HE was raised a Hindu in South Africa, but at 9 years old his family converted to Christianity – this was the beginning of a life long spiritual journey for Newcastle musician Grego Pillay.
Pillay, who is a minister at the Toronto Seventh Day Adventist Church, has just released his first musical recording. Titled Never Let Go Pillay said he hopes the songs will inspire others to follow their dreams.
He was born to parents of Indian origin whose lineage is traced to indentured labourers who were brought to South Africa to work in the sugar cane fields.
The father-of-two said music has always been his passion, but was something he could not previously pursue.
“[There were] many reasons such as the political environment - apartheid - which isolated and denied many cultural groups from opportunities to excel in the fine arts,” Pillay said.
Despite racial prejudice and social adversity, Pillay pursued his dream to inspire people through his music.
He taught himself to play the guitar, piano, harmonica, saxophone and cello and is an accomplished gospel singer.
In 2007, with his wife Dr Jessica Maistry and their two children, he moved to Australia. Dr Maistry works at Sonic Health.
The 11-track album covers gospel, blues, country, classical, swing and light rock.
“It has a nice texture which will cater for every palate,” Pillay said.
“They are life stories, devotional and songs that speak to the soul.”
“It’s about a journey, where I found myself in South Africa – things were hard, things were difficult.”
He said he reached a stage in his life where he began to question the meaning of life, and was asking some of “the big questions”.
“Every young person tries to find answers, and I was asking tough questions within the Hindu faith,” he said.
“The idea of reincarnation … I was wrestling with this in my mind, I wanted to find meaning in the present life.”
“I had to find my own spiritual experience and find out what is going on.”
Pillay said coming to Australia had helped him realise who he was.
“I just wanted to thank the people of Australia for accepting me and helping me realise my potential,” he said.
Pillay said he never gave up on his dream of recording his own music and saw obstacles as “stepping stones.”
“When you tune out the voices around you and listen to your heart - then nothing is impossible,” he said.
Never Let Go is currently being pressed to CD and will be available in the coming days at Better Books and Food, Cooranbong, and can also be downloaded from iTunes.
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