We had the good fortune of connecting with Mystic Tiger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mystic Tiger, how does your business help the community?
Mystic Tiger’s music reflects the insights and experiences that the four of us have shared over a three-year period of community healing, personal introspection, and spiritual growth. This music has guided us, healed us, and connected through some of the most transformational years of our lives. Some of the big ideas that inspire our music include: the breakdown of dualities (self/other, large/small, human/nature, etc), finding liberation through awareness, gratitude and awe for this beautiful planet and this beautiful life, healing the past and future within the present moment, and finding strength and courage in community. Our most recent release, the song “Family,” expresses our hope that humanity can expand our circle of compassion to this entire planet and all life upon it.
We hope that our music can be a voice for all these ideas within the listener, and bring them out of dormancy through song- to be a bridge between deep intuition and external action, and a soundtrack to the building of a more beautiful world.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The fours of us have an unusual band-formation story….
The four of us- Taj Jegaraj, Akemi Osajima, Sarah Wilson, and Nathan Kersey Wilson- met in 2011 through UCLA Medleys, a community service-based a cappella group at UCLA with the motto of “Love for People, Love for Music.” This idea and the vibrational connection that formed during their time in Medleys became a cornerstone of our friendship and the foundation of what would later become Mystic Tiger.
We went separate ways after college – Sarah became a kindergarten teacher; Taj studied voice in Europe and sang on a traveling pirate ship anti-capitalist stage show; Akemi mobilized voters at political nonprofits in the Bay Area and LA; and Nathan played as a sideman for tons of different bands. Yet we kept in touch across the distance, reuniting when we could for holiday parties, jam sessions and New Year reflection gatherings. Sarah and Nathan got married (!!!) and sang together as a duo.
In 2017, as political events drove greater urgency into movements for social and ecological justice, we began to turn inward, searching for ways to fully express our creative selves in service of societal healing. We also realized that this search would be much more fun, and fruitful, if done in community. So in February of 2018, after a particularly inspiring Medleys alumni retreat, we decided to make a commitment to get together one evening a week at Nathan and Sarah’s place, creating the space and time to deepen their friendship and explore their creativity. This simple practice was the source of everything that came later.
We spent a year cooking delicious healthy dinners together, inventing hilariously weird theater games, making up stories one word at a time, learning about tardigrades and consciousness, meditating, having “ambient a cappella jams” (basically just making bizarre sounds), going camping, and discussing how creativity and friendship can transform oppressive cultures and systems. We wrote about the world we each envisioned, then created a collective vision board with foundational ideas and phrases for a more loving, joyful and nourishing society, setting the intention to live this vision together in the present.
It was during this time of creative expansion that we started writing songs based on our personal journeys of suffering and healing, and rediscovered the joy of singing together in 4-part harmony. “Love for people, love for music,” had been reborn, and Mystic Tiger emerged as a new incarnation of Medleys, with the same intention of opening hearts, healing pain, and resounding a new world vibration.
In March of 2019, after more than a year of songwriting, visioning, and deepening in friendship together, we held our first show at Sarah and Nathan’s apartment for twenty close family members and friends. It was a raw and intimate group journey, complete with guided meditation, storytelling and of course a dance party afterward.
On Earth Day of 2020, we released our first single, “Third Eye of the Tiger,” which was followed by an EP of the same name. Our latest single, “Family,” has been our anthem of hope this past year as we struggled with not being together physically. Through these releases, we symbolically invite the whole world to step into our vision of love, liberation and creative expression.
We have five songs released as of now, and a catalog of over thirty songs that are in various stages of production. We are so excited to continue sharing this via releases and in-person gatherings, and to create vibrant spaces for community connection.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a best friend were visiting the area right now, we would take them to all of our favorite nature spots: Eaton Canyon, hiking trails off the Angeles Crest highway, Malibu Seafood, Point Dume, Mulholland Drive overlooks, Topanga State Park, the Venice Canals, and the bluffs at Palos Verdes. And, of course, we would make them delicious home-cooked veggie bowls!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thank you to the Tardigrade Tribe- our beautiful extended family and community- and everyone who has supported us in this journey, which it still feels like we are at the very beginning of. A big thank you to Jim McCurdy for mixing our single, “Family”. Thank you to Joshua Tree and Sequoia National parks!!