Singer/songwriter uses talents to promote peace

By  JAN AUSTIN

From a very young age, singer/songwriter, Karie Hillery, knew what she wanted to do with her life. As far back as age 2, there are pictures of me playing a toy piano with my mouth wide open,” she said.

Singing in the children’s choir at her church led to her role as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar when she was just 14. Singing was something I’d always loved, but getting that kind of validation from singing in front of a couple thousand people was great. After that, I graduated early from high school because I knew I wanted to do music and I didn’t want to mess around.”

With long golden tresses, sparkling blue eyes and a smile that lights up any room, this petite lady uses her music to inspire, empower and to promote peace. She describes her musical style as “conscious” music. She writes and sings from her heart with the intention of touching the hearts and souls of those who listen.

She has performed throughout Europe and the Untied States and has released seven CDs.

Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, Hillery now makes her home with her husband Alan in a peaceful Boulder Creek location. They recently celebrated the opening of her recording studio at their tranquil sanctuary.

“The studio is available,” said Hillery. “I’m available for hire. One of my recent clients just got picked up for a distribution deal. Most of the stuff on my CDs gets airtime. I’ve been on some major radio stations, so I know my production value is good enough for that. I’m always open to collaborating with people.”

A frequent performer locally at the Monterey Center for Spiritual Living, Hillery performs at new thought centers throughout the state. “The thread of spiritually-based music has alway run through everything I’ve created because I’m a spiritual being,” she said. “My music works well with the new thought centers. I’m also very much into empowering people, so I’ve also been able to work with motivational speakers and do retreats. It’s a niche where I feel that I can be very effective.”

With a goal of sharing her musical gifts to bring peace and healing, this diminutive dynamo succeeds in living the lyrics of one of her popular songs:  “I can do anything if I only believe.”

Hillery will be sharing her music at the Monterey Center for Spiritual Living on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m.

Local musician shares message of hope for planet on Earth Day

By LISA MEREDITH

BOULDER CREEK  -  Since the first Earth Day was celebrated some four decades ago, the theme of our interconnectedness and our responsibility to our planet has become familiar.  There is a new messenger in our midst who is delivering this idea with music and prose into her message of hope. 

     Meet Karie Hillery.  Local songwriter, musician, mentor, performer and producer from Boulder Creek, Hillery recently brought her multidimensional talk, “She’s the Earth” to enthusiastic audiences at Awakening Ways Spiritual Community and the Center for Creative Thought on the Central Coast. Hillery spoke and performed her original music, joined by her husband and business partner, Alan Linzer, who read selections from popular conservationists to emphasize the need to raise consciousness to protect our planet and take care of one another. This unusual approach created an integrated experience for the audience much different from a typical sermon.

     Hillery, a petite woman with knee-length Rapunzel-like golden hair and flowing dress, is far from typical. While her appearance would suggest a light, ethereal voice, she speaks in an oratorical manner and sings with more power than one would expect. She says her deep affinity for the planet comes in part because she shares her birthday with Earth Day, April 22. “We are all part of a connected web that we need to be aware of, and gentle with,” she said.

     Linzer read a quote from John Muir to epitomize her philosophy:  “Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”

     Hillery spoke in passionate tones, “This is our home. While some people feel that everything is here for man’s use and abuse, I personally believe we are to be stewards of the earth.”

     “The resources on earth are a gift to us,” she continued, “like a bank account to use wisely.” Redwoods are a gift that is especially revered by Hillery, and have become her living metaphor.

     “Redwoods don’t have tap roots,” she pointed out, “they have a web of roots that go 500 feet or more which is why redwoods suffer almost no windfall because they are so well connected beneath the earth. Not deeply, but they hold on to each other.”

     Just as one root interlocks with others and makes a difference in the strength and wellbeing of the redwoods, Hillery believes that just one person can make a difference. They don’t have to be a Martin Luther King or a Mother Teresa to live the Gandhi motto, “Be the change you want to see.”

     Her heartfelt song, “One Drop of Water” illustrated in a poignant way the irrevocable effect that just one woman, Rosa Parks, had on the social consciousness of the Civil Rights era and most importantly how Parks did not intend to set out to “cause a revolution” but instead to “become part of the solution.”

     Hillery’s solutions on recycling included bringing your own containers to restaurants to store leftovers instead of using Styrofoam cartons, and wearing layers of clothing to avoid high thermostats.

      A singer and pianist from the tender age of two, Hillery demonstrated a unique style that easily crosses genres of blues, jazz, gospel, and pop, reminiscent at times of Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt and Sarah McLachlan.

     Today she combines her twin passions for music and nature in a most harmonious way. In rich, strong tones, accompanied by keyboards she sang her message:

“She’s the earth, she’s our mother

She loves us and we love her

For providing us with everything we need

She holds tremendous power when she shakes we run we cower

And there are times when she has brought us to our knees.

Through it all she will embrace us, shine the warm sun on our faces

Teaching us to be the best that we can be”

Hillery will perform selected works from this presentation at the Center for Spiritual Living, 1818 Felt Street. Santa Cruz on Wednesday, May 11. For more information on other upcoming concerts or events, contact Hillery at www.karie.com or (831)703-4184.

I have to tell you, I had a bad day that included dealing with a person who could be very draining and disempowering but I came home and got out your “Into the Deepening” CD, took some good deep breaths and allowed music to heal me.  Thanks so much.  Love and Peace,  Beth

It was just great reconnecting in Burlingame, Karie, and to experience your beautiful music again.  (It is experiencing your music; not just hearing!) I am very excited that you want to bring your love and wisdom to gather women in Santa Cruz and to be part of the GTW RC Circle.  - Joy A

I wanted to ask also of you could send a couple more copies to me , especially the one "Journey into Deepening" that you created for our GTW -- I loved the songs and want to share them -- and also to send one to my soul sister, Dorothy in Texas---  Diane J

It was such an addition to the 2010 GTW to have your lovely, lyrical music in the back and foreground of circle. I hum and sing your music and am eager for time to listen in quiet to the CDs.  - Karen M

Hey beautiful, I find myself singing your original GTW song almost every day...so great to have deepened with you, stay in touch!  - Xoxo  Suzy K

Hey Karie,
 I am enjoying the CD that you made for the GTW gathering so much. I am wondering if you would have a few more that I could buy for friends  - Elizabeth B

"Karie.. I've been enjoying your beautiful CD since returning home. It was great to meet you in person. You are astonishing!". - Bev K

Thanks again for your beautiful contribution to GTW and to the world.  You made my experience at our gathering very memorable and special.  - Mary Kay C

Just as I thought would happen, Karie, YOUR music constantly wove the feminine connectedness of us all (Indra’s Net!) together the entire conference!  What you created, whether softly in the background or out front so everyone could MOVE and physically JOIN IN to the songs, was always the perfect and right choice for the moment!  Thank you, THANK YOU for everything, including your own lovely divine Self, that you brought to the experience for everyone!! I hope our paths cross again some day, my friend!  Much love, in sisterhood ~ Xoxox mary

I enjoyed meeting you so very much at our GTW "Journey Into Deepening" weekend.  Your spirit lives in me as I go forward - home.

 Blessings and Love, Mary Kay

     We’ve all heard about the importance and urgency of taking care of the only planet we’ve got, right? And how we’re all interconnected with each other. Well, this message may be quite familiar but this time the messenger delivers it with a refreshing new approach interspersing relevant music, affirmations and meditations throughout.

     Karie Hillery, local songwriter, performer and producer, from Boulder Creek, is the guest speaker and musician at the Center for Spiritual Living in Los Gatos this Sunday. Her topic, “She’s the Earth” brings to our consciousness the dire need for preserving our planet and caring for one another. She shows how one person can make a difference.

     She recently gave this talk at the Unity Temple in Santa Cruz and had the audience mesmerized. To emphasize her point, she intersperses her talk with original music performed by her and her band, Karie & Kompanie and utilizes pertinent and profound selections read by her husband and partner, Alan Linzer, creating more of an integrated experience for the audience than the typical Sunday sermon. The quote by Ted Perry epitomizes her philosophy: “Man did not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”

   “We are all part of a connected web that we need to be aware of, and gentle with,” Hillery said expounding on the theme.“This is our home,” she explained,” while some feel that everything is here for man’s use and abuse, I personally believe we are to be stewards of the earth. She is pleased to point out that this mentality is beginning to shift in the religious community. “The earth is a gift to us,” she continued, “like a bank account to use wisely. Every time a species goes extinct, we are defaulting on our account.” Quoting Alan Eddison, Linzer cited: “Modern technology owes ecology an apology.”

     Redwoods, so abundant in the Santa Cruz Mountains are a living metaphor for Hillery.“Redwoods don’t have tap roots,” she pointed out, “they have a web of roots that go 500 feet or more, which is why redwoods suffer almost no windfall because they are so connected beneath the earth. Not deeply, but they hold on to each other.” Included in this theme of interconnectedness and our shared responsibility to our home, the planet, is the reminder that just one person can make a difference and they don’t have to be a Martin Luther King, a Gandhi, or a Mother Teresa to live the Gandhi motto, “be the change you wish to see.”

     The song, One Drop of Water, illustrated the irrevocable effect that one woman, Rosa Parks, had on the social consciousness of the Civil Rights era and how Parks did not set out to “cause a revolution” but instead become “part of the solution.” Hillery pointed out that there are simple, practical things we can all do to help preserve our environment for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Her experience living and touring abroad influenced her choice to recycle extensively. “Did you know they charge for grocery bags in Switzerland ?” She asked rhetorically. “How’s that for reminding you to bring your own bag?” This inspired her to hang reusable cloth bags on her doorknob to remind her to bring her own bags back to the car when she shops.

     She shared several common sense tips such as bringing your own containers to restaurants for leftovers instead of using Styrofoam; choosing reusable cloth rags and napkins instead of paper products; weatherproofing your home; wearing layers of clothing to avoid a high thermostat; carpooling or biking; combining trips to have efficient gas mileage. Even choices of household cleaners make a difference. Environmentally “friendly green” products such as baking soda and vinegar are perhaps two of the most unknown yet inexpensive and environmentally positive choices we can make. Preserving Mother Earth requires a raised consciousness, Hillery said. “Dumping oil down a storm drain is an act of violence to our planet.”

     Hillery says she has a special affinity for the planet in part because she shares her birthday with Earth Day, April 22. Nature has always had a soothing effect on her. She recalls feeling devastated when her parents cut down a magnificent walnut tree to build a pool in the backyard of her childhood home in Los Angeles . “My friends thought I’d lost my marbles,” she laughed, “because I wouldn’t swim in it for a long time.” An overgrown nursery in her neighborhood became her private oasis to contemplate and provide inspiration for the many songs she’s written.

     Her love of music now combines with her passion for nature in a most harmonious way. To see this diminutive woman stride onstage in her long dress and flowing knee-length golden hair, you expect to hear a small, wispy, airy voice. Instead, she sings her message in rich, strong tones complemented by luscious instrumentation: “Start the healing Stop the violence, Try a little love. I will not stand by in silence I can change the world! I will be that love” Hillery, who has been singing and playing piano from the age of two, has a unique style that easily crosses genres of blues, jazz, gospel, pop and just about everything in between. She has released seven original CDs that feature her versatility. Listening to her rich vocals invokes varied influences of Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Bonnie Raitt, and even Michael McDonald.

     Passion and emotion come through Hillery’s performance creating a lasting and memorable bond with her audience. Hillery has toured Europe and America and currently performs in a variety of venues throughout California including county fairs, wineries, women’s retreats, house concerts, clubs, bookstores, and churches. Positive, motivational, empowering and inspirational music is Hillery’s focus. In addition to performing and speaking, Hillery wears several other hats in the music industry. She is a songwriter, composer, mentor, and produces CDs for other aspiring artists in her Boulder Creek studio.

     This Sunday, Hillery is the guest speaker and musician at the Center for Spiritual Living, 550 Hubbel Way , Los Gatos , at 10:30. The talk is “Season of the Earth.” On Friday, July 16; she appears at the Bing Concert Series at the Stanford Medical Center , 875 Blake Wilbur Drive , Palo Alto at 12:30. She is the guest musician at the Unity Temple of Santa Cruz, 407 Broadway, on Sunday, July 18 at 10 am and presents the music and message there on Sunday, August 1. For more information, contact Hillery at www.karie.com or call her at 703-4184.

  In just over a week, the global community will celebrate a very important day: the International Day of Peace, otherwise known as Peace Day. Although there are somewho will scoff at the idea for one reason or another, we at TheDreamContinued are celebrating it with our hearts and voices and actions. This week's featured artist, Karie Hillery, sums it up in her song, "One World."

CD cover

One world... it's up to you.

One world... it's up to me too.

One world... just look what love can do. 

Karie's song reflects a philosophy shared by many other artists at TheDreamContinued:  Being honest about the many problems in our world, but taking responsibility and remaining hopeful that we can create something better. She notes that, as one world, we all share "laughter, joy, pride, and shame" -- the good and the bad, so to speak.
 
I met Karie when she came down to Los Angeles for our CD release party and MLK birthday bash last January, and though I didn't get to spend much time with her, I can say that she radiated sincerity and optimism. These two qualities clearly shine through in her music. Check out her song, "One World," her website, and her youtube video on our New Artist page.
 
The youtube video features the song, "Angels." In it, she sings of the everyday angels in our lives. During the production of this project, I have been blessed with meeting many angels. A few are listed on Our Angels page -- but I continue to send my thank yous to many others (including my mom, who has been helping us with some awesome youtube videos).
 
Each one of us has countless opportunities to be somebody's angel -- or, perhaps to be an "angel of peace."  If you haven't already done so, check out the International Day of Peace websites: www.internationaldayofpeace.org and www.cultureofpeace.org to find out more about Peace Day -- and how you can be an angel of peace.
 
Peace... pass it on!

     A longtime musician and performance artist, Hillery brings her melodic vocals to the listener here in this spiritual CD. Most notable on this work are first, "Only One Of Us Here", and second, "The Power of Now".

     "Only One Of Us Here" is a testament to not only understanding prejudice, but rather, putting it to rest once we understand that we truly are all created by God ~ and all one, no matter what we look like. In Hillery's words, "...goodness can come when I see all as one..." is a wonderful thought to keep in mind as the listener goes about their daily world.

     In her work "The Power of Now", the listener is reminded that the choice is ours to make a difference, the choice is ours to embrace the love that is eternal from above. This is set to music with the lyrics "...the power of One voice, the power in each choice, the answer in each heart..." which lets the listener know that it is up to each one of us to not only know that we can, but to make a difference in our lives.

   This spiritual CD continues on with other great songs such as "Rock of God", which speaks of building your life on faith, and "Knowing", which relates to that freedom of knowing ~ knowing we are a child of God, and that the spirit of Christ lives within each one of us. This CD is not necessarily a Christian CD, although one or two songs speak of Christ and God ~ to the listener they will find that it speaks to the soul and the path that we all take with our own faith and sense of spirituality.

Karie's Upcoming Performances

  • Aug 27
    Center for Spiritual Living,  Monterey
     
  • Sep 10
    Living Beyond Limits - CSL Lakewood,  Lakewood
     
  • Sep 17
    Unity of Walnut Creek,  Walnut Creek
     
  • Sep 24
    Center for Spiritual Living,  Monterey
     
  • Oct 8
    Center for Spiritual Renewal,  Fountain Valley
     

Song Samples

TESTIMONIALS

I've been listening to your CD Together We Rise. I LOVE it! Such inspiring words, and you sound magnificent!
Much love, Barbara
 
Karie,
We appreciate your music soooo much. 
We play your cds everyday or when we really need some solace. 
Just wanted to say how we enjoy your music.
Thanks for everything. We wish all the best and happy new year. Blessings support peace harmony calmness - Suzanne and Lyle
 
Hi Karie.  Thank you for your sweet note. Just want you to know that I am enjoying your CD very much, and particularly love In the Silence. I will be using it for my morning meditation.  Can't wait to share your music with my Sacred Circle.  I know we will meet again. Much love, Denise
 
Dearest Karie,    You were marvelous yesterday.  You added so much to the event, especially with your special song.  You are so wonderful to do this for us, to give of your time and talent.  Everyone had such a good time.  So many said it made their day!  Love, Bobbie
 
I am back on Vancouver island and as I am emailing you, I have your CD playing -- and I love it-- We are all one  !
In love, light & Gratitude,  Diane

Thank you, Karie! Your talk was just what I needed to hear--really timely. And I'm so glad that I got to sit with you at lunch. You're so honest, funny, and wise--an original, authentic soul! With love, Barbara


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