Kindled by an awareness of divine guidance and conscious connection with spirit, new age singer/songwriter and Music Medicine Woman Kimberly Haynes delivers her debut album, Awaken Me, which brings forth an uplifting invitation to discover a sacred space deep within the heart. The spectrum of her eclectic and enlightening vocal performances evokes both the tenderness of a mother’s touch and the ancient feminine power of a tribal priestess singing her truth for the betterment of the community. The album, subtitled “Songs From the Heart of a Seeker,” is a musical journey of discovery, healing, personal growth and devotion.
“My songs are my prayers,” explains Haynes. “It is truly a privilege to carry those prayers into the world. It is my hope that they will be a blessing to all who hear them. So I raise my voice in song to awaken a place deep within myself and in others where we can collectively begin to remember our own sacred hearts, our sacred connection to Creation, and the sacredness in each other.”
See MusicMedicinewoman.com for samples
This is harmonious music that blends new age, world-fusion, gentle folk and soft pop into a well-crafted production of 11 devotional songs cultivated by accomplished producer and multi-instrumentalist David Vito Gregoli (a recording artist in his own right). Gregoli co-produced and co-arranged with Haynes. On the recording Gregoli performs on a vast array of instruments such as guitars (steel and nylon-string acoustic, electric, 6 and 12-string, and the South American charango), bass, mandolin, sitar, banjo, piano, electric piano, synth, udu, drums, percussion, bells, Native American flute and other flutes, gopichand and kalimba. Haynes additionally adds backing vocals, hand drums and percussion.
The album also unifies brilliant special guest performances by some distinguished and well-respected musicians such as pianist Peter Kater, vocalists Tina Malia and Ken Stacey, drummer/percussionist Christo Pellani, violinist Jesus Florido, tabla player Cooper Madison Lanier, dulcimer performer Joellen Lapidus, players of Native American flutes Gareth Laffely and Al Jewer, accordionist Andy Mitran, didjeridu player Stephen Kent, hang-drummer Aeb Byrne, frame-drum/percussionist Byron Metcalf, vocalist Aeone and others. The result is a rich tapestry of sound combining ethnic instruments from around the world with traditional Western ones to conceive a true world-fusion flavor.
The focus of the album is the pure, sensitive, spiritual voice of Kimberly Haynes. Her major influences include Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell, Alison Krauss and Sarah McLachlan. Haynes’ voice showcases her original music and inspirational, poetic lyrics. Each song shares a unique story born from a life of tremendous trials and blessed tribulations, all flowing from a heart expressing love of music and life. “I write and sing from the depths of my own life experience. It’s a powerful thing to do this from a place of personal truth,” states Haynes.
More information on Kimberly Haynes and her music is available at her website (MusicMedicineWoman.com). Her album is available as a CD or as digital download tracks at a variety of online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.
“The title of the album, Awaken Me, comes from the song of the same name and seemed appropriate because it is such an important starting point,” says Haynes. “Each of us has the daily opportunity to awaken to our personal destiny — to who we truly are and what we each have to give, and to the sacredness of both our individual and our collective journey. This song was born out of my yearning for clarity for the betterment of my own life and all those I touch. It is a universal need. The song ‘My Heart Knows The Way’ is about finding my own way, my own truth and personal freedom, and to live by that truth. It’s about recognizing that we are all free to do that because deep inside each of our hearts is the knowledge and the courage we need to meet every moment of our lives authentically.”
In the “Great Divide,” Haynes sings about the distance she felt when performing for an audience, and how that changed when she began doing personalized sound healing and recognized that connecting with other hearts is the goal. “To touch the heart is the miracle and where all separation dissolves.” Similarly Haynes wrote the song “Light Of My Soul” when she had a powerful spiritual insight. “The truth is in everyone’s heart. Everything we need is inside of us, and we all have access to it through daily practice, connecting with our Spirit, with the Creator and with all life-forms around us. It is an on-going process of awakening, healing, strengthening and fine-tuning our direction.”
Other songs with similar themes include “The Pathless Path” (which contains the line “in my heart is the holy spark”), “The Dream” (“You are not alone; Grace will guide you; Faith protects you; Love is in you”), and “The Jewel” (“don’t let the moment slip by, the jewel is waiting inside”).
Her path to music started early. A young Kimberly (adopted when she was three days old) was featured in gospel church choirs from the moment she was old enough to participate, and began studying voice, guitar and songwriting in her early teens which lead to placement in a gifted music program in high school. By the age of 17 she began studio singing and had been featured in television appearances and radio interviews within her Christian community. Her formative years paved the path for a powerful journey deep into self-discovery, greatly influenced by tragedies and loss, addictions and recoveries, joys, wonders, and victories. “Having risen from my own ashes multiple times, it is my mission to carry music of the heart into the world. My life and my music are richer and deeper for the challenges I have overcome, and my songs are a reflection of my personal journey from brokenness to wholeness,” she conveys.
Motivated by fond childhood memories of being mesmerized by the talents of musical greats such as Doris Day, Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, she shifted into the world of jazz and big band music. Kimberly developed an extensive performance background in her early twenties as she took part in a multitude of recording projects as well as performing in Japan, Denmark and a variety of Los Angeles nightclubs. She attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood to study jazz vocals, vocal improvisation and songwriting. Eventually Haynes became a sought-after vocal coach herself. She often composes on guitar.
In 1999, Haynes was guided to connect with Spirit in a deeper way. She married and started a family. In revisiting the gift of being part of a spiritual community, she wanted to give her own children a container in which to discern Spirit. In 2004, she began an apprenticeship as a cantorial soloist and started leading the prayer services alongside the rabbi for a local synagogue, which she now continues to do once or twice a month. Kimberly shares, “It was here that I first learned what it means to be the one who raises their voice on behalf of the community, inviting the Divine into their midst.”
Haynes then began 15 years of intense study of sacred music from around the world. She simultaneously completed five years of sound healing apprenticeship, while discovering the world of Peruvian shamanic practices and ceremony in the process. Through this discipline, she spent five years in her own deep healing process and learned to use her voice along with sacred instruments with the intention to facilitate healing for others. This powerful work led to the beginning of a multi-faceted private practice, combining voice lessons with shamanic practices and private healing sessions. The past ten years she has helped her husband with an illness and they explored alternative healing through plant-based medicines and supplements, diet, sound healing and shamanic energy healing.
Whether Kimberly is leading prayer services for her community, facilitating voice workshops and sacred ceremonies, performing at musical venues, or simply gathering her family and friends for a sacred meal, it’s all done with a fierce passion and commitment to connecting with Spirit and with the hearts of those present.
Radio Promotion/Publicity: The Creative Service Company * thecreativeservicecompany.com