Episode 16: Sananda Maitreya on why he’s “a Beatle for life”
Play • 40 min

When Sananda Maitreya first heard the Beatles, he felt a spiritual awakening. The son of gospel singer Frances Howard wasn’t allowed to listen to music that wasn’t gospel until he was 15 years old, but the Beatles were so ubiquitous, he says, that they couldn’t be contained. When he first heard “She Loves You,” the American singer/songwriter (formerly known under the stage name Terence Trent D’Arby) who catapulted to fame with the number 1 hit “Wishing Well,” says the sound and look of the Beatles were “so alien and yet so familiar at the same time that it was utterly captivating. Growing up in predominately Black culture at that particular time, the way the music seemed to fit so perfectly into the culture … It just felt like something ordained by God.”

As a young man, Maitreya trained as a boxer, served in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in West Germany and worked as a band leader. Then in 1987 he released his debut solo record, “Introducing the Hardline,” which netted him a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance. His twelfth studio album, “Pandora’s Playhouse,” is out now.

On this episode of Everything Fab Four, Maitreya and host Ken Womack talk about all things Beatles, from Ringo’s drumming to the birth of a white blues with “Hard’s Day Night.” Maitreya also takes a deep dive into his spiritual connections to John Lennon and Prince, and tells Ken the story of the time he and George Harrison had a mystical experience together.

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