Mowgli Shore is a culturally diverse and well travelled up and coming artist. Spending half his time in California and half his time in Italy, he uprooted his life 5 years ago and took a leap he had never previously imagined. Mowgli chose to pursue a dream in music and chose to live a life of his own making. He quit his job in Chicago, left his home with a laptop and a MIDI keyboard, and moved to Europe to experience a world beyond everything he ever knew. The leap of faith connected Mowgli Shore with a world that existed so far beyond him, and out of this energy, “Primavera” was born. Influenced by European dance music and epic downtempo electronica, crafted in the philosophies behind Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha” and Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Primavera is about rebirth, about experiencing a dream as it blossoms into a reality of your own making, about discovering the very facet of life that connects you with the ineffable beyond. Primavera is the first in a series of EPs inspired by nature’s four seasons and precedes a second EP in Fall 2019 and his debut album, which will be released alongside a digital novel and an innovative multimedia project in the summer of 2020.
“In Primavera, I hope you find community, I hope you find your shine, and I hope you find songs that live longer than their run time and make you dream like only the best music can do. In Primavera, I found meaning in dreaming, and I hope you can find it too.” - Mowgli Shore
“Lift Me Up” is nothing like anything you could imagine and unlike anything we’ve heard before. There’s a certain darkness and intensity to the words, complete with its intensifying soundscape that builds throughout. As the first few moments of music start to pour through, it’s clear that this is a beautifully unique, creative, melodic and mighty piece of writing and performance, the sort that follows its own rules. “Lift Me Up” is an impressive track, a light acoustic style backs up a soulful alternative pop melody. Various droplets of color and synths rain down in the outer edges. The lyrics drive home the details though, the depth of this writing, the passion and the pain that led the artist to make this release. The contrast between the music and the ideas is immense, and it’s a satisfying and rather addictive alternative hit. Every concept Mowgli Shore has created works beautifully together.
Listen to “Lift Me Up” here and read more with this talented artist below!
Hi Mowgli! What does the music in “Primavera” represent or mean for you?
Primavera was quite a special journey. I've been making music for a while now, but I was always reluctant to share this part of my life with others, mostly out of a fear of being rejected or just plain imposters' syndrome. It was this constant internal battle with myself to commit to chasing this dream, no matter how improbable it seemed.
In "The Myth of Sisyphus," which I read throughout the making of the EP, Camus writes about life-changing moments and the journey to find purpose as if it's like jumping across a chasm and into the darkness. He said it's not really the act of jumping but making the decision to leap that is the hardest, most courageous thing to do. I felt like I had been staring at this jump for a long time when the ability to leap was always within me—I just had to decide to do it. On New Year's Day this year I just broke down. To be totally honest, 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life and this internal battle and the loneliness of creating was slowly killing me, so I told myself I had one more year to actually do this and build a community. That next day I wrote the first song for Primavera (Camelot), reached out to an old friend who I couldn't make the record without, and everything just flowed from there. All I needed to do was give myself the license to dream with eyes wide open and love myself for my vulnerabilities and dreams. After years of making songs that I knew weren't good enough for me, it took just a few months to make the ones for this record and they stuck instantly. So when it came down to naming the EP, it was easy. I come from an immigrant family where one side is Mexican and the other Italian, and in both languages primavera means spring. This whole journey felt like a rebirth. Now I'm finally the person I always wanted to be because of it, and I want people to be able to experience that and relate it to their own lives because we all dream and have the courage within us to chase those dreams.
Where do you imagine is the best setting in which to experience this music?
Believe it or not lot of the record was actually made in the forest. For the last three years I've been living in a tiny village of 900 people in the mountains above Lake Como in Italy. Every day I go for a hike in the forest and get lost in the woods, and when I'm creating I often bring my materials with me in case I'm inspired at any particular moment. So I would bring my laptop and a MIDI keyboard and a notebook with me wherever I went. I would record melodies and make these grand electronic orchestral arrangements on a tiny keyboard while sitting on a dock by the lake or next to a waterfall in the forest after a three-hour hike. That's where all the ambient soundscapes in the EP come from—there's birds and streams and church bells which acted as the backdrop to my daily life. The entire EP is really a tribute to this place that helped me find purpose in life, and I wanted to bring listeners into that world. Making the record was such a personal and spiritual journey that it makes sense to experience it in nature, alone, where we're reminded that there's something so much bigger than just us in the world. I even wrote the interlude "A Break in the Clouds" as if you were on a hike with me in Lake Como. I wanted to depict this journey in a nebulous, allegorical sense so that hopefully people can apply this narrative to their lives and dreams, even though it was such a personal confession expressing an intimate moment in my life. But I learned that it's these most personal moments and vulnerabilities that can actually be the most universal, just like finding ourselves in nature connects us to every generation of humans that have come before us.
What do you hope listeners take away from “Lift Me Up”?
As I mentioned earlier, right after the new year I reached out to my old friend Jordan who happened to be struggling with the same creative loneliness and internal strife. Jordan's one of the most talented people I know and just an incredible sound engineer and guitarist. Like me, he just needed someone to rely on and let him know the effort was real, because we both knew that these gifts that we have could really impact people's lives for the better. He ended up mixing and co-producing the record at Pelican Studios up in northern California and "Lift Me Up" was the last song we worked on. I was sitting on that beat for a long time and could never find the right words to put to it. On the last day there, we sat and chatted about the journey to get to this life-changing moment, about how we could remembers days where we didn't want to wake up because we were tired of this endless uphill climb and how in an instant it all changed because we found purpose and community. From there I think I wrote the lyrics in 30 minutes. We always had this dream in music but together we realized that a dream is only worth the people it can help. Without empathy and positivity and community, dreaming can be a very selfish act. But the most powerful dreams are those that connect us to some kind of purpose, to something that's so far beyond us. Everyone has something, some purpose or dream, that connects them to the beyond. It could be literature or religion or a hobby. For me and Jordan it's music, and we just wanted to encourage everyone to chase after that one thing that lifts you up to what's beyond us.
Which single composition of yours would you recommend to new listeners, and why?
I would say go into nature alone with a pair of good headphones and sit down and listen to "A Break in the Clouds" and "Shine" back-to-back. It was really created as one song that describes the moment we take that beautifully terrifying leap into the unknown. I think too often we listen to music or engage with art as an escape from reality, but I really wanted something to embrace our reality, even if things are dim sometimes. Sometimes we need a winter to appreciate the spring, and "Shine" is that moment where we announce ourselves to the world just like the sun on the first warm day of spring. It's about listening to that little whisper in your soul that we like to call intuition. It takes so much courage to follow that whisper in the middle of all the noise that surrounds us. And when we open ourselves completely to these emotions and show people how human it is to be vulnerable, we're rewarded with the very best that humanity has to offer: empathy, community, love. The second I started to shine this little light, no matter how reluctant I was to try, I saw others around me begin to do the same. We all have it in us to inspire those around us. We all have the courage to chase after stars we never thought were in reach.
What’s your main aspiration as an artist right now?
I want to connect with as many people as possible and use this platform to help people find their bliss in the world. I just want to be there for anyone who needs someone, because we're never alone in our personal journeys to find purpose. If I'm not doing that every day, if this world isn't a better place because of this work, that's the only definition of failure for me. At least with this record, I know we're doing our part. I'm still getting messages every week from friends and strangers telling me how Primavera has impacted their lives, and it often brings me to tears. On top of that, because experiencing nature and all its wonders was such a critical part of the record, we've decided that 10-percent of the proceeds from the EP will go to conservancy programs protecting U.S. National Parks threatened by the privatization of public land and federal budget cuts under the current administration. I'm already working on the next EP, which will have much more hip-hop and dance influences rather than the grand downtempo electronica on Primavera. And Jordan and I couldn't be more excited to start playing shows when I move back to California next month. We're putting together an incredible live set along with a new studio, and we're really going to hit touring hard so we can connect with as many people as possible. So tell everyone to look out for us in the fall with a new EP and lots of live shows to come!
Connect more with Mowgli Shore and his music through his socials: