My Journey

From Morbidly Obese to Healing with Music

I have a calling to help fellow artists and music-lovers.

 My life has had its ups and downs - I grew up on 4 countries and 3 continents. Never 'belonged'.  

Music was the only constant.  

As a teenager, I struggled with morbid obesity, a heart disease that almost killed me, eating disorders, and suicidal mental health.  

I transitioned from that destroyed kid, to a confident adult who lives and works independently as a professional artist & educator between global metropolitans today.  

And music was always my guiding light on the journey. It literally saved my life.  

But I'm not here to play savior.  

Instead, I focus on using an accumulated skill set combining music lessons and
artist mentorship with modalities like yoga, movement, psychotherapy, critical thinking, and authentic relating, to help artists like you find alignment.  

And navigate your artistic journey fulfillingly on your own terms.

Rewind ⏪

As a 7-month-old baby, I left my birth city of Calcutta, India.

My parents award-winning academics who had moved to India as refugees as children after their families had lost everything during the British partition of The Raj. Now traveling doctors who were trying to rebuild their lives.

For the first nine years of my life, we constantly traveled and lived between the UK, Germany, and North Africa.

My father eventually, decided to move the family to India, exhausted after years of dealing with the glass ceiling that seemed to be the only option available to people of color in the West for his generation.

So, I returned to my ancestral country as a pre-adolescent, feeling like a complete alien.

My first stereo system.

How it all began

The transition was not an easy one for me. In fact it never really happenned.

In London, I had been labelled a 'gifted child', being promoted 2 grades above my age (2 instead of 3 cos my mum didn't want me around giant classmates).

My teachers loved me. I had friends, family, community. It was the first true home I had found.

All of that changed in Calcutta. 

I barely spoke the local language, struggled with the education system (which till date remains controversial). I did not agree with all local customs and missed my old life.

I'd thought we were going on vacation. And overnight my whole life seemed to have disappeared. 

Moreover a kid with a British accent in post-colonial Calcutta was the perfect target for bullies of all shapes and sizes, from students to teachers alike. I didn't know what hit me.

Within months I went from 'gifted child' to 'troublesome child'. And got demoted at school.

Me in my schoolyard in Leytonstone, East London.

By the time I was 14 years old, music was the nucleus of my life. It felt like the only thing I wasn't a disaster at.

At 17 I told my music-teacher I would be a professional musician.  

There were no fireworks.
No hugs.
No high 5's.
No 'heck-yeah's.  
No 'you got this'.  

There wasn't really a response.

So I had to evoke one. Ask for help.

I asked him again.

''What now?''. ''What do I need to do?''.  

This is the sobering reply I got:

''...no matter what''.

This was not New York, Nashville, Berlin, Mumbai, or even London.
 
This was the long-forgotten ex-British, Indian world metropolitan. In pre-internet India. 

One of the first 5 cities in the world to have electricity.

A city that used to be home to mystics, poets, and scientists. But one left in shambles by colonialism and the west was now labelling a 'black hole' by western mainstream media.

Mostly populated by nostalgic  semi-communists paralyzed in a time-warp of post-colonial upheaval.  

And I was growing into a morbidly obese kid battling critical mental health, a heart disease that left me in bed for a year, feeling stuck in a city against his will.  

I found a ticket in music. The only thing I felt like wasn't a complete disaster at.

My mum and I in Central London, in the 80's. We both really felt at home there. She was so heart-broken to leave she's never gone back since.

Me in Calcutta. All of 16.

Calcutta.

When I had asked my mentor on how to pursue a career in music, I didn't get a lot of help.

I had kinda run away from home. I wasn't talking to my parents and avoiding my (then) girlfriend.  And the one guy I thought was on my side gave me something vague and cryptic.    

 '..no matter what'.

I didn't even get a specifc 'what'.

Or a 'how'.  
 
Forget a 'why'.  

Just a 'no matter what'.  

A poor man's version of 'Unconditional Love'.  

Except, as I found out later, unconditional love for art, does not equal a successful career

Over the next 20 years, I played the quintessential immigrant who took off with 2 suitcases, ate into his mum's tiny college fund to invest in conservatory education, learned a new language, and dealt with toxic pedagogy that almost broke me.

My extended family was spread out all over the world, and I joined them in Germany.

My  European debut.
Jazzhaus Freiburg, Germany 2000.
I remember thinking ''...omg Miles Davs played on this stage! Do I deserve to be here?''

Frankfurt Germany: My arte Debut at the 70th anniversary Deutsches Jazz Festival. L-R: Jonathan Cuniado, Torsten De Winkel, Karim Ziad, Kai Eckhardt, Gwilym Simcock,   Rhani Krija, Kike Perdomo, Moi.  I used to watch these icons on TV in India.  


I took sabbaticals to play back-breaking residencies and tours for a start capital I used to build a six-figure music studio, released albums, got nominated for a few important awards, and eventually got invited for citizenship in one of the most powerful and socio-culturally controversial countries in Europe (Germany), where I also counted as 'Second-generation', thanks to family who had moved there in the 50's.

 I went on to collaborate with grammy-award winning artists and some of the most globally respected names in music.

By this time I had been mentored by a series of iconic musicians like Kenny Werner, Kai Eckhardt,  Dr John Matthias, and the late Gary Barone.  

And I'd started to build a reputation for myself.

Rolling Stone Magazine described me as someone that ‘...personifies multiculturalism’.  

Time Out Mumbai referred to me as ‘’...amongst a handful of Indian (origin) musicians who don't have to play sitars or tablas'' 

I'd also gone and upped my academic game and earned myself a Masters Degree in Music in my childhood hometown at the London College of Music. 

Moi at my graduation ceremony, London.

Most importantly though, I successfully regained my health and fostered a positive relationship with my body by immersing myself in various disciplines such as yoga, strength training, martial arts, and psychotherapy.

 Recognizing the profound impact of these practices on an artist's journey, I pursued certifications as a yoga instructor, personal trainer, and psychotherapist to deepen my knowledge and skills in these areas.

Pre-concert work out, El Hierro, Spanish Canary Islands.

Photo Shoot: Mannheim, Germany. 

Epilogue: Time Travel 🛸

Back in 17 yr-old-me Calcutta though, in front of my mentor, I was making a promise to myself, as I swallowed my tears.  

I knew I was in.

But all I had was this one mantra: 'no matter what'.

It was terrifying and confusing.

I made a promise to myself that day.  

If I ever 'made it', I would do my bit to help others make it too.

Me at 15, Calcutta. I'd already started working as a studio musician by now.

That day has come. 

Collaborators in Education: Some people I Have Worked With

Dr. Adam Greig Introduction: KM Music Conservatory, Chennai, India.

Why am I doing this?

People say teachers are 'failed musicians'.

I say there are too many failed musicians because too many musicians believe that.

Where I come from, the ultimate purpose of an artist is to serve.
Not just the art, but those who are part of the collective who want to serve it too.

'Dharma'.

You don't have to learn the hard way I did.

Learning doesn't have to be as difficult as my own experience.

At the beginning of my journey, my only guide was having a "no matter what" attitude.

Now, with more knowledge and understanding, I know better.

I aim to ensure that you don't have to go through the unnecessary struggles I did.

My art is intertwined with the ecosystem it exists in.

So if you get better, so do I.

Want to know more?