MC Yogi is a talented up and coming MC who will be dropping his sophomore album, Pilgrimage, June 19th. Yogi is not only an MC, but also a yoga instructor in California. He has a great past - he dropped out of high school and became a graffiti artist, and then became a student of Hindu philosophy, a yoga teacher, and of course, a noted MC. The first single off his album is titled "Give Love" and it already has over 200,000 views on YouTube. He will also be headlining at this summer's Wanderlust Festival. Check out his biggest inspirations and his back story below!
AM: How did you get started in the music business?
MC Yogi: When I was thirteen I started writing rhymes and performing at house parties
After graduating from high school, (which took awhile because I was kicked out of 4 schools), I started performing at clubs and youth centers. When I discovered yoga I started incorporating the wisdom I was learning, and started telling stories and ancient Myths over break beats. Eventually I convinced an indie record label from Boulder to get behind it and we cut a record of it.
AM: How has your Hindu background inspired your music? And your background in yoga?
MC Yogi: I've always felt attracted to Eastern Philosophy. Hinduism and Buddhism in particular, but also Sufism, Judaism, Orthodox Christianity and so on. In my experience they're all referring to the same essential Truth. The One Light that encompasses everything. Yoga for me has helped to reveal and deepen my own personal experience of it without the middle men and all the dogma.
AM: Who are your biggest music inspirations?
MC Yogi: George Harrison and seeing his relationship with Ravi Shankar, I love the way East and West come together blending old with the new. I also love Bob Marley & The Wailers, Lee Scratch Perry, John Lennon and Yoko, The Doors, the list runs deep from ska to hip hop, raga's to reggae, old school to now. I'm an avid student of sound design. The two people who have influenced me as an MC are Bruce Lee & Muhammed Ali, Strike like a tiger, sting like a bee. I love the idea of being like water and allowing the mind to become fluid and transparent, when I'm performing.
AM: How would you describe your music?
MC Yogi: A mash up of cultures, amplified by electronic music, big bass and bright lights. Striving to push the envelope while maintaining a strong root in hip hop, reggae and dub
AM: What can you tell us about your upcoming album, Pilgrimage?
MC Yogi: Pilgrimage is a journey into the Heart of India, a quest to experience the essence of yoga through sound. It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life, climbing to the top of the Sacred mountain Arunacahala, which has been worshipped for thousands of years by an unbroken stream of pilgrims.
One of the coolest things about the mountain is that every year pilgrims carry pots of oil and pour it onto the peak, at which point the whole mountain is lit like a candle while hundreds and thousands of pilgrims
circling the base. It's like Indiana Jones meets Close encounters in the third eye, plus Christmas, Hanukkah and burning man combined.
AM: Are there any artists that you are dying to collaborate with?
MC Yogi: If I have to die to work with them, then I'd say John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison & Michael Jackson. But if I am blessed to stay alive then I'd say Rick Rubin, The Beastie Boys and Lee Scratch Perry among others.
AM: You will be headlining at the Wanderlust Festival this fall...what can you tell us about that?
MC Yogi: Wanderlust is an amazing gathering, generally set in a the mountains. People come together from around the globe to practice yoga and hear great music. One year I was lucky enough to open for Michael Franti and another year for Moby, this year Thievery Corporation and Ziggy Marley will be there. I'm looking forward to performing tracks from my new album Pilgrimage.
AM: What is the best advice regarding your career that you have received?
MC Yogi: Follow the Love.