Portland-based singer/songwriter Anandi, in collaboration with pianist/ programmer/ producer Greg Goebel, offers a collection of socially conscious, contemplative songs of uncommon beauty and depth. Anandi’s expressive and beautiful voice delivers lyrics with a strong sense of wakefulness, ranging from the complexity of love to an homage to Nelson Mandela, to the uplifting title track, inspired by the homeless crisis in her hometown, which encourages us to find “A Better Way” in a world of suffering.
Anandi first discovered producer Greg Goebel’s talents when she heard his song ‘Rainy City’ on Portland’s local jazz station and through his work as a producer and bandleader for the Portland-based superstar Gino Vanelli. When Anandi and Greg found themselves running in the same Portland music circles it was inevitable that Anandi and Greg would agree to collaborate, recording a three-song demo at Greg’s home studio. And then Covid happened.
Like so many other artists, the opportunity for introspection provided by the pandemic lockdown led to a rebirth of creativity and reflection on her life’s path. Newly inspired, she decided to resume her career as a singer/songwriter and to record a new album of original songs. Committed to creating her next recording with Greg, what started as just a few tracks soon became a new project.
The result is an album of uncommon beauty and depth. Greg Goebel’s arrangements surround Anandi’s beautiful voice in this collection of meaningful ballads, heartfelt anthems, passionate chants and contemplative soul. Anandi’s well-crafted songs contain a sense of wisdom and poetry rarely encountered in today's pop music. Except for a guest appearance by saxophonist Adrian Baxter on a beautiful version of Jim Pepper’s cult classic “Witchi-tai-to” there are only two creators on this album and the results are brilliant.
The title track, “A Better Way”, speaks to homelessness, poverty and the need to uplift those who suffer; on "Truth, Peace & Solitude" she rouses us to bring balance to our body, mind & soul; "Mandela" praises a great leader and his aspiration. Other songs, such as “Don’t Go To Bed Angry”, “Surrender To Me” and “Pleasure With The Pain” speak to the complexity of love relationships.
With a name that means ‘bliss’ in Sanskrit (as Anandi explains “my parents were hippies”) one could easily infer that Anandi’s music would conjure up sounds and images of somnolent mellowness. But this isn’t “New Age” music. Anandi’s songs have a strong sense of wakefulness, with poignant lyricism and melodic sophistication that invite multiple listens and sharing.
Born in Los Angeles to a singer/songwriter and a jazz drummer Anandi was raised in Portland, Boulder, the Bay Area and New York ending up in Nova Scotia studying voice at Dalhousie University. After a stint working at Rounder Records in Boston and singing her original songs around New York City she moved back to Portland after bearing ‘live’ witness to the 9/11 attacks in downtown New York City.
After releasing three independent albums of original songs, she turned her attention to jazz, singing classic standards, inspired by the likes of Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday. She became a well-respected jazz singer in a jazz town, singing at venues like the legendary Jimmy Mack’s, the 1905, the Jack London Revue and the PDX Jazz Festival. During this time she released three jazz albums, all the while working as a nanny and yoga teacher and managing her boutique store, Karuna Contemplative Living.
Meanwhile, her original songs continued to attract interest. One her songs, “Enough Of You”, was used as background music on several YouTube videos, totally over 3 million hits. Even as she developed her craft in jazz her original songs continued to sell and gain fans, touching the hearts of many.
As Anandi says “Writing songs is a lot like raising a child. The initial creation is spontaneous and wondrous. The song is a part of you but then it goes out into the world and takes on a life of its own. The songwriter becomes an empty nester, so to speak. What then? If each song is someone’s baby I only ask that each song be contemplated and cherished as an individual finding its way into the heart of the listener”.