ESSRA MOHAWK, WHOSE "Change of Heart" was last year's No. 3
hit single, sung by Cyndi Lauper, has written 300 songs. About
60 have been recorded and released. The rest lie in notebooks or
are being considered by performers. "Songs are like children —
you want to do the best for each one," says Mohawk, originally
Sandra Hurvitz, whose professional name came from her
ex-husband's surname and her nickname "Essie." Recently, singer
Fiona chose "Maybe It's Love," written by Mohawk and Mark
Mangold, for her new album. Mohawk says Sheena Easton, Belinda
Carlisle and Patti LaBelle are among those considering her
"My parents wrote songs,
and we all sang. When I was 12 or 13, my parents got me a piano.
At 14, I started writing and never stopped. I had my first album
deal at 15. I just kept filling up books." At 19, she met Frank
Zappa, in New York, and he asked her to play with the Mothers of
Invention, which she did for more than a year. A singer and
keyboardist, she has recorded six solo albums.
Her spiritual side:
She is a
Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist, a member of the sect whose chant means
"I devote my life to the mystic world of cause and effect
through sound." She began chanting nine years ago, "when I had
to change my karma... I've been chanting for specific things,
and I've been getting them.... My mother chants, too. We're
chanting for her to overcome her cancer.... As a Buddhist, the
way you experience benefit is to see it inside your life before
you see it outside."
"I try to write
songs which encourage people to continue, not give up. Your
potential strength is equal to the problems that come your way.
You should not be afraid to help others or to receive help. If
we could all cooperate, we could get more out of each moment.
Also, see problems as challenges and see your life as a quest.
In other words, look for the silver lining."