Bestselling author Deepak Chopra recently teamed up with Grammy winners Paul Avgerinos and Kabir Sehgal (also a bestselling author) to create an artistic project around immigration. HOME: Where Everyone is Welcome combines poetry and music in a heartfelt portrayal of the immigrant experience in America. Parvati Magazine’s music editor Rishi Deva spoke with the three artists about their collaboration.
Parvati Magazine: Who came up with the idea to write a book of poetry about inspiring immigrants in America?
Paul Avgerinos: Not only are the three of us immigrants or the sons of immigrants, we’re also artists. We wanted to use our creativity to help restore balance to the cultural conversation around immigration. In our conversations, the three of us initially thought about writing a more narrative, prose-driven work. But we quickly realized that poetry would be the best vehicle because there is a lyricism to this artform. With poetry, you can say more by writing less.
PMAG: How did you decide on an album as the vehicle to share this poetry?
PA: Diversity is the hallmark of our country. And we wanted not only the poems to reflect this diversity, but also the artforms that we used to express our ideas. We created an interdisciplinary work to reflect the multi-disciplinary contributions of immigrants and their families to our beloved country.
PMAG: Deepak, this is not your first time in the music studio. You have credits including a song with Demi Moore that reached #10 on Billboard. What inspired you to go into the studio and collaborate with Paul and Kabir?
Deepak Chopra: Both Paul and Kabir have unique talents. Kabir has a track record for creating music that speaks directly to the times in which we are living. I worked with him on our last production, Presidential Suite, which turned presidential speeches into music. Paul makes uplifting and beautiful music that resonates in a powerful way. The idea of working with Kabir and Paul was very appealing.
PMAG: Paul and Kabir, what source of inspiration arose in you to collaborate with Deepak?
PA: I was inspired to work with Deepak on HOME because it involved telling another side of his story. Deepak has lived the American Dream, coming to America as a young adult, and become a pioneer of his field. Being able to translate his story into the broader message of HOME has been a wonderful experience. I feel like we are kindred spirits because he is an immigrant and I am the son of one.
Kabir Sehgal: I’m the son of immigrants from India, and I grew up hearing about Deepak Chopra from my parents. As Indian Americans, we admired him because he represented our community. So it’s been a “full circle” for me, first admiring Deepak, and now working with and learning from him.
PMAG: While each song stands on its own, the album feels like it takes the listener on a journey. What does this journey mean to you?
DC: The journey is about first being at home in your mind, and as a state of being. Only then can we create a greater consciousness of being kind and generous to others.
PA: I think about my father’s journey to America. I think this project brings honor to him and the millions more who came to America.
KS: To pay respects to my parents, who left India at a young age, and they found a new home in America. HOME is about sharing more about their journey too.
PMAG: Each song is inspired by uniquely famous people like Audrey Hepburn, Yo-Yo-Ma and Albert Einstein. What is the common thread between them?
PA: We feature immigrants, their children, and visitors to America on HOME. We picked a diverse group to reflect the many roads that lead to our country.
PMAG: When can people purchase the record?
PA: You can pre-order today anywhere music is sold online. It will be available on August 22, 2017.
PMAG: Any parting words you would like to say to our readers?
PA: We hope that HOME makes you feel more at home. And that it presents a fresh breeze of kindness and generosity towards to everyone.
Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, is an Indian immigrant and American author, lecturer and music composer who has contributed to seven albums and written over eighty-five books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times best sellers. One of his songs, Do You Love Me featuring Demi Moore, hit #10 on Billboard and remained on the chart for thirteen weeks.
Kabir Sehgal is a first generation American, and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of eight books. He is also a contributor to Fortune and Harvard Business Review. A multi-GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Award winning producer, he has collaborated with jazz artists such as Chucho Valdés, Arturo O’Farrill, and Ted Nash.
Paul Avgerinos is a first generation American, whose father Costas emigrated from Greece to the US in 1938. He is a GRAMMY winning artist, composer, producer, and engineer with 23 critically acclaimed New Age albums to his credit. He is active in creating scores for a variety of television shows and has also collaborated with Jewel, Run DMC, and Willie Nelson.