THE ART OF DEVOTION
“You’re so quiet all the time Bianca, what’s wrong?” I still remember the question so clearly. I was about 7 years old, sitting on top of the monkey bars with my friends. They were talking about all the things 7-year-old girls talk about and I was "listening" a.k.a. panicking in my head, hoping no one would point the conversation in my direction. “Oh nothing, I’m fine, just tired." But I wasn't fine, and I definitely wasn’t tired. Deep down, my little heart wanted to scream. I wanted so desperately to be loved but I wasn't sure I was loveable. I wanted so desperately to be heard but was petrified that whatever I said would be wrong. So I just kept quiet. It was in this safe space of listening, that I became deeply connected to music. Inside songs, I had permission to feel my emotions without the threat of being rejected or abandoned.
I took my first steps onto a musical path in third grade when I joined the chorus. For a shy girl like me, chorus was the best! I got to sing and share my voice without ever having to stand out from the other children. At least I thought I was hiding. “Bianca, your voice! It stands out against all the other voices!” Enter Mrs. Leopold, my 6th-grade chorus teacher, and an earth angel on my life's path. Her tone was so serious, that fear immediately started to rise in me. At that moment the little voice in my head was convinced without any further explanation, that I was singing all wrong and Mrs. Leopold was punishing me for it. “I’d like for you to audition for the solo!” Wait, what!? It was as if the whole world slowed down and got quiet. There was no way I was going to sing in front of all those people! But never wanting to hurt someone's feelings, I smiled politely, thanked Mrs. Leopold, and said I would give it some thought. You see, I wasn't afraid that I wouldn't get the solo. My true self, my bigger self, even at 13 years old, knew that I would and that saying yes to this opportunity, meant facing the greatest fear of my young life...being rejected for using my true voice. Well, I said "Yes!" And with the help of my earth angel, Mrs. Leopold I sang that solo, claiming my true voice not as a cause for rejection, but for acceptance and to resonate love.
The deeper my voice connected to the truth of my soul's resonance, the more I began to use it and that first solo in the 6th-grade transformed into a professional singing career. As a vocalist, I've worked with The Real Goods, Heart and Soul (Franklin Wayne Music), Miracle (with Jenn Cella of Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and am currently the lead singer of The 90's Band. Before every performance, I set my intention to share the light of God with anyone willing to feel its resonance.
Today my musical ambition is to bridge the gap between spiritual and popular music, creating a sacred environment for people to come together through Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti means devotion. It also means Love. In this practice, I chant and sing and call out the names of the Divine with the intention to allow God to see, hold, and love all of my Humanity. It’s a space I can go into and free myself from the illusion that I am anything other than a child of God and that God only exists outside of me. Devotion to God then becomes Devotion to Self, the True Self. Bhakti yoga is a tool for me to empower myself to merge with the Divine, let my human self be seen, and feel the love that exists within my own heart.