This profile was published as part of Gandhi’s Be Magazine’s #ProfilesofChangemakers series, uplifting the stories, lives, and work of Changemakers who are being the change they wish to see in the world.
NYC-based Singer-Songwriter & Gandhi’s Be Magazine Artist For Peace Kristin Hoffmann opens hearts to the important social and environmental issues of our time through her music, covering World Ocean’s Day, Global Woman Peace Foundation Walk to End FGM, and Standing Rock, just to name a few… Follow her monthly BE~Cause Awareness Song and Blog on Gandhi’s Be Magazine!
1. How did you become involved in this type of work and advocacy/activism?
In my late 20’s I started to realize the true power of music as a way to super boost important worldly issues and messages. In 2007, I felt a calling to write and record “Song for the Ocean,” an original piece, in preparation of performing at a big Ocean awareness summit in St. Petersburg, FL, highlighting the final push and momentum to make World Oceans’ Day an official UN recognized holiday. At the event, I looked out at 1,000 people, standing and holding hands, singing about the Ocean, tears running down cheeks, and I had a major “Ah Ha” moment around the future direction of my music as a powerful emotional based activism tool, rather than being merely about the music itself. From that point forward I began to advocate for various causes through the vehicle of song, creating pieces to bring awareness to the decline of bees, factory farming, the effects of war, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), peace, the plight of the American Mustang and celebrating virtues like “Love and Gratitude” and “The Golden Rule.”
I am so grateful to wake up every day and have the opportunity to use music as a beautiful and powerful melodic conversation modality around issues that are difficult to talk about. I truly believe that the music opens up an important heart space that makes challenging topics much easier to approach and digest.
2. Who were your biggest role model(s)? Who was your biggest inspiration?
I have been inspired by so many people throughout my life…to name a few: Louise Hay, Lama Surya Das, Krishnamurti, Osho, Mahatma Gandhi (of course!), Sister Jenna, Sigur Ros, my mother Nancy, and my beloved music, art and dance teachers throughout life. It is hard for me to say who my biggest inspiration is…I feel that I have been blessed by so many incredible guides in this life, some who I have known personally, and some who have deeply inspired me through their words and melodies. All inspirations have been invaluable!
3. How has your work impacted others? Please share some of the successes that have truly touched those involved…
I feel that my work has successfully highlighted important issues that many people are not aware of, opening hearts and minds to resonate and explore topics further, with a heightened awareness. A couple of my personal favorite examples, where I know my music has made an impact and taken on a life of its own:
-My “Song for the Ocean” project has now been shared and sung by people of all ages around the world, in support of countless water and Ocean related issues, from efforts to ban shark finning, to beach clean-ups, to consciousness-centered healing water ceremonies around the world. The next exciting “Song for the Ocean” journey will be a performance of the symphonic/choral version of the piece at Sydney Opera House on August 29th by 700 Australian children…a dream come true!
-My song “Global Woman P.E.A.C.E,” was written to raise awareness for the violent practice of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), which has effected the lives of hundreds of millions of women worldwide and even has a significant presence, albeit a hushed one, in the USA. The Global Woman P.E.A.C.E foundation adopted the song as their official theme song and played it at the finish line for their FGM walk on the Washington Mall last October. I will join them for the annual walk in 2016 to perform and share the song and message live.
I regularly receive emails from people all over the world, sharing that my music has touched them and helped them through difficult times in their lives…this kind of incredible feedback helps me to always remember and understand the importance of my mission and keep the music and awareness flowing!
4. What have you learned from the journey and experience along the way so far? Any unexpected challenges or surprises?
Ha ha! Well…one of the most important things I have learned is that there are ALWAYS going to be unexpected challenges and surprises! From this beautiful journey of following my passion and sailing into the unknown, I have learned to be a better navigator! Sometimes we are sailing on calm, sunny seas…and sometimes the waves crash over you and lightening pounds the waters. This is the nature of life and creation. When I/we begin to embrace the fullness of the journey, and all of its expressions, then we become much more powerful, peaceful and poignant travelers. I believe if we approach life, in the macro sense, and our individual projects, in the micro sense, from this space of the patient and present navigator, we always find the solutions we need and can be open to the many unexpected blessings that we will attract from that place of openness.
5. How has your experience changed your life, your outlook, your interactions with others and with regard to your advocacy/activism?
My experience with musical activism and healing has opened me up to a whole new world of sharing and interdependence. My previous years as a musician going through the mainstream “entertainment based model” of the music industry often felt very isolating and “Me oriented.” Amidst this model, I always felt that I needed to get approval from “higher ups” in the biz in order to move forward with my ideas…and often music with spiritual based, worldly themes were not embraced as much as love songs, break up songs etc. These restrictions felt in conflict with my soul path and did not fully allow me to express who I am as an artist.
When I finally stepped into the space of using music as a vehicle for universal worldly messages, my whole life began to flow, and for the first time, I felt in total alignment with my path. Now every interaction, conversation or inspirational moment with others is an opportunity for a new musical sharing about the world and our Humanness!
6. Where do you see yourself 5 years, 10 years from now?
Now that I am fully embodying my life’s focus, I believe the expressions and opportunities to share on a worldly scope will continue to grow in size and capacity over the next 5-10 years and lifetime. My goal is to reach as many people as possible with a musical experience of insight, peace and heart opening. I truly believe the more that people have the opportunity to step into an emotionally based awareness experience, even for a brief time, the more they can embrace compassion and empathy for fellow humans, animals and planet Earth.
7. What will your legacy be and what will others glean from your experience?
My legacy will be that I “gave voice” to messages and people who needed to be heard during these times of incredible change in our world. That I brought listeners to a shared space of peace, love and awareness, through the vehicle of music and sound…so that they could feel the re-sparking of their own unique worldly voices, and have the courage to start sharing their gifts in the world and compassion for fellow travelers. That I was a connector of light, reminding us all of the high-vibrational, love-centered sharing that is possible in day to day life and in our discussions, decisions and interactions.
8. Do you have anything else you would like to share with Gandhi’s Be Magazine readers?
I am infinitely grateful for the Gandhi’s BE Magazine community! From the beautiful dedication of Arun Gandhi to carry on the peace mission of his grandfather, to the tireless work of editors Missy and Melissa, to all of the readers of BE Mag who are dedicated to learning and sharing about peace in the world… I THANK YOU!!! It has been a true honor to be a part of this community and have a place to share music and awareness in such a creative form.