With the theme of isolation setting in amongst us in the earliest months of 2020, the tone of the new decade shifted in a way which none of us expected to see. Retrospectively, during this time there was also an energetic and conscious shift that took place, all around the world. A particular space which had a rising awakening was the interest that many of us had in connecting with our spirituality.
One of the most insightful and spiritually attuned albums, which was released in November 2020, is Jahnavi Harrison and Willow Smith’s collaborated EP called Rise. The love and light energy emanated through the EP represents the core beliefs within spiritual-meditation practices. Jahnavi was raised by Bhakti-Yoga practitioners and to witness her collaboration with WILLOW, who is also known for engaging with yoga, as shown on her Instagram, signifies this awakening of spirituality entering contemporary music culture. Spirituality is a personal way of being which will differentiate from person to person, but can also be experienced collectively as illustrated through the songs on the album that encourage us to connect with divinity through self-reflection, gratitude and empowerment.
The album consists of six songs which define a contemporary perspective of spiritualism inspired by mantra and Kirtan meditation music. Kirtan is a call-and-response style of music which originates from Hindu yoga practices. The language of the mantras is often sung in Sanskrit, Hindi or English. In the album, Jahnavi and WILLOW’s voices layer together in perfect harmony as they repeat lyrics of introspection such as: “I need to live for higher purpose, someone is knocking on the door from the inside”. This level of self-awareness is reflective of the collective experience that many of us felt within 2020 as we were forced to stay inside of our homes and look within to find light, during the pandemic. In hand with this, a ritualistic tone is created through the repetition of lyrics such as “I want to shine bright like the sun”, which transforms the vocals into a positive affirmation that can be sung along to.
Through this collaboration not only is the music fused with love frequency energy to evoke inner peace and harmony, but the combination of Jahnavi and WILLOW’s lifestyle practices offer an insightful perspective of connecting to spirituality through yoga and meditation. This is also shown through their reflective, and empowering crafting of lyricism and the overall sound of the delicate instruments radiating a meditative, calming and healing aura to be enjoyed. Subsequently, they have created a comforting space for listeners to retreat and heal to. This album therefore offers a moment of self-reflection which can be listened to when rising and starting the new day, seeking a moment of meditation, or whilst exploring different yoga poses. As we are on our journeys out of isolation and soon to be entering the Spring of 2021, it is worth thinking about what lifestyle habits we can take into our new pathways as we continue to rise into our highest selves.