Jump to content

Featured artist: Jyoti Verhoeff

20 June 2021
Jyoti Verhoeff is an intriguing musician who has walked an eventful road. She was a finalist in the Dutch competitions Mooie Noten and De Grote Prijs van Nederland, and was awarded the Best Musician award by the latter. She worked on the renowned documentary "De Nieuwe Wildernis" and had the honour of offering astronaut André Kuipers the first copy of her debut album. We were invited to listen to her upcoming album, The Sky of You, on which Jyoti reflects on her feelings concerning the current state of the world we live in.
Cover of "The Sky of You"
"The Sky of You is an invitation into a world of feelings," Jyoti tells us. "It's in a sense a whole, a landscape of different emotions. Periods and commas are strewn throughout this world, by way of intentional sounds and lyrics. The album explores meaning, love and shelter within the forces of nature present in our bodies, while the outside world struggles to keep up with artificial, technological processes."

Jyoti created this album together with numerous Dutch and international artists, in a time where it was impossible to meet up. This resulted in her carrying a huge load on her shoulders. The explains how proud she is of everyone, having been able to pull this off in spite of a mountain of challenges.

"Working together with different artists is always special, inspiring and important to me. Take, for example, my cooperation with artist Gerard Boymans. Had I not come across his work, I would not have created the first track of The Sky of You. The Sky of You allowed me to connect with a plethora of artists, each of whom has rightfully earned a piece of my heart and their place on the album."
"Sometimes, a dream seems perfectly logical and imaginable while you experience it, right up to the moment you wake up. Then, you might ask yourself how on earth you could have dreamt those things. A dream takes shape on a plane of consciousness completely different from our mundane awareness."
Cover of "Vision"
The opening track of the album, Vision, is a fantastic example of the power of such a cooperation. Jyoti recounts: "This track came into being only after I saw Gerard's visual work. Watching those images inspired a vision in me, symbolically depicting the current crisis. I became filled with inspiration to turn this wonderous experience into sounds. I spent weeks exploring the perfect sound scape, which led to Vision, and to my wonderful cooperation with Gerard."

Vision is a primarily instrumental piece. This allows the listener to interpret the sounds and images in their own, personal way. Despite this, Jyoti believes the song has a clear meaning. She explains how each of us battles the religious, political, cultural and personal conditionings and beliefs which produce harm instead of pure love. The music of Vision and the images of Elements [Gerard Boymans's project], symbolise a deep purification from the acts that are destroying our natural world in the name of power, progress and evolution."

In this regard, Jyoti is critical of the way in which we as a people have become less and less aware of the world that surrounds us and the processes that shape us. Though, in an interview with Krant van de Aarde, Jyoti relays what she hopes for: "Each of us is born with two skills: a healthy dose of curiousness and inquisitiveness. Throughout our lives, this changes. We forget where we have come from, who we truly are, and how we treat our world and each other. We need to return to our true selves."
Jyoti was born with macular dystrophy, which causes scar tissue to form on the macula, a part of the retina of the human eye. Because of this, Jyoti cannot see any details. She accepted this a long time ago. In an interview from 2014, she said: "I deal with the fact that I can only see blurry silhouettes. I'm used to it." How is music impacted when such a sense, which so many of us take for granted, disappears? Jyoti explains how this sometimes leads her to play the piano using her other senses instead. "Music became a journey to become fully present in every frequency of a note."

In a different interview, with KunstNetTV, Jyoti recounts that when she was eight years old, her parents bought a piano. "I was so happy! This means that I suddely had ten extra voices or fingers I could use to express the sounds and feelings I heard in my mind." Those voices resonate in Jyoti's multi-layered compositions and do seem to address your senses of imagination. Each piece is a world for you to see with your eyes closed. The lyrics support this. Have a read:
Fool in me
Here I am under fire
All on empty ground
I put on my wings and fly
Hotter than blood
Here behind the veils
she dances upon the chests
of many names and varied costumes
running down the hill
will you bury them then
Build me a Sea
Ashes Bones Sand and Stones
Take me closer
Light falls over
Streams run lost
Like my mournings,
Never come and never go
Landscapes, shaped and coloured brightly by heartfelt, internal emotions and needs, become powerful elements before your eyes. Is this Jyoti's way of reconnecting us with our deeply hidden self-hood?

"The Sky Of You is an album created through intuitions and feelings. I like to compare the creation process of this album to the way we dream. Sometimes, a dream seems perfectly logical and imaginable while you experience it, right up to the moment you wake up. Then, you might ask yourself how on earth you could have dreamt those things. A dream takes shape on a plane of consciousness completely different from our mundane awareness."

As a child, Jyoti always wanted to become a pilot. This proved impossible due to her loss of sight. Nonetheless, we are convinced that each day, she can fly across vast lands in the musical worlds she created.
The Sky of You will be released on 25 June 2021 by OOB Records. You can listen to the first song, Vision, by clicking here.

Please follow Jyoti via her website or via Facebook and Instagram. And if you've been inspired by her story, please consider supporting her with a pretty penny:
React to this blog