A Conversation with Daryl Hayott
You can read the interview
below or in our flash
book which includes art by
Daryl Hayott by clicking here.
Why do you feel music is a prayer?
I look at prayer as not the asking of something from the Creator, but the acknowledgement of what you’ve received from the Creator. I look at prayer as an affirmation of blessings from the Supreme and music is just a language to express the gratitude of His blessings.
In the scriptures it says that you have people — there are those who pray to be seen amongst men. And what that means is they’re not really giving the glory to the Supreme, they are actually looking for self recognition. You’ve got the same thing in music. You’ve got those who think it’s all about them and how many people recognize them and appreciate them as opposed to how it’s really about that gift. It’s about people relating to the actual prayer itself, not the ‘pray-er’ – but the prayer. So anybody that’s into music on any level – music makes you feel good, so does prayer. Music has a purpose, it’s not just for entertainment; it’s for healing. The reference is the book of Psalms. What do you think the Book of Psalms is? That book is an entire songbook. It’s a prayer.
How did you come to this realization – that music is a prayer?
I learned it by listening to Santana and Jimi Hendrix. These guys, if you ever had the experience of not just hearing their music, but seeing them perform, you see that’s God’s presence right there – BAM! – and they’re lost. They become part of that music. So it couldn’t be anything but prayer. They tune in their instruments and the Creator goes ahead and puts His voice through that sound.
You’re asking for His blessings when you step on the stage and He gives you the blessings by inspiration and putting you in the zone – give you that out of body experience. I learned it by listening to them. When I saw them perform, I could only think about God. They were like angels to me. That’s the only way I can explain it.
Nothing. I’m not looking to accomplish anything. I’m looking to experience the universal language of the Creator. I’m looking to experience that every time I play. An artist recognizes the experience. It’s the people who don’t understand that who are looking for accomplishments. Those are two different things. You can’t accomplish anything without His blessings, so why worry about that. Just do the right thing and play that music the way that He’s given it to you to do. He’ll handle the accomplishments on his own.
What do you think about when you are creating your music?
I’m always thinking about how it’s such a privilege to do anything, whether it’s the martial arts, painting, drawing, music or whatever it is. We are descendants of slaves, they are descendants of kings, queens, builders. We come from descendants of bondage. There are people in my family who have never had the opportunity to do music at all. I am Brazilian and my ancestors were slaves. There were people who worked in the fields as slaves who had more talent that a lot of us will ever have, but they were denied the ability to experience the development and the ultimate joy of those gifts.
Singers – how many of these women who had voices of the angels were working on plantations? They didn’t do a damn thing but be born and worked seven days a week. What about the man who was head drummer for his village and now has to pick cotton? I always think about the people who have come before me and who made things possible for me. They had more talent and genius than I would ever have.
And, I am always thinking about the people in my lifetime – my friend Tony, my grandfather, my father – who turned me onto things. Me learning this stuff and them not staying in the body long enough to see me actually do it. So I’m actually thinking about them. I’m always thinking about them. It’s hard to describe. Every time I play I try to take whatever I’m doing and transform it into something that they would like to hear. Let those vibes come through. I don’t see myself as anything more than a story teller I guess, musically. The stories are not Daryl’s stuff.
Your message to people who want to be in the music industry?
I did not get into music looking to be signed or to obtain the level of recognition that I’ve received. I wasn’t looking for any recognition. I was just playing music and enjoying myself. So, I don’t understand the whole “fame and fortune” thing that people are seeking. Neither do a lot of my friends who are pros in this industry and have been around for a long time. People have it twisted and work backwards. Focus on the music, focus on the gifts, focus on the expression of yourself and the Spirit that wants to move through you — focus on the process. Don’t seek anything from it except to be it and to do it.
If you’re in the music to have the music touch somebody I don’t see how you can come up short because it serves a purpose besides the vanity thing. That’s the way I’m looking at it. You’re not stuck on how great you are and how many instruments you can play. If you can play a lot of instruments and you’re a fucked up person, then you’re still a fucked up person. Take the shot to get out. Don’t think that you don’t have responsibility. You’ve got to stand for something.
What am I going to do, walk around with a head shot? “This is me, hey do you want my autograph?” What will that do, make me the king of the neighborhood or something?
If somebody can say that something you did moved them, then you did it right. You touch people. If it touches someone in a wonderful way – just one person – you’re on it. If that’s what you’re doing this music for, that’s it. Everything else you’re wasting time. Anything else is about self-worship. You help someone, they help someone else. And that’s like the griots from Africa, it’s a story telling that keeps being told, over and over again.
Whatever gifts we have are on loan to us for this lifetime and our obligation is to develop these gifts to their fullest. Then there is a process that goes along with that development. Art – music is about the process. People today get it all wrong; they think it’s about them. “Look at me, look at me.” They click themselves up on music charts – anything to get that attention. That’s twisted, that’s sick. Just do the music for the beauty of doing it. Birds sing because it’s who they are. It’s part of the universal vibration. They don’t seek a stage. So be who you are and do what you do. Music is a prayer and for me that’s the greatest gratification and why I do what I do.
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