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“I love people. I like feeding them, singing to them, massaging them, and just making them feel
better,” Prem shares. Prem is a gourmet chef, a holistic health practitioner, a dedicated yogi,
and a musician. The main ingredient coursing through each of his offerings is love. He
continues: “I’m a creative person, and wouldn’t be satisfied with just one outlet. For me,
happiness is an approach that includes mind, body, and soul.”
Prem is a self-given name which means “unconditional divine love” in Sanskrit. “I didn’t choose
that name because I think I am love incarnate. I picked it to keep me on track because love is
my highest value,” he shares.
Prem began his professional music career with devotional group chanting in Sanskrit, but he
has progressively moved his music to the center, singing in English, but calling on the mystical
power of Sanskrit for select musical moments. Reggae is foundational to Prem’s music, and one
fascinating aspect of this is how his view of the tradition poetically ties into his soulful message.
In reggae, the guitar makes a sound akin to a “chank” which is made from an upward motion by
the strumming hand. “That movement is so uplifting—it sends energy up to your spine.
Something about it makes you happy and want to dance,” he explains. Prem’s spiritually-
centered reggae-infused aesthetic has garnered favorable comparisons to Trevor Hall, Xavier
Rudd, Nakho and Medicine for the people, Krishna Das, Michael Franti, Rebelution, Dirty
Heads, Slightly Stoopid, and Bob Marley.
Prem’s message is universal, and appeals to yoga, conscious, and meditation communities;
personal growth and spirituality seekers; jam band and reggae fans; and those in recovery. “My
music is an offering to anyone who needs medicine,” he specifies. Prem will share this musical
medicine with as a prescription of singles.
Informing his musical journey is Prem’s vibrantly varied professional and person paths. Prem is
a self-taught cook who got his start working in an ashram for 10 years. Today, he is a highly
sought-out gourmet chef specializing in organic, low carb, weight loss, low glycemic, anti-
oxidant, and international cuisine. Prem is also a certified massage therapist with 22 disciplines
of massage therapy at his fingertips.
Prem was born in Southern France, he speaks French fluently, and he maintains dual
citizenship. He owns a converted 42-long school bus that’s now a food truck called “The Big
Tasty.” Since 2001, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder
of Self Realization Fellowship, has been his guru. He plays guitar, electric sitar, harmonium, and
live manages to be a one-man band, playing drums, bass, guitar, synth, vocals, and harmonies
all at once using technology as a looping artist. In addition, Prem recently built an event space
to sing and cook for people, and host workshops, mini festivals, movie nights, comedy nights,
and improv nights.
Select standouts in his current catalog of songs include “Prayer,” “Dakota Access,” “I Forgive
You,” and “Sri Ma.” “Prayer” shines brightly with sun-soaked acoustic guitars, ethereally emotive
textures, and hypnotically chanted passages treated with echo. Prem gets pointedly political on
The track “I Forgive You” is sweetly reflective, and its gorgeously spare musicality makes it
something of a lullaby for the soul. The song represents a crucial part of Prem’s path. “For the
first four years when I was a chef in an ashram, I was trying to feel the love from the divine, but I
realized I could not make spiritual progress until I loved myself. I had to heal my self-doubt and
insecurity from childhood. Once I loved myself, I had love to give, and I could love God and love
others,” he says. “Sri Ma” is a reggae tune that exudes deep longing. It’s a hymn of healing for
the wounds weathered in life between mothers and children, and this message also extends to
our connection with mother earth.
Fittingly, Prem’s program of singles will be bundled together and released as an album,
tentatively titled, GAIA, which means “Mother Earth” in Greek mythology. “The message in the
title is that we are made from nature, we are nature, and nature is love,” he shares. Prem’s hope
for the album is that by sprinkling Eastern mysticism alongside Western perspectives this
meeting of outlooks will be what he jokingly calls a “gateway drug” to a deeper spiritual journey
for his listeners.
Whether he’s providing that gateway drug to spirituality, or offering nourishment and healing for
the body and the soul, Prem always serves and provides enlightenment with humility. In closing,
he says: “I definitely don’t want to be positioned as some spiritual teacher. I’m not a saint; I
make mistakes. I’m just sharing tools that have worked for me in everyday life.”d edit me. It's easy.
“I love people. I love feeding them, singing to them, encouraging them, and opening their hearts to joy” Prem shares. Prem is a musician, a gourmet chef, and a certified massage therapist. The main ingredients found throughout each of his offerings are love and creativity. Prem is a self-taught cook who got his start as the head chef for the Self Realization Fellowship Ashram (yoga retreat center) in Hidden Valley, near San Diego. There, he also learned about the art of chanting sacred mantras from India. When he’s not playing music, he is also a private chef and highly sought out caterer and/or musician for community events and yoga retreats. “Hidden Valley Ashram is where I learned to cook and it also where fell in love with kirtan (the ancient art of devotional group chanting in Sanskrit).
For years, my friends and I would bring our instruments into the 40 acre forest near the ashram and we took turns chanting around the fire, under the stars, until the early morning. We would get so drunk from chanting the various names of the Divine. That joy from devotional singing is something I truly want to share with others,” he says.
Prem is also a certified massage therapist trained in Japanese Zen Shiatsu, Swedish Massage, Deep tissue, Ayurvedic Massage, Chakra Balancing, Marma Point Therapy, and Relaxation Massage. “My grandma was a massage therapist, and she used to practice on me at home growing up. I think that’s where my appreciation for the healing arts came from. In fact she even gave me the Autobiography of a Yogi when I was 16. I didn’t know it then, but that changed my whole life, and I have her to thank for it in large part.”
Prem was born in Southern France to an Amercian mother, speaks French fluently, and maintains dual citizenship. He also owns a converted 42-long school bus called “The BigTasty” that is part food truck and part tour bus with a queen size bed, shower, couch, refrigerator, stove, and a 20 foot long stainless steel counter to cook food on.
Since 2001, Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi, and founder of Self Realization Fellowship, has been his guru. Prem plays guitar, electric sitar, harmonium, and sometimes, performs as a live looper artist (aka one-man band), playing drums, bass, guitar, synth, vocals, and harmoniesall at once using modern technology with pedals like the BossRC300 and a wide arsenal of effects pedals at his feet.
In addition, Prem recently built a temple dedicated to the Divine Mother Laxmi to introduce people to the art of Kirtan (devotional group chanting in Sanskrit) as well as a place to host workshops, mini festivals, movie nights, catered concerts, and other community events.
Prem means “unconditional divine love” in Sanskrit. “When I was cooking at the Ashram, all I could think about was being a kirtan artist towards the last year of my time there. But my French given name (Thierry Maurel) is hard to spell and hard to remember, so like many other kirtaniyas (devotional music singers) in the United States, I chose Prem because it reminds me to stay in my heart every time someone calls my name. Its super useful for when I’m in my ego, which happens to everyone who isn’t a liberated saint basically, and I’m subject to delusion just like everyone else,” Prem shares.
Kirtan is a devotional style of group chanting in Sanskrit that originated with the development of Bhakti Yoga in 6th century India. Poets wandering the land sang from the Vedas and Upanishads, some of the earliest known religious texts (Hicks, 1). The Vedas and Upanishads describe the power behind sound in great length and detail. Around 1506, the saint Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, also known as “The Father of Kirtan,”dedicated his life to kirtan and made several long journeys across Indian to spread his knowledge of kirtan. A kirtan movement was shortly and inevitably to follow. He headed a significant social and spiritual movement that continues to spread world-wide. He inspired hundreds of thousands of people during his lifetime, and millions more as his legacy continues in modern day (Rosen, 462-468).
After leaving the ashram to go on tour and share his 1st kirtan album, Prem started writing music in English and calling on the ancient power of Sanskrit mantras for select musical moments. Prem’s spiritually-centered reggae-infused aesthetic has garnered favorable comparisons to Trevor Hall and Xavier Rudd and a voice reminiscent of Chris Cornell. Prem’s musical message of love is universal, and appeals to truth seekers, eco-activists, and those on the journey to self discovery. He states: ”all the credit of any good that comes through this music, I give to my guru Paramahansa Yogananda. My goal is simply to be a vessel for his God love to shine through. Or better yet a sandal. If I can do that right, it will have been a very successful life indeed.” In the meantime I’ll be praying for grace to help me with any habits that get in the way of me and God’s love. My greatest fear is hurting anyone do to any human selfish tendencies. I’m definitely still in school here on earth like everyone else but I am constantly striving to be better every day.”
Select standouts in his current catalog of songs include “Prayer,” “Dakota Access,” “I Forgive You,” and “Sri Ma.” “Prayer” shines brightly with sun-soaked acoustic guitars, ethereally emotive textures, and hypnotically chanted passages treated with echo. Prem gets pointedly political on “Dakota Access.” The track “I Forgive You” is sweetly reflective, and its gorgeously spare musicality makes it something of a lullaby for the soul. “Sri Ma” is a reggae tune that exudes deep longing. It’s a hymn of healing for the wounds weathered in life between mothers and children, and this message also extends to our connection with mother earth. Fittingly, Prem’s latest album is titled, 'Forgive', which encourages us to forgive our mothers, so that we may love Nature, the mother of all Life. “The message in the title is that we are made from nature, we are nature, and nature is love,” he shares. Prem’s hope for the album is that by merging ancient mantras with modern music, that this meeting of worlds will be what he jokingly calls a “gateway drug” to a deeper spiritual journey for his listeners. In closing, he says: “I get a lot of joy from singing these songs that are inspired by my gurus and other saints of all religions and hopefully that joy is transmitted to others too.”