Artist: Leigh Ann Phillips

mikaelcoversmallWhile the healing qualities of music and sound have been known since ancient times, in our contemporary culture, music has evolved more as a vehicle for entertainment. However, a shift has been happening that has many people creating and listening to particular kinds of music for its therapeutic benefits. From the devotional chanting of Snatam Kaur to the brainwave music of Steven Halpern (whose recent release was the first sound healing album to be nominated for a Grammy) there is increasing interest in music’s more esoteric and uplifting qualities. Leigh Ann Phillips is an award-winning singer songwriter, sound healing practitioner, lecturer, and teacher who is on a mission to merge sound and music to assist people in leading more fulfilling lives in healthier bodies.


Classically trained in voice and piano, Leigh Ann went on to chart her own course in music incorporating spirituality and holistic health. In her words: “One of the most powerful tools of healing and transformation is the human voice. It is the only sound instrument we have access to that resonates from the inside out.” I found that to be an interesting perspective, and one, which I hadn’t quite thought of in that way. She goes on to say: “We have the capability of improving our health and well being dramatically by using and understanding the power of sound. Sound healing is a direct path to establishing new neurological networks that create the conditions for increased happiness and health. Relaxation plays an important role in slowing brain states and releasing emotional blocks that allow dis-ease in the body.” In addition to her enchanting ethereal vocals, Leigh Ann uses crystal bowls, tuning forks, Tibetan tingshaws, harp, and more to promote the healing effect of sound.  Currently residing in Hawaii, Leigh Ann has traveled the US as well as internationally for her sound healing work, which includes workshops, trainings, and sessions. She also runs a retreat center in Colorado as well as a non-profit foundation, which is dedicated to education and promoting the benefits of sound and vibrational healing. In addition to all these activities, Leigh Ann is also a recording artist.


Leigh Ann PhillipsMIK’AEL is her fifth studio CD and is a collection of sacred mantras dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The album was co-written and produced in Los Angeles by Thomas Barquee who has an extensive background in producing spiritually focused music. He also added keyboards, bass, and vocals. A number of other top-notch musicians also lent their talents on flute, guitars, percussion and Eastern instruments such as sarod, harmonium, santoor, and oud, bringing a bit of world music influence to the recording. Leigh Ann’s vocals are sung in the Enochian language and resonate with an angelic quality. In addition to voice, she also adds atmospheric resonance and bell-like harmonics on the quartz crystal singing bowls. From the opening of the first track,  there is a deeply mystical vibration that the music exudes. Interestingly, after listening to the music on speakers, I tried it with headphones and discovered an even deeper dimension to the sound, especially on the vocals, which were multi-tracked and enhanced with reverb. I also appreciated how the accompanying instruments add a distinctly musical quality and a sense of the piece being a composition compared to the repeating mantra-like format of some chanted devotional music. A music video of this song with beautiful nature photography can be seen on Youtube.


On a track called “SUN,” I liked how the meditative air of the first half gave way to a percussive groove provided by hand drums and percussion. The use of digital echo on one of the percussion sounds, added a modern touch to the ancient ambience of the song. One of my favorite tracks was “Tarofe,” which had a deep soulful feel in the verses that contrasted beautifully with the lighter uplifting choruses. And speaking of uplifting, the music takes flight on “Wings,” with Leigh Ann’s multi-tracked vocals creating a heavenly choir midway through the piece. The album draws to a Grace-full conclusion with a 12-minute track called “Zodacare,” which provides a wonderful heart expanding experience.  I found the song’s gently haunting refrain re-playing in my mind for quite a while after the piece ended.


InstrumentsMIK’AEL is at once worldly and otherworldly as it blends earthy instruments with heavenly vocals to create a listening experience that is both meditative and moving. This is music that was created with great intention and purpose. In Leigh Ann’s words: “Sound can be a direct path for shifting consciousness for the better, allowing greater intelligence, deeper relaxation, less stress, and more creativity. Sound helps breaks open our perceptual boxes and allows us to expand our consciousness. If we are open to new experiences and allow ourselves to trust our intuition we can experience life with more joy, less stress and more synchronicity. Einstein was quoted as saying that ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ I think he was spot on, and sound can help open the pathways of the mind to enhance imagination.” With MIK’AEL, Leigh Ann Phillips has created a transportive sonic journey that is sure to stir the imagination and inspire the Spirit.