With the release of her latest uplifting album, Deva Premal is on a mission to encourage healing through the power of mantra. “DEVA” is a beautiful collection for yoga, meditation or simply relaxation. This month, the chart-topping singer speaks to Parvati Magazine about her transformative musical journey.
Parvati Magazine: Deva, originally you were shy about singing and only sang backup to Miten’s tracks. But all that changed one day, with one mantra. What happened to bring you forward to be a lead singer?
Deva Premal: Yes, it totally changed when I rediscovered the Gayatri Mantra. My parents had chanted the Gayatri to me while I was still in the womb, and then it was my bedtime lullaby as a child. But I dropped chanting it as I became a teenager, and it was not until I heard it at a music festival many years later that I reconnected with it. When I sang the Gayatri, the shyness was not there and my voice opened and it just felt natural. I was actually surprised that it would touch so many people because it was so easy. The mind comes in sometimes and says, “Oh that’s easy—it’s not worth anything.” I had to learn to see that we all have our gifts and they’re unique and because they come easy, they’re our gifts—it was really a big shift.
Parvati Magazine: You’ve produced songs on independent record labels all along. What made you decide to stay indie?
Deva Premal: We got burnt with a record label in the early 90s and realised that we could actually do it ourselves and keep control over what music to include, what title for the albums, when we would release them. And that’s what we’ve done for 28 years now. We do everything in our style, in our way. If we make mistakes that’s okay. That’s part of the journey.
Why the audience doesn’t clap for Deva Premal—and she likes it that way
Parvati Magazine: When you sing mantras in gatherings, you ask people not to clap at the end. Why not?
Deva Premal: You know, we actually don’t ask people not to clap, we invite people to do what comes naturally. Because when you sing and chant mantras together it’s not really the obvious thing to do, to clap. It’s actually an effort to clap because you’re in such a deep space and all you want is to take deep breaths with your eyes closed and keep all of it percolating inside of you.
So we just say look, you don’t have to clap, we don’t need the clapping, we actually love to be in that silent space with you. And it’s not a controlled situation—there is clapping when the energy goes high or celebrative. So it’s very in the moment, not a strict serious thing.
Parvati Magazine: How has Miten’s recent heart surgery influenced where you are now and where you are heading, musically and spiritually?
Deva Premal: We had a tour just a few months after Miten had the heart surgery, and so we changed the structure for the concerts. I played the first half with Manose and the band, and then Miten joined us for some songs in the second half. It was an interesting experience that I’m happy that I had, but for the moment he is back playing the full evening with us and it’s so beautiful to be back together.
Making music instead of babies
Parvati Magazine: You have said that you chose to make music instead of babies. At a heart level, what does that mean? Please talk about the love and satisfaction that come from your musical creations.
Deva Premal: For me it was never an option to have a child in this lifetime. It just wasn’t something I was in the slightest attracted to. The CDs—they are our creations together. We conceive them, we create them, and we put clothes on them with the album covers. We look for the people who can help shape the growth of the baby—which producer, which musicians need to come in—there are so many parallels. It’s just beautiful to create something together and then have it in your hand in the end. We send them out into the world like our children and then they make their friends and bring them back [in] our concerts where we are reunited with all the people who have already been listening to our music through the albums.
We are just very blessed that we have been able to live, travel, create together for the last 28 years, always together… and that out of this love that we feel for each other, things can come into existence that others can benefit from.
With original chants that are used for meditation, yoga, stress management, massage, and sleep playlists worldwide, Deva Premal and her counterpart, Miten, are creating an alternative to contemporary music culture. The spiritual and musical duo not only model spiritually conscious living but also share powerful tools for wellness, mindfulness, and personal growth.