Cool Like That

Duncan Sheik, musician

"I had such a crazy morning and I didn't get to pray," says Duncan Sheik,
settling down into a lotus position in his airy Tribeca loft: beads in hand,
candles flickering, eyes darting behind closed lids. "This helps keep me
grounded." He rings a cowbell, and a few seconds later, an undulating moan
rises up from him, deep and gutteral, like a cow being poked in the ribs. Not
exactly your typical bowl-of-Wheaties head start on the day, but what do you
expect from a practicing Buddhist struggling with the existential demands of
pop celebrity? Given the stunning successs of his eponymous first album, it's
hardly surprising that the sensitive 28 year-old singer, whose smash hit
"Barely Breathing" was nominated for a Grammy, finds himself in need of
grounding. Especially now that his hypnotic new album Humming, has captivated
critics even more than his first. "There is a much more philosophical
approach to my new work," says Sheik, whose new CD offers homages to aging
rock stars and meditative ballads about the superficialty of fame. "That's
not to say there aren't any love songs on there," he says, with a bashful
smile. "But there is definately less of that forlorn, lost-in-love, Duncan
Sheik nonsense."