring LIVE performances of music and dance from around the world, with an “iridescent landscape of gossamer melodies and labyrinthine rhythms” (Nooga.com) to create the “Sublime” and “Out of This World” experience (Village Voice, USA Today). Here is a link to view the BELLA GAIA Trailer.

mwe3: Compared with recording full length albums, you have mostly been releasing single tracks these days. I like the presentation for your music on Bandcamp. How do you like Bandcamp and do you see it as the future for marketing and selling your music to listeners?

Kristin Hoffmann: Yes, unfortunately, I feel like the days of the album are coming to a close. Of course, artists can still make full length albums, but it seems there is no longer the same attention span or hunger of most listeners to dive in deep and invest an hour into a musical immersion. with one musician. Part of my artist heart mourns as I say this, but I feel it is true. Of course, on the flip side, there is something freeing, in a new way, to create amidst a musical world that celebrates singles and EPs as the desired format of release. I have been putting music out on Bandcamp for quite a few years now, and I can say I adore this platform.

I love that Bandcamp allows listeners to donate any amount they want for a track or album, and I have come to realize that listeners are super kind and generous when given the chance to be. As opposed to most streaming platforms that basically pay musicians nothing, Bandcamp actually cares about artists and implements many features to support creators and has been a space that helps to fill in the massive loss of income that artists have faced since the explosion of streaming and “free music” and the death of the CD and artist to fan sales models that were once sustaining.

I look at Bandcamp as a great space to do soft releases. Sometimes I am not ready to officially put a song or collection out to all music stores and platforms, but I want the music to be available to close friends and fans in my more immediate circles or on my website. In this way, Bandcamp really has served me well.

mwe3: Tell us about your YouTube videos. How many videos have you produced? I was marveling at the “Ocean’s Blood” video with Bella Gaia. That track seems like the perfect vehicle for Bella Gaia to get their points across.

Kristin Hoffmann: I think at this point I’ve produced about 10 official music videos and then a bunch of more live-ish videos. Ha ha… and you’re reminding me that I still have a few on my list to get up on my website. The best place to watch my videos is on my site, kristinhoffmann.com, because I have made a lot of videos for songs in collaboration with other organizations or projects, and they might not actually be on my personal YouTube page. So my website serves as a melting pot of sorts for a lot of the different videos that have been born out of my work.

Yes, Bella Gaia, "Ocean’s Blood" is a beautiful video and song that really strikes a chord of awareness in viewers, reminding us of the preciousness of our life giving Ocean and inspiring us to remember that we are stewards of this planet and care for her with our choices and actions.

Thinking back, the official video that took me the longest to make, and almost made me insane in the process, was the one for “Let Go (Rise of Troy Remix).” I had this whole intricate concept with intersecting story lines, characters and symbolism that flooded into my being one day and I was determined to manifest it; on a very small budget no less! After months of work and many shoots, including walking blindfolded through the forest in snow with bare feet, that video finally was completed and birthed. You’ll see, if you watch until the end, that it goes deep into themes of surrender, acceptance and discovering/trusting the full-spectrum authentic you amidst a sea of distraction and lifetime programming. I actually feel like it was ahead of its time and it should almost be re-released now, as it speaks deeply to current day themes.

mwe3: Speaking of your videos, I liked your “Water Of Life” video. You accurately point out that humans are very much water beings. How did you become involved with Unity Earth? Is Unity Earth the premier organization promoting global environmentalism?

Kristin Hoffmann: I’m so glad you like “Water Of Life”… that is one of my favorite videos as well. I first met Ben Bowler, the founder of UNITY EARTH at the 2017 yearly retreat of the group I am in called, “Evolutionary Leaders” (evolutionaryleaders.net). I would say Ben and I were Soul Friends and first sight! We were already dreaming into collaborations that could bring all different light leaders from around the world together through ceremony, music and honest compassionate conversation and sharing on the first night after meeting; at that point in time we were specifically envisioning a first journey in Ethiopia, supported by the elemental theme of fire. The Ethiopia adventure, and many others, actually came to be, and I saw Ben’s incredible gift, again and again, to bring together leaders from all different faiths, lineages, countries and belief systems, to create a space of true healing, bridging, new vision and Spirit, with a deep emphasis around honoring the land, Mother Earth, the elements and ancestors.

Amazingly, despite the lockdowns of the past couple of years, UNITY EARTH has continued to grow and thrive online. Being a world community, we discovered that more people can actually tune in actively and participate in events if they are not physical in nature. There are currently two major UE weeks per year, World Unity Week each June, and Peace Week each September; and the 99 days between the beginning and the end of those two weeks has also become an active time of sharing and peaceful action.

I am a huge believer in UNITY EARTH as an organization and community. AND…the great part is that UE also understands the power of the arts and the role creatives play during this powerful time of planetary awakening and healing. They have been an incredible space of support and growth for me, through which I have birthed some of my most poignant pieces of this life. Some of my favorites have been: “Water of Life,” “One Song Singing,” “Calliope’s Dream,” and my most recent UE collaboration, “99 Days (Of Peace Through Unity).”

mwe3: Can you tell us about recording with New Age pioneer Steven Halpern on his most recent albums? He told me how impressed he was by your voice and musical ideas. What was it like working with the original New Age master himself and do you have plans to do more recordings with Steven?

Kristin Hoffmann: Working with Steven is such a natural and joyful process! I feel our musical expressions are totally complementary, and it’s always a blissful undertaking to feel into one of Steven’s gorgeous sound-fields to see what wants to be born vocally. And what a true gift to have the opportunity to weave with someone who is indeed such a master and originator of his craft. I feel blessed.

I am in awe of Steven’s ability to take a couple vocal takes I send him, and then come up with a multitude of various expressions and possibilities around those tracks. For instance, I may sing to one original bed of sound, and then Steven goes to work… and he’ll dream into multiple completely different sound journey options, taking inspiration from my vocals. So in the end, for each track we have collaborated on, there are usually about 10 different expressions and mix options to choose from.

I’ve learned a lot from watching Steven work in this way. In my life as an artist, it is rare for me to go back to an older track and re-visit other possible expressions… I am usually totally focused on new, undiscovered pieces, yet to be born. Steven’s dedication to discovering the most out of each unique sonic inspiration is laudable, and quite unique. I get excited every time I see a new mix option come into my inbox!

I LOVE Steven’s music and believe in the healing capacity of its special encoding. We have another piece coming out soon, and I definitely see continued collaboration in the future between me and Steven and look forward to all possibilities!

mwe3: Can you say something about your current activities for 2022? You mentioned Bella Gaia might be doing some concerts this year?

Kristin Hoffmann: Yes, I am gearing up for further collaborations, both live online and recorded, with UNITY EARTH for September’s Peace Week. Then in October, Bella Gaia will be playing in Texas, after which I’ll go straight to Sedona for both solo and duo concerts with another extraordinary live looping artist I collaborate with, named “Cornflower.” We’ll be playing for a special festival with The Awakening World, another prominent online platform that I have worked with a lot over the last couple of years. I’m also gearing up for a new solo release, hopefully in 2022, as well as the release of a new collaboration with Steven.

I host a monthly online Gathering, on the second Sunday of each month at 6PM ET / 3PM PT, with my Sonic Soul Family Membership, in which I share music live (usually one of my songs and one improvisational Sol Aum sound journey) and we dive into deep discussion around a specific monthly theme. It’s an amazingly beautiful and intimate space, which gives me a chance to get to know a smaller group of friends and fans on a more personal level.

To become a member of my Sonic Soul Family and join monthly Gatherings, go here:

It’s $11 per month to be a member, and this helps so much to support me as an artist during a time when the CD has become obsolete. I love my special family and feel immense gratitude for each and every member.

mwe3: Are you planning any new albums or videos this year? Would you consider a DVD / CD compilation?

Kristin Hoffmann: Yes!! I have carved out time this month to focus completely on getting to next levels with my latest album, RainShine. This is my Soul Baby!! She has been taking time to birth, but it is because I care so much about her and this record is straight from my Spirit. In my dreams I will be so productive that I can put her out in October. In reality, I think that is a big stretch, BUT, I do think it is realistic to release a first single from the album in October, so I am at least aiming for that goal. The style of this record is neo-classical meets post-rock. It’s super slow, emotive, cathartic and healing, brooding yet angelic. It captures that space right after the storm, when the first rays of light penetrate water droplets and a deep inner shaking of new life and possibility is born… a quivering resonance of the new dream.

In making this album, I listen to the pure nature of my soul and let it be born into music - this album is what it sounds like. I’m making this record to honor my path as a spiritual being living life in this world… in a body… with all of the shadows and light that comes with navigating that journey. My hope is that others will also see a universal reflection and truth in its sonic encoding, and that will speak to their hearts. I’m not making this record for any industry, popularity, hopes of it hitting big or with any specific commercial intentions in mind. It is purely made for listening, for loving… for those who will discover its embrace and feel something within themselves. In some ways I feel this is the most important album I have made. There are about 7 songs, but they are longer, so this is a full-length album. I may actually press this one on vinyl, we shall see. Definitely stay tuned…

{Thanks to Kristin Hoffmann @ www.kristinhoffmann.com and www.kristinhoffmann.bandcamp.com}

 

 




 

 
   
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