Artist as Instrument: Esoteric Rock and Roll

Ed KowalczykArt & Creativity, Audio, Conversations, Creative, Musical, Perspectives Leave a Comment

“Music as a practice of feeling—of losing oneself, losing the search—definitely saved my life. So I’ve always figured that if it could lead me there, then it could help other people.”Ed Kowalczyk

Ed Kowalczyk was the lead singer/songwriter of the now-disbanded rock group Live, whose sixth studio album, Birds of Pray, was enjoying enormous success—at the time of this interview, the single “Heaven” had been played on national radio over 250,000 times.

Over the course of their career, Live has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including two #1 albums on the Billboard charts (Throwing Copper, Secret Samadhi) and five #1 singles. While this would be an astonishing feat for any band, what makes Live’s accomplishment unique is their commitment to music inspired by esoteric, spiritual understanding.

Ed mentions that he now at the point in his life where every time he picks up the guitar, the practice is to touch the Source, to give back to it, and to make the reality of One-ness apparent to him, the band, the listeners. He discusses the road he has traveled to get to that point and the influence that U2, Krishnamurti, Ken, and Adi Da have had on his life and music. Stuart, a distinguished singer/songwriter in his own right, with eleven albums to his name, is fully conversant with the challenges of integrating spirituality with the music business and adds his own insights to what it means to be an instrument of the Divine.

Both Ed and Stu are new fathers, and for them rock and roll, Spirit, and their families are all part of the same movement; part of the same life-process. In Ed’s case, take the single “Heaven,” which is a deeply touching song about how his daughter is a direct reminder of ever-present Spirit.

Quite simply, Ed is one of the most visible and experienced of integral artists, and an invaluable contributor to the ongoing dialogue about what being an integral artist really means. We hope you enjoy this inside look into the source of Live’s incredible synthesis of Spirit-in-Action and world-class rock and roll.

Ed Kowalczyk

About Ed Kowalczyk

Ed Kowalczyk is the lead singer for the band Live. He counts among his influences the writer Jiddu Krishnamurti and integral thinker Ken Wilber, and his lyrics reflect his mystical and spiritual tendency. He has influenced bands such as Daughtry, Matchbox Twenty and Breaking Benjamin.

Stuart Davis

About Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis is a longtime friend of Integral Life and Ken Wilber, and has acted as guest host for many Integral Life dialogues over the last decade. With fifteen full-length albums to his credit, Stuart has carved out a unique wavelength in the musical spectrum. Taking the topics of God, sex and death, and crafting them into inimitable pop songs with lyrical flair and unforgettable hooks, Stuart also works in television, film, painting, and books.

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