Feature, Interview

Spirit Sound: Drew Phoria

By Kevin Alan Lamb

“A piece of music or art, or a piece of information worded just the right way can help to clarify or validate one’s spiritual identity in a big way.”

Great music and art gives you permission to express yourself in whatever way feels natural. It is an invitation to unplug from the Matrix and deconstruct the layers upon layers of programmed thought which were bestowed upon us without consent and intent on suppressing our true passions and purpose.

Spirituality is a guide to retracing the trail of breadcrumbs and remembering why you are here, and how you can best serve your gifts by serving others. With faith in our hearts, we can face the fear in our minds and come to the understanding that fear is a natural instinct placed within us for protection, yet when unchecked (as it often is) can create an anxious state, disconnected from spirit.

I first encountered Drew Phoria at Sacred Vibrations last fall, playing a VIP set with Desmond Jones. He played after Dixon’s Violin, who is a visionary violinist and musical shaman. Drew credits Dixon for reminding him that we are spirits having a human experience. When considering that perspective, it becomes more clear why practices such as meditation, yoga, dance, and making music are transformative experiences which yield intense bliss. When we connect with spirit, we are remembering who we are and why we are here, which is an incredible feeling and catalyst for realizing dreams.

I am humbled by the trust of those letting me intimately understand their spirituality and share their story to help others exploring their own. It is fitting that next Thursday, January 17, Drew will be opening up for Dixon at Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids, Drew’s hometown.

It will be your natural instinct to positively resonate with Drew’s sound (I know it was mine). He performs uplifting, alternative jam music with a natural charm and charisma that shines from his passion for his artistic mission to inspire you! Before he finishes a song, it has to feel authentic before he is comfortable expressing it. In other words, don’t sing anyone else’s song.

Would you say you’re guided more by faith, or spirituality? Or do you perceive them as one and the same?

I would say I’m more guided by spirituality. I feel that that they are both related but they are not one and the same. There isn’t a single religious or spiritual denomination or sect that is fully verified and validated by science so any spiritual belief system does require the faith that there is a higher spiritual being or presence overseeing its creation. But I feel that blind faith toward a specific god or religion would be an easy way out from doing my own personal spiritual work.  Over the years I have felt a great responsibility to explore many paths and belief systems to be developed by my own thoughts and feelings about what spirituality really is for myself.

Do you have daily/weekly practices that help you stay connected with your guide?

Great question.  One of the most important parts of any spiritual practice is how one communicates with spirit. The closest thing I have to a daily ritual is playing music every day. I’ve been doing visual art again as well. I put up band posters and visual art pieces that inspire and empower me in my creative space. This is how I communicate to spirit about the things I hold sacred and  want to call into my life. I’m always trying to learn more about different methods that spirit uses to get our attention like animal symbolism, seeing number sequences in the clock, archetypes, and daily synchronicity. This helps me to pay attention on a daily basis to the ways that spirit is responding and communicating back to me.

Who in your life helps you stay on the right spiritual path?

I have a great support system of spiritually focused musicians and guides from various spiritual communities. Extra special thanks goes out to Alex Lamay, Kirston Lyon, Ashton Robertson, Julie North, Dixon Hammond, Valerie Hill, Morgan Miller

What do you find most often disrupts or gets in the way of your spiritual journey?

Having to work 40 hours a week for someone else’s business and share that space with a bunch of money chasing muggles all day in order to afford a place to live and eat healthy.   Creating music and art and being in nature are a large part of my spiritual practice. If the day arrives that I am able spend the majority of my time doing music and art (in nature!) I would foresee my spiritual journey expanding along with them.

Have you ever experienced a significant catharsis or “aha” moment as a result of your faith/spirituality?

Absolutely. That feeling has come in many different ways. A piece of music or art, or a piece of information worded just the right way can help to clarify or validate one’s spiritual identity in a big way. I feel that when I was younger the big “aha” moments seemed to be less frequent and more significant. My first experience at Red Rocks was certainly the peak moment of excitement along the path.  As I mature I find that I still have “aha” moments all the time as I continue to learn and grow but that it’s become an expected part of the journey.

Does making music help you honor and connect with your greater sense of self, and purpose?

It’s the primary tool that I use to connect to my greater sense of self and purpose. Before a song is finished it has to feel authentic to my own self for me to feel comfortable expressing it. So I feel I have to connect with my sense of self to be able to get it just right.  I believe my greater purpose is to inspire people to be their best versions of their most authentic selves. I like using art and performance for this as well, but music continues to feel like my strongest tool to put those intentions into the world in a way that connects with people.

In what ways does the industry of music challenge your spirituality or faith?

Music is amazing. Working in the music industry is tough. I think it tests every musician’s faith in everything. I feel like everyone I know that decides they want to be a professional musician has had those “Am I doing this right?” and “Will I ever make it as far as I want to go with this?” moments.  I still don’t know with any certainty that music will be a career that I can survive on without needing a day job. It is a huge part of my spirituality so I’ll always be creating and performing music regardless of how successful I am with the business side of it. I also feel there have been many times that spirit has communicated directly to me to keep going. Like it’s just begging me to try as hard as I possibly can and it’s got my back and that’s why I still have faith that I can accomplish my long term goals as a musician.

Are there any musicians whose spirituality/faith you admire, and feel empowered as a result of?

There are two musicians that come to mind.  Anthony Thogmartin and Dixon’s Violin. When Anthony released his first Earthcry album there was a strong focus on the Solfeggio Frequencies being the foundation for each track. This taught me to really think about the way different frequencies affect our spirit and the experiences we have. Dixon is very vocal in his performances about us being spirits having a human experience and very encouraging that the audience does what they feel most authentically called to do as a response to his music. I think it really helps people to realize that all of the ways that we chose to express ourselves or to connect to music/spirit are equally valid.  

Do you have the tendency to use the word God or Universe? Do you have different perspectives of the two?

By my personal definition I would the use word “God”  in reference to a specific, conscious entity and “The Universe” or “Spirit” would refer to the entire interconnected omni-present consciousnesses. I use the word God when I know that the person I’m speaking to defines that omni-presence with the word God. The force also works for me. I’m flexible. In my own personal definition they are all talking about the same thing.  A greater omnipresent consciousness that all of creation are a physical manifestation of. My perspective on the word God is a little different. I use it to refer to specific types of gods. In polytheistic cultures such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Native Americans there were many gods ruling over many aspects of creation. I think every musician, myself included, hopes to be blessed by the music gods.

Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound. Peep Drew covering Twiddle’s “When it Rains it Pours” on an Indo Board – whoa. 

Catch Drew in action next week with Dixon’s Violin at Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids!

Follow Drew 

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