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As a kid, I played my music within the Baha’i community—but then I grew up, had a global hit, and started dealing with contracts, lawyers and problems.
Since childhood, I accompanied my father on the keyboard at every Baha’i event. All of the meetings we would go to, often missing out on school because we were always traveling for the Faith, were my way of serving the institutions, using music as a tool to bring the community together in unity and joy. It was a bounty and an honor for my father and I to do this—and it meant that my father and I have a strong bond that comes from serving this way together throughout my entire life.
But then I grew up. I learned, as a Baha’i, that working at the elite level in the music business is not easy. If you’re not careful, the business can craft you to be the complete opposite to what the Baha’i faith teaches—because it tends to emphasize the material rather than the spiritual. Working for many years in Australia and also America to build my name and experiences, I wanted to be able to take my music to a higher International level—but I didn’t want to give in to the pressures the business brought along with it, either.
After many years of hard work, in 2012 I finally signed with Sony Music Australia and released my first international single featuring Snoop Dogg. As a recording artist and as a music producer, I felt blessed that the song, “Walking On Air,” hit number 1 in several countries in Europe. That success gave me some international credibility, but with all the success came many hard times, which the music business inevitably brings. As they say, more success more problems…
At the peak of all that, I began to feel a little burnt out, due to spending more time with my head in contracts and talking to lawyers, rather than creating the music I love. In the phrase “music business,” I started to feel like the second word had definitely begun to take precedence.
A few years later, after coming across many people and life experiences dealing with music, I decided I wanted to use my art, once again, for the Baha’i cause. Everything I ever did for the Faith was a great experience, and it always gave me a sense of joy and a feeling of deep spiritual satisfaction. So I decided that now, having a well-known name in Europe after the success of my single, I would try and use my name to bring top artists to collaborate with me on Baha’i-inspired songs.
So now I’ve released my first Baha’i single and a new music video, which features the Australian/South African popular singer and artist Nathaniel Willemse singing a prayer by Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. Called “Power Over All Things,” we composed the song in honor of the 200-year bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, which will happen on October 21, 2017.
Inspired by the hopeful vision revealed in the Baha’i writings, the song sets this wonderful prayer to music:
O my God! I ask Thee, by Thy most glorious Name, to aid me in that which will cause the affairs of Thy servants to prosper, and Thy cities to flourish. Thou, indeed, hast power over all things! – Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 61.
Nathaniel, originally from South Africa, rose to success as a pop singer in Australia. He chose this project because he felt connected to the beauty of the words in the prayer, and the relevance of its message for the world today. “I feel,” Nathaniel said, “that this is a very powerful prayer for aid and assistance, and in this much sensitive time around the world we really need more of these powerful words available.”
I hope you like our song.