What is your morning ritual to cultivate clarity and grace (self care must do’s)?
Well technically there is no time for major self care when I first get up unless I were to wake up much earlier. I value my sleep so I choose not to. I have a family and my priority in the morning is getting my son ready and off to school. I do usually have to do some kind of practice to feel like me. Most mornings after school drop off it is an asana practice or a hike up a nearby mountain. Its simple and attainable and both are vehicles for the breath so I try not to stress myself with ideals of an even more romantic morning self care ritual.
Who do you believe is your spirit animal and why? (optional)
Hmmm. In all my years no one has ever asked me what my spirit animal is. I don’t give much thought to this either. I will say I am very much like a lioness. I protect and guard. I give fierce love. On good days I feel like royalty and generally I am comfortable with my strength and power. I have had many brave days where I face fears and challenges and with bravery I also know when to walk away. When I am me, I don’t lurk in shadows and I feel no shame to hide. Lionesses roar and well we all know I know how to do that on many levels. No matter the sound it all comes from a deep place of love. Actually come to think of it, I have a tattoo of a lion on my leg I had done when I was 19. Now sometimes I feel like a bunny or a bear and most recently a sloth so the above take with a grain of salt.
What is the true essence of your gift, your voice, “Marti Nikko”?
Now what is essence really?! Nature or quality that determines character? I don’t know that I have an answer for this. My voice is exactly that… my voice. I make art with it. It is my art. Now people listen and it causes them to feel something. To feel some kind of emotion that makes their body feel a certain way and even perhaps in that moment of listening, see a certain way. Those things are then projected back to me as that quality. You begin to hear reviews and friends and fans give a description of the essence of something that belongs to me. Nothing negative about that process and projections. Just the way it goes. The moment I call my essence something I have created a box for it. I don’t need a box for my voice. It can get tricky using it, creating with it and sharing it as is. Even in the deepest creative times, what comes out can be surprising, exciting, shocking, disappointing or even hard to accept. Its best I keep a no boundary policy or wind up locked down. That has happened before…that means no creating or sharing. I want to keep creating and sharing. I am most happy creating and sharing.
Name one muse that continues to inspire you?
Drez. I know cliche… He inspires me. No lie about that. Not because we are together and all the magic we create together but because of his incredible work ethic and passion for what he does. He really puts his whole heart into every piece of art. Every event he gives it all away. He lays it right down in front of you and you get to be the one who chooses to take it or leave it. Its mind-blowing that he hasn’t given up or wanted to quit. I see what he goes through and it isn’t all laughs and joy. It can be a painful process too. He has been raw to the bone before and over and over again to do what he loves. Through his dedication to his art he manages to somehow touch us all again and again. He has to make music. It is life.
What makes you feel Graceful and Victorious?
When I give and love I feel graceful and victorious. When I am creating and sharing I feel graceful and victorious. When I can flow through the day using clean words and patience I feel graceful and victorious. When I move and chant I feel graceful and victorious.
How do you wish listeners to feel when they hear your music?
This kind of ties in with the earlier essence question. It is too much for my brain and heart to wish for listeners to feel a certain thing while listening. That's a set up for disappointment and heartbreak. Do I hope people like it? Enjoy it and feel it? YAASSS of course I do. I just can’t get into the details of a wish on how I want the sound to be interpreted. That isn’t something I can control and definitely not something you want to get caught up in while you are creating your art. OMG if I was worried while recording or writing I would be frozen with fear. I have experienced this in fact so I know it to be true. The artist is only responsible for the creating of the art and the possibility of sharing it. The interpretation falls on the viewer of said art.
What are your rituals in regards to the New Moon and Full Moon phases?
Occasionally I will write out intentions or write down ideas about what I see for myself and my family. I might go out and admire the fullness and beauty of a full moon or stand in the dark on the darkest nights without light and breathe. I don’t have regular serious rituals though. I am usually reminded that it is even happening because I saw a flash on instagram or an email about a moon event. I do see the massive movement that is happening around the world that revolves around ritual and moon cycles. What I love the most is the community of women and women creating community. This is so special. Women are strong and we need to be reminded of that but we also need to be reminded that we are not alone.
What is your current Mantra, Prayer or Affirmation that you pull up for support? (when you feel lack, depleted or low)
Om Mani Padme Hum I have used probably the most this year. It has just seemed appropriate. I have recently had to chant Saraswati’s name more regularly as well as various Krishna mantras. Mantra is a huge part of my living practice. To be clear no one mantra does it all for me. All the names of God are names that I chant. All of reality. All grace. All love.
What are you really excited about for 2017 and what were you grateful for in 2016?
I had a challenging start for 2016 and I was so grateful to have my husband, family and friends by my side to help me and support me. I am grateful everyday that I am still creating and sharing. I am excited to be releasing my next album with Drez in 2017 should all flow well and it looks like we are getting close. So so exciting!