It was a cold and dreary evening in Williamsburg, when we arrived at the Warsaw Theater to interview Trevor Hall. I was there as the social media manager for Meditation Magazine – to take photos, post instagram stories, and help coordinate the recording of the interview. But beneath the surface, my inner fangirl was brimming with anxiety and excitement. Trevor has been my musical hero, my role model, my spirit guide, since I was fourteen years old.
There’s a common bit of wisdom that goes something like “never meet your heroes, for they are sure to disappoint you.” This was the fear that was gnawing at my diaphragm for weeks before the interview. But as soon as we stepped into the green room at the Warsaw, to the warm smiles and southern hospitality of Trevor’s mom and dad (who had come to see the show); as soon as Trevor sauntered in from the hallway, cracking jokes with the humble vibe and easy smile of a long-beloved friend, I knew that everything would be OK.
Trevor’s not just another egocentric musician, trying to get rich and look cool and be a rockstar. He hasn’t followed the standard trajectory for a celebrity of his renown; his path has been fundamentally different. Trevor has risen, miraculously, through humility, rather than ego; through spirit, rather than ambition; through love, rather than aggression. I listened, enthralled, as he began to tell his story.
Leaving his childhood home of South Carolina at the tender age of sixteen, Trevor moved to California to pursue his passion for music. It was there, in the dorm room of his friend and musical partner Sam Marcus, that young Trevor first glimpsed a photo of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
Seeing that photo, Trevor explained, was the moment that set in motion the journey that has brought him to where he is today.
“In India they say: ‘A moment with the Beloved and the river changes its course,’” Trevor reminisced, as we sat looking out at the dwindling twilight of Brooklyn. “That [the moment of seeing the photo of Maharaj-ji] was kind of the moment where my river changed course.
“I fell in love with this Being, and I had no idea why. It was just an internal connection. And when you love someone, naturally, you want to love what they love and you want to know everything about them, you know?
“So because he was from India, this Saint, I wanted to know about India. And because he chanted Ram, I wanted to know, what is this Ram? Everything he loved I wanted to love, and it was pretty much there that my path started; based on my love for this being.”
It was just a few years later that Trevor made his first pilgrimage to India and immersed himself in an unfamiliar culture, that somehow felt more familiar, more like home, than anywhere else in the world.
Along his spiritual journey through India and Nepal, on his musical tours around the globe, Trevor has produced beautiful, deeply spiritual music that has reached millions of fans around the world. And that’s the music he still plays today. It’s the music he played on the stage after our interview, to a packed (and highly enthusiastic) hall at the Warsaw Theater.
I’ve been listening to Trevor Hall’s music religiously for more than a decade; his melodies and poetry have carried me through my darkest days. I consider myself graced by God to have had his influence in my life as I was becoming my own person, working through my personal traumas as a young adult.
I remember the moment when I first heard his music. I was fourteen years old. My brother had connected his iPod to the car stereo, and Trevor’s “Lime Tree” began to play. There was something in his voice that I recognized instantly in myself. A deep melancholy, a longing for something I couldn’t quite name. As I started to listen to more of his music and found my way to some of his concerts, I realized on an intuitive level that Trevor was doing the internal, spiritual work that I knew I needed to do. He was living his life in a way that resonated deeply with my own heart. I wanted to honor my Spirit and my calling in life, the way I saw Trevor honor his with his music.
Trevor’s presence on stage is something special, something very different from any other musician I’ve seen. I remember seeing him walk out barefoot at The Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale when I was fifteen. I had a sprained foot, and I stood there with my crutches in awe. His stage is his place of worship, and when you get to witness this channel of music that he shares with the Divine, you just feel humbled to be there. I’ve seen him in concert nine times in ten years, and that feeling is what always brings me back.
When we walked up to the Warsaw on that dreary evening in March, I had honestly been afraid. A part of me didn’t want to see what was “under the blanket,” in fear that it was all an illusion. But Trevor was the epitome of grace. Honest about his shortcomings and his challenges as a human being, while beaming with love for God. Gentle in nature with the wisdom of someone far older, while maintaining his childlike curiosity and zest for life.
I feel so much gratitude, to not only have had the opportunity to sit down and get to know Trevor a little better, but to have had the Universe place him in my life when it did. I’m not sure what kind of human being I would have turned out to be without his influence, without the example he set for me. Whether I’m listening to his music on the subway or live in concert — his music, his channel to God always brings me back to eternal, unconditional love.
He is a powerful reminder to all of us for what can be done when we do everything in love and remember God.
To watch Trevor’s Meditation Magazine interview, check out: