Category Archives Interviews

Let’s Pray: A New Album by Gary Sterling

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If you have the opportunity to attend one of the Sunday morning programs at the Baha’i House of Worship in Sydney, Australia, you may have the fortune of hearing the thundering and captivating voice of Gary Sterling singing a solo part in the choir, giving you goosebumps from head-to-toe.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, USA, Gary Sterling grew up on traditional gospel music, where he started singing in a Baptist Church at the age of ten. His whole family are singers, but he is the only one who ventured into the field of the performing arts, and he says that although he grew up poor in the material world, spiritually he was privileged to be nurtured in the love of God, and Gary talks with a great deal of love and affection for the spiritual lessons his dear Baptist mother taught him.

Now a Baha’i and living in Sydney, Australia, Gary describes his music as inspirational gospel-style music for the nourishment of the human soul. Continue reading

Screenprinting for Social Change – The Artistic Works of Melanie King Dollie

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Melanie King Dollie is a California–born creative with a background in printmaking and cultural anthropology. Having lived and worked in China, Israel, Latin America, and currently living in Sydney, Australia, she’s passionate about the exploration and use of the arts in helping with social change, so it’s no wonder that Melanie and I hit it off straight away when we fist met recently in Sydney.

Melanie agreed to be interview by Baha’i Blog about her art and the ideas behind her work: Continue reading

The Dawning Place: A Book by Bruce Whitmore

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Every single one of the world’s seven (soon to be eight) Baha’i Houses of Worship is unique – unique in history, in design and in surroundings. But the one thing they all share in common is that they are The Dawning Places of the Mention of God.

I have always wanted to visit the Wilmette Temple. I don’t think photos can do justice to its utmost majesty, its intricate ornamentation, and the feeling of awe one must feel when standing in its presence.

American author Bruce Whitmore’s work The Dawning Place explores the very wonders of this House of Worship, providing a chronological account of events from before the Temple’s construction through to the present day. We spoke to Bruce to find out about him and his book, which is now in its second edition. Continue reading

Blessed: The Music of Klare Kuolga

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Born in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and raised by adopted parents in Australia, Klare Kuolga was blessed with having the privilege of belonging to two distinct cultures, both of which music played an important role.

Klare is an old friend of mine, and I just found out that she’s just released a new EP called “Blessed”, so I decided to catch up with her and interview her on Baha’i Blog: Continue reading

Immerse: An Interview with Bahareh Khademi

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Born to Persian parents, and brought up in Australia, Bahareh Khademi feels fortunate to have been raised in Australia, not taking for granted the freedoms that wouldn’t be available to her in her parents’ homeland – among them, the right to free speech and to education.

Bahareh first discovered her passion for music at the age of 16 when she auditioned for the school musical ‘Les Miserables’. Singing in the chorus, she fell in love with the songs and, more significantly, with the potential that music has to ignite the heart of others.

Bahareh has just released her debut album called “Immerse” — its title being inspired by the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.

I recently had the pleasure of attending her album launch in Sydney, Australia, and rather than it simply being a performance, the atmosphere of the evening was more like a beautiful devotional gathering, and the audience was swept away by her angelic voice and musical grace.

I decided to catch up with Bahareh about her musical endeavours and her debut album: Continue reading

The Bassoon King: An Interview with Rainn Wilson about his Autobiography

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Baha’i actor Rainn Wilson, who’s best known for playing the role of Dwight Schrute in the hit TV show The Office, and founder of the ever popular “Soul Pancake“, has just released his autobiography called The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

In The Bassoon King, Rainn openly and honestly “chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson’s achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Baha’i faith he grew up in.”

Every time I’m in Los Angeles, I always look forward to catching up with Rainn and getting what I like to call “my Rainn fix”. There are some people whom when you spend time with them, you walk away afterwards feeling like not only did you have fun, but that you learned something new, and that you just had a really nice ‘wholesome’ experience, and spending time with Rainn is not only like that, but he also always has me feeling enthused, encouraged, and energized to continue to serve.

When I was last in LA, Rainn spoke to me about his new upcoming book, and he agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog once the book was out, so here it is: Continue reading

Child of Mine: A Baha’i Inspired Composition for Expectant Parents

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There is a wealth of information and differing opinions about pregnancy-related issues online and in print, so much so that expectant parents often feel quite overwhelmed when sourcing information. When I first fell pregnant, I avoided reading like the plague in fear that I would get confused and (more) anxious about my impending role as a parent. I decided the best way to source information was to turn to the Writings, and most other things could be learnt on the job.

A dear friend of mine, Kamelia Khoshmashrab has made it easy to find information about pregnancy-related matters from a Baha’i perspective with the release of her compilation Child of Mine. The publication brings together Baha’i Writings on a range of topics and is the perfect go-to resource for anyone who is planning, expecting or has just given birth to a baby.

Child of Mine is divided into five chapters as follows: pre-pregnancy matters, matters within pregnancy and breastfeeding, infant health, matters after birth and the spiritual environment of infants. Topics covered include (but are not limited to) chastity and the purpose of marriage, IVF and surrogacy, miscarriages, vaccinations, naming a child, godparents, and postpartum depression.

Baha’i Blog spoke to Kamelia to find out more about the new release: Continue reading

Spirit of Life: An Interview with Steve Lockie

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There are so many hidden gems of Baha’i-inspired music scattered around the world, and now hailing from “the land of the long white cloud” (New Zealand), I’m happy to introduce to everyone the wonderful musical works of Steve Lockie.

Steve Lockie has just released his fourth album titled Spirit of Life, and it’s clear from his music that he’s not only a seasoned singer and songwriter, but he’s a natural at it, and it’s great that he’s shared his talents with us by exploring the Baha’i revelation through the art of his music in the short seven years he’s been a Baha’i.

I decided to touch base with Steve about his music and his latest album: Continue reading

Champions of Oneness: A New Book about Louis Gregory

There are countless heroes and heroines in the Baha’i Faith, all who devoted their very lives for the progress of the Cause. Luckily, we have access to innumerable works of literature which profile these heroic figures and provide inspiration for us to serve the Cause in our own way. One such work, Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle, does just that.

Written by American author Janet Ruhe-Schoen, the book focuses on the years between 1898 and 1921 and portrays the lives of a handful of Baha’i pioneers of race amity in the United States. At great personal sacrifice, these early Baha’is traveled extensively to share the teachings of their newfound Faith, even if it meant facing severe challenges from those resistant to change.

We caught up with Janet to find out more about her work and the inspiration behind her latest book. Continue reading

Noite De Estrelas No Céu – An Interview with Joze Marcelino

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While I was in Europe last year, I had the pleasure of meeting the talented Joze Marcelino, and he kindly gave me a copy of his latest album Noite De Estrelas No Céu, which in Portuguese means “A Night of Stars in the Sky”.

Currently living in Portugal, Joze Marcelino is an accomplished singer and songwriter originally from Angola, and he shares and uses his music as a voice to express his inner beliefs rooted in the Baha’i Faith of ‘unity in diversity’ and the world being one country and mankind its citizens. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, as well as the guitalele, and he has appeared on a number of television and radio channels, and has also played as an opening act for popular Angolan singers such as Don Kikas.

As you’ve probably noticed from Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series, I love listening to Baha’i-inspired music from around the world, and so I was happy when Joze Marcelino agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog: Continue reading