'80s - Terence Trent D'Arby (2009)
'Introducing ... Sananda Maitreya'
SANANDA MAITREYA, artist, composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist, entrepreneur and Post Millennium Rocker, was born in New York U.S.A. on March 15th 1962.
He plays the four basic instruments of Rock: drums, bass, guitar and keyboards; as well as a few others instruments besides and he can never remember a time when music wasn't playing in his head.
From the beginning of his professional career he has personally written arranged and produced all his music and has also collaborated with other top artists and producers. He was and remains a fan of all kinds of music and is committed to completing his own unique vision of what music can be as filtered through his own set of circumstances and the truth of his own nature.
Sananda began his career as Terence Trent D’Arby, he became Sananda Maitreya after a series of dreams in 1995 at the age of 33. His debut album: “Introducing the Hardline According to TTD” gave him international fame and made Sananda win a Grammy Award on March 1988 as Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The artist’s next studio projects confirmed his talent as a songwriter and as a unique performer: “Neither Fish Nor Flesh” released in 1989, “Symphony or Damn” in 1993, “Vibrator” released in 1995.
In year 2000 his fifth album “WildCard!” is ready and will mark his new life as an independent artist. Sananda has been a internet presence since the late ‘90s and was one of the fist major artist to add credibility to the current explosion and acceptance of the internet music communication and Mp3.
His model of communication and trading has been quietly adopted by many individual artists, new and established, as well as some labels themselves. He believed all along that the internet would be his path to true musical freedom, without in his words, “the usual gains and compromises”.
His vision of Post Millennium Rock is a music free of restrictions and marketing pressures. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Sananda Maitreya about his days as TTD, about the Italian places he finds inspiration, about his new music, and, firstly, about his days as a boxer.
Taking it from the top, you once trained as a boxer in Orlando - and even won the Golden Gloves lightweight championship. Was boxing where you thought your career was to be at that age, or was music there, always lurking somewhere in the background? "What we now assume is that the spirit of the music was teaching me through boxing. Training me for the great task which lie ahead. She was training me to be a warrior and reminding me through boxing that I already were. Which was awakened in me through my time as a boxer/apprentice. Only the music knew the tough road which lie before my life then, and she understood that it would be of great use to my spirit later."
"Music as it happens, was never in the background. Sometimes she simply took a back seat to other interests which served as well her own. I am a fighter by disposition. I was born in the year of the tiger and am both patient like the tiger and willing to fight to the death to defend mine like a tiger. Let's say that I did not really train as a boxer, but as a musician using boxing to strengthen me. That would be fair. That I had an aptitude for it was my good fortune. It also, like my time in the military, taught me the value of discipline as the foundation of all achievement. The spirit of music led me through all of those lessons."
Indeed, and with regard the time you enlisted in the US Army, you worked with a band called The Touch, even releasing an album called, Love On Time in 1984. Was this your first stab at writing and recording with a band - and what important lessons did you garner from such an experience? "In retrospect, it seemed a trial run for that life's next step into bearing more responsibility as an artist. We recall it vaguely, though with a sense that it were an exciting time, as work always is. We recall that there were 3 sets of writers in the band, with us being the hinge between the keyboard player and the rhythm guitarist. We were the last writer in the band but our growth scared management for some odd reason and things shortly thereafter became tense. It were a great training ground while it lasted and I had some great friends there."
Come 1987 you became a music legend - thinking back of that time, was it all too much too soon at that time, perhaps? "Is there ever a timing on such things ? Or books of laws which precede them ? I came, I saw, I conquered, got bored and left. What more is there ? Things rapidly altered after our arrival whereupon things were never again the same. Meanwhile, amidst all the intrigue, another life called. From a voice far too familiar and comforting, compelling to ignore. I followed it and became its bitch. And now I'm here fulfilling my wildest dreams!"
Can you reveal anything about the making of your old discography’s fantastic albums, any behind-the-scenes tidbit of info/gossip, that will make our listening moments from here on in more pleasurable? "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or have I heard that somewhere before ? Those years are for me mostly filed away and buried in the grave created for it. And none of my fingerprints were found on the shovel. We leave those years to what your kind memory bestows to them. And what light may fall on your reflections, direct to his memory, not to me. He put that time in, as now I am putting into this time, what this time requires."
During the '90s, relations between you and your record label became strained, and you went independent and it seems that you were actually kinda relieved - was that the case at the time? "We were more than relieved. We got our soul back! We got our heart out of prison and our spirit out of bondage. We also got a large part of our brains back."
Come 2001, and you became Sananda Maitreya. It's been said that you adopted this name following a series of dreams. Can you please explain these dreams more? "No, it's been told, and you are late, so let's move on. Let's just say that I have always gotten a lot of direction from my inner world. And from the spirit which moves it."
You have since recorded, under your new given name, four albums - Wildcard, Angels & Vampires - Vol. 1, Angels & Vampires - Vol. 2, and Nigor Mortis: A Critical Mass - and just this year have started work on your new project, The Sphinx. Please tell us more about this new album, where we can currently hear/download them and or get the CDs? "The Sphinx promises to be Post Millennium Rock's fullest excursion yet. A guided tour through the 'Zooathalon', from where all true motives arise and where they go to die again. The very latest chapter, 3, Zooathalon Part 2- Sing Us Mingus, is about to come out on Sept 27th."
"Check the websites and stay close!"
You use the term 'Post Millennium Rock' - what does that really mean though? "PMR is an artists fantasy of what it would be like to (get this), simply make the music which inspires and excites you most, and which allows you to do so while following your instincts and heart, with nothing being more important than that. Money will always follow excitement. Excitement does not always follow money. Sometimes, it even pushes it away, to have some new fresh space to begin. We were made to inspire ourselves and not just our bankers dreams."
Your website has a wide section called Writings www.SanandaMaitreya.com/writings , how do you get inspired? "It's like songs, they come when they do, the ideas and phrases which lead me to write. It is a great outlet for me and it gives something back to the other aspects of my creative life. I see it as a part of my meditation, another part of my service and largely a lot of fun. It helps to keep me sane."
Fun Five - OK, it's now time to fire off some quick questions - to allow those that think they know Sananda Maitreya to perhaps think again!
a) You currently reside in Milan, Italy - so, where is your favorite place there to go and draw inspiration from on a regular basis? "What are you MI5? OK, the McDonalds at 45th Street and Da Vinci Boulevard, at the 2cd lamplight under the bridge. I get my inspiration from being at home with my family."
b) If you could change one moment in your musical history, which would it be - and how would you have it end up today? "We already changed the moment in our music history which got us here today."
c) Do you have a recurring nightmare or dream - and if so, how does it usually end? "It usually ends with questions like these!"
d) What is your sweetest, guiltiest pleasure (food wise!) late at night? "Grabbing my manhood and hanging on for dear life, just in case of earthquake."
Aside from the new album THE SPHINX, and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, are you working on any other new projects at this time, perhaps? "I am working on a time wave to convince the American military to turn itself over to my entire and complete command. Failing that, the Italian Carabinieri. Which could use a man like me. I am also preparing for a few upcoming concerts with our live group, the Nudge Nudge. So that I still have music to fall back on, if my dictatorial ambitions don't work out."
You once said, 'A black man's life is never calibrated to its own, but to how it affects the other lives and opinions around it.' Is that still how you feel today? And, if so, can you give us an example of it in today's society? "What I once said is always relevant to the time I said it in, and if I did say it, I do trust it. We live under more laws and with a greater scrutiny. To survive, mainly we calibrate ourselves to the necessities of our environment and what it requires of us to proceed. The way being that much more narrow and that much straighter."
"The give and take not as giving, the take not as charitable. But so it is and those who walk this way have chosen to walk this way for its contribution to their character and its gains. So we moan from time to time. We put our time in just as any other 'group' who has served has the right to moan. Sometimes we could use a good moan!"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why? "My memory of the 80's is selectively edited and it is not a place I go to much. Charity? I've now got a son, who already eats like a man. Feeding him is now my charity."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins (the flightless bird, not the hockey team or the chocolate bar!) ... do you? "What's to love about a bird you can kick in the face?"
Thank you for your time here today, Sananda, and we at ExclusiveMagazine.com wish you all the best for the future - "Thank you very much, Russell, for your interest. I hope this appeases the wolves that howl at the north winds!" - Sananda Maitreya
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED Sananda Maitreya CD or photograph (our choice at time of mailing), and you think you know all about the man himself, just answer this easy question: On which exact day, date and year did Sananda got married for the first time (in Assisi, in Saint Frances Basilica) to Francesca Francone Maitreya, an Italian architect and anchor-woman?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win a signed CD or photograph! Just send us an e:mail here before January 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SANANDA MAITREYA CONTEST to: email@example.com
2010 ‘THE SPHINX’ - Treehouse Publishing (in production)
2009 ‘NIGOR MORTIS’ - Treehouse Publishing
2009 ‘NIGOR MORTIS - Instrumentals’ - Treehouse Publishing
2008 ‘Lovers & Fighters’ - Live album - Treehouse Publishing
2008 ‘Camels at the Crossroads’ - Live album - Treehouse Publishing
2007 ‘Influenza in Firenze’ - Live album - Treehouse Publishing
2007 ‘ANGELS & VAMPIRES - Volume I & II’- Treehouse Publishing
2003 ‘WILDCARD! THE JOKERS’ EDITION’ - Treehouse Publishing/Sananda
2002 ‘GREATEST HITS’ - Columbia/Sony
1995 ‘VIBRATOR’ - CBS/Columbia
1993 ‘SYMPHONY OR DAMN’ - CBS/Columbia
1989 ‘NEITHER FISH NOR FLESH’ - CBS/Columbia
1987 ‘INTRODUCING THE HARDLINE ACCORDING TO TTD’ - CBS/Columbia
1987 ‘THE TOUCH - EARLY WORKS’ - Polydor