In January 2018 my mother passed away. Perhaps she became my angel in heaven. But I missed her and like all survivors I questioned whether I could have done more for her. I grieved heavily, even though I knew she was tired, and spiritually she was already passing over into the next world in the days before her death.
After that I couldn’t continue as I did before. The months before her death had been exhausting. I even lived in a German hospital with her for 30 days while she was undergoing treatment for her respiratory problems.
All of this deeply affected my relationship to music. Whenever I approached the piano and touched the keys I thought of my mother. I couldn’t find meaning in the daily repetition of scales or past compositions. Every once in a while I felt free at the piano and began to improvise. But still, words like concert or recital or performance became meaningless for me. I needed a completely empty space, a break from music and the stage.
It was supposed to be simple. All I had to do was speak up and offer to sell the CD’s to anyone who was interested. People offer their creations to other people all the time. If people appreciate what someone has created, they offer money for it. Everyone wins. Simple, right?
It wasn’t for me. Just the idea of announcing that I had something to offer tortured me. I couldn’t sleep for four nights. Every day I tried to prepare myself psychologically to say the words. Finally, as the workshop was about to end, I decided to give up and stop putting myself through this hell. I would just have to return to Paris with the 200 CD’s, where this story began.
Growing up in the Soviet Union, I didn’t have access to spiritual books. The first time I ever saw a person pray was when my grandmother visited from my father’s homeland near the border of Azerbaijan with Iran. I didn’t know anything about religion, but I could see that when she prayed on her knees, she made her own connection with God. From childhood I was curious about spiritual things. I eventually found spiritual books on the black market. As a voracious reader I consumed everything I could get my hands on. Once I moved to Paris, I found I could learn French by reading books which really interested me. And that meant reading books on spirituality and self-development.
There was blood all over the piano.
After two hours of nonstop playing, my fingers were bleeding. People who noticed the red stains on the white keys of the piano thought that someone had spilled the red wine being served at the celebration. It wasn’t wine. It was my own blood.
It was July 2004 – before I recorded my first album. And I had just made one of the best decisions of my life – the decision to attend a self-development workshop on Nonviolent Communication with Marshall B. Rosenberg. On that night when I spilled my own blood onto the keys of that cheap piano, I had no idea that my life was about to change dramatically.