UTG INTERVIEW: Leo Drioli

Leo Drioli

UTG is happy to bring you this exclusive interview with enlightened author and musician, Leo Drioli.

Amongst his various works, Leo is in the process of releasing his debut album this year and he took some time from his busy schedule to chat with us a bit about the album, his upcoming performance for the Dalai Lama, The Beatles, and much more. So read through the break and get acquainted with Leo Drioli.

When did you first find an interest in music and how did you get started in creating it?
My world totally exploded when I was 12 and heard my first Beatles album. A friend at school asked me what records I had at home, and he jokingly said “You probably only have your parents’ Dean Martin records.” He was right. So I agreed to visit him at home to listen to his record collection. I clearly remember the moment when he dropped the stylus down onto “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” from Sgt. Peppers — a whole new world opened up for me. Soon after, I bought every Beatles record, got myself a guitar and started writing my own tunes.

Beyond music, you have a lot of involvement in other areas of art as well. What can you tell us about what you do?
Everything I do rotates around the theme of Awakening, and living an authentic and conscious life. My spiritual journey started in my late teens after having an out-of-body experience. I’ve been a meditator for 35 years. I am a published author with Every Moment’s a Miracle. I am co-editor of Innerself Newspaper, a national spiritual/holistic paper distributed around Australia. I also teach meditation and run workshops and retreats on Awakening with my wife Enza Vita, who is also a spiritual teacher. So our focus is simply being vehicles for Spirit, in whatever form it needs to take. And by that I mean really honoring the creative or evolutionary impulse that moves through us all.

You have an album coming out this year from what I understand. Is this your first musical release? What details can you share about it?
Yes, the album is called Let Your Spirit Sing. I’m really excited about this project, putting so much love and joy into it with my musical collaborator/producer, Dino Jag — it’s filled with songs that point inward, where all our innate wisdom emanates from. The album is a celebration of the joy and love — and peace and bliss that is available to all those who dig deep enough into their existence. Every song came about through an encounter with self or source, or whatever else you choose to call that great mystery that sustains and maintains all of life. Each song offered me a gift of insight when it was written, and I’m simply passing it on here, hoping the music will resonate.

Would you say that “Give It Your Love” is pretty indicative of the general themes to be found on the forthcoming album?
Yes, the album’s central message is that we each live a precious number of years — Have we stopped to ask just why we are here? What it’s all about? The songs are simply the responses to my heartfelt longing to see past the veil, to really know who I am and what this life is all about. Yet, the songs are encased in the simple pop song form — obviously inspired by the great masters: Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.

And you’ll be performing that song at the Dalai Lama conference in June, correct? Pretty incredible honor. How did you land that gig?
You know, I actually didn’t do anything. I had a stand for our newspaper in Adelaide, at a Mind Body Spirit Festival and one of the organizers for the Australian Dalai Lama tour walked past as a video clip of “Give It Your Love” was being played as part of a display — she stopped, looked, listened, loved it, and invited me immediately to perform at the event. Yes, a real honor.

Do you expect the opportunity to affect your career in any way? Quite the promotion for your album coming out at the least.
Everything that’s happened so far has simply unfolded and I absolutely trust the process. I discovered something many years ago that invites us to live life in true surrender to what is. In truth, as much we’d like to take credit for it all, we are not really the doers here, but the instruments of the flow. I found out that if you live life from the following principle: “There’s nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to seek, nothing to know — Just be Here.” If you actually live from this, as this, then everything is always taken care of, flowing from one moment to the next in trust and surrender to all that is. So, I am open to a beautiful future gracefully blossoming up ahead, but I’m not in any way projecting outcomes. I’d rather allow for life’s passage to continue to transport and support me as it always has and does anyway.

What experience do you hope listeners will gain from “Give It Your Love” and the new album?
I have absolutely no expectations, but maybe some of the songs will inspire and uplift, as I’ve been inspired and uplifted.

What influences have you found to be most important to you that help shape what your creations become?
Well, I’ve already mentioned the powerful influence the Beatles had on me. Both their music and their part in bringing Eastern spirituality to the West. They had a pivotal role to play in opening up the consciousness to the spiritual realms back in the 60s.

I’d like to share a story here:

I met George Harrison one night in the early eighties in the dream state. He took me across to a huge book… turning each page I saw it was all written in Sanskrit, each letter shining in light and sound… I didn’t understand it intellectually but got it totally in the heart, recognizing the ancient wisdom as the path I was on. Filled with joy, I asked George, “Are you also on the same path I am travelling?”

He replied, “There’s only one path, and we are all on it.”

Later that morning, as I was at work on my job as a printer in Sydney, I suddenly heard “My Sweet Lord” come over the radio, which triggered the memory of that night’s dream, thinking it to be an amazing coincidence. When the song ended, the DJ announced that George Harrison had been spotted having breakfast in a café in Sydney that morning! I had no idea he was in town, yet the dream manifested. How do you view this? Simply as coincidence or possibly an example of the field of unity we all co-inhabit?

And those guys continue to inspire me today. Of course there have been many other influences such as Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Oasis, Paul Kelly, Leonard Cohen — I also love spiritual chants from all traditions. If the music has in some way tapped universal consciousness, I enjoy it.

As you are busy with other endeavors beyond music, how much focus do you think you’ll have on this music project from now on?
Well, I’ve made a full-hearted commitment to give it all I’ve got, and I’m happy to continue giving — we’ll see what happens up ahead. I’ve written a lot of songs over the years, and I’m still writing, so I can see myself having a lot of fun up ahead. Anything’s possible.

Do you foresee any touring plans in the works for support of your album coming out?
Yes I do. I’m looking at getting a band together soon, but it may not take the shape of a normal tour. Dino and I both see some interesting possibilities up ahead based on both the music and the message coming together and being presented in a new way.

What advice could you give to anyone that is interested in getting into music but is already balancing a lot of creative outlets?
Follow your heart. Do what you love and you simply can’t go wrong. Time is not the issue here. If we do what we love, we will also find a balance with our other responsibilities in life. Every moment truly is another opportunity to be present and be the instrument. It’s amazing how much more time and space opens up for us when we are living life fully and consciously. Life is an amazing adventure. In truth, we all can do it — the question is: How willing are we to face the fear and move forward into the Joy? It’s as simple as that. If we are courageous enough to “Follow our Bliss,” as Joseph Campbell puts it, then nothing can stop us from manifesting all our dreams.

Give it your love.

 

Written and conducted by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter


Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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