In Conversation with Gurujas Khalsa of White Sun

Posted in News on January 5, 2023
(L-R): Adam Berry, Harijiwan Khalsa and Gurujas Khalsa of White Sun
(L-R): Adam Berry, Harijiwan Khalsa and Gurujas Khalsa of White Sun

White Sun had quite a 2022. A Los Angeles-based new age trio renowned for transforming ancient yogic mantras into lushly orchestrated pieces of stirring, contemporary music that center around enhancing consciousness, White Sun had already built a sizable following. Comprised of singer/songwriter Gurujas Khalsa, percussionist Harijiwan Khalsa and instrumentalist/producer Adam Berry, the band has seen its critically acclaimed work regularly ascend to the top of the Billboard charts. Their 2017 album, White Sun II, won them a GRAMMY for Best New Age, Ambient or Chant album. Continuing that upward trajectory, the band’s fifth album – the atmospheric 2022 opus, Mystic Mirror – earned another GRAMMY nomination, again for Best New Age, Ambient or Chant album. BMI caught up with Gurujas Khalsa, a Kundalini yoga teacher whose ethereal voice defines White Sun’s soothing sound, about how their amazing journey has come together.

How did the news of your second GRAMMY nomination feel? To your mind, what made Mystic Mirror so special?

I’m beside myself! We were all totally over the moon when we learned about the nomination. Mystic Mirror was a new direction for us in so many ways, and required a tremendous amount of effort, so the recognition is extremely gratifying. And when that recognition comes from an institution as prestigious as the Recording Academy, it is an honor that’s difficult to put into words.

This year, White Sun has gone to #1 in 21 countries on multiple charts – to what do you attribute your continued success?

Well, I’m sure all artists feel this way, but we have the best fans in the world. The amount of support they give us is just tremendous, and we have so much more music we want to create for them. To our fans reading this—-thank you for everything!

This year, we were also fortunate enough to have our music featured in television shows like Good Trouble and The Wilds, and we won Best Original Song at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. So perhaps the charting and the exposure both feed one another? I’m not sure.

On this GRAMMY-nominated album, you feature contributions from pianist Mark Batson and bassist Abraham Laboriel Lopez, both highly celebrated musicians. How did these collaborations come about?

Mark and I can’t figure out how we know one another, but we’ve been connected for years now. We all admire him so much as both a musician and a human being. His playing is genius, and he is family at this point. I reached out to Abraham because I am a huge personal fan of his. I’m still in disbelief that he is a part of the album. It is such an honor to work with them both.

Your music involves a blend of different style and genres. How would you best describe the music of White Sun?

This is always a hard question for me to answer, but I am going to say new-age pop. Ultimately our music comes from a place I don’t entirely understand, and there is no model for what we do. We shape the music just as the music shapes us. Every time we create a song, I feel something new has arrived, something I might not have context for. This is my personal experience.

You have the distinct honor of having your music used in neuropsychiatric studies – how did that come about?

The researcher who runs these studies, Dr. Helen Lavretsky from UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, has a very scientific understanding of the mind. She knows how transformative certain frequencies and vibrations can be for the entire mind/body system, and she wanted to understand that better in an allopathic medical context. She specifically used White Sun in her studies and was able to prove that the sounds have remarkable healing effects including improved cognition, stress-relief, mood elevation, and a slowing of cellular aging.

Neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary as well as brain disorder specialist Dr. Daniel Gregory Amen have made huge strides in this field as well.

Please describe the role BMI has played in your career thus far?

BMI has been incredibly supportive of our music from day one. They’ve always celebrated our unique, genre-bending achievements, and have encouraged us in countless ways. It’s inspiring to be amongst so many other incredible artists at BMI. There’s collective creative power in the BMI community, and we’re so grateful to be a part of it.


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