Harpaul Alberto Kohli (better known as Ori Uplift) — the owner and CEO of Abora Recordings and host of the weekly Uplifting Only radio podcast on DI.fm and iTunes — was born in Washington, DC, in 1980, to a father from India and a mother from Ecuador. He grew up surrounded by music from different cultures and played piano for seven years, but never expected he’d engage with music in any capacity except as a listener.
Then in 2007 he saw a Tiesto music video while exercising at the gym and loved it. He began discovering more trance and then showing his favorite tracks he loved to friends. But he was settled into his career as an macroeconomist, successfully publishing papers and doing research; it made no sense to start working on music.
Then came the 2009 Paul van Dyk concert in DC. After it, four evangelical college girls approached him to very oddly ask for a blessing. Turned out they were visiting from 900 miles away and had no way to get back to the aunt where they were staying. Ori gave them a ride: it took 2 hours to get there and 2 hours to return home. Given his busy schedule that would seem a waste of time. But he had been playing his favorite trance tracks to them in the car, and he found sharing his favorites so fulfilling that the four hours lost driving actually seemed more than worth it to be able to spend 2 hours sharing his favorite tracks to four people he’d never see again in his life.
The next day he decided he had to be a dj. He started working on his track database and soon started his Psalms Trance project, where he’d make trance music with lyrics from the book of Psalms, and for which he founded a non-profit record label in 2011. As very few of his friends knew anything about trance music, he created, also in 2009, a website to introduce friends to trance.
The transforming event in his musical style had been discovering Andy Blueman’s Everlasting while browsing Youtube. Blueman’s angelic, breathtaking, emotionally powerful brand of orchestral uplifting trance made Oriand many of Blueman’s other fansfeel almost as if they were flying with angels in heaven. After discovering yet more orchestral uplifting artists, Ori decided that the central criteria for any song he loved was that it be beautiful and spiritually uplifting.
By 2010 Ori had become friends with SoundLift and the then-owner of Abora Recordings, and with some friends recorded and made his first two draft psalms trance track. Finally, in mid-2012 the then-owner of Abora decided to retire from the secular music world and gave Ori the whole label. Ori took the label and focused on attracting top artists and staff and developing the genre of non-clubby orchestral uplifting music.
Since then, Abora has blossomed into the world’s top label for orchestral uplifting trance, home to the majority of the genre’s top artists, and has sprouted successful sublabels in many other genres. It was rated the #7 trance label in the Trance Podium 2014 Awards and listed as one of the best trance labels by Trance for Infinity.
It’s enjoyed success in the broader EDM music world too: Since the fall of 2012, Abora has won the Future Favorite on Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance eleven times, more than any label except Armin’s Armada itself.
He has also had success with his weekly Uplifting Only radio podcast, which aims to be the definitive and leading show for the orchestral uplifting genre:
Uplifting Only was rated the #7 “Best Radioshow/Podcast/Cloudcast” in the Trance Podium 2014 Awards, and was ranked one of the top five trance podcasts for working out by Trance Hub (ranking first for yoga and pilates).
Ori has also ranked well on the Beatport charts. Two of his mixcompilations based on his show reached the #1 spot on the Beatport release charts (trance and chillout), and two more have reached #2 on the trance charts. A total of 7 of his mixcomps or tracks have reached the top 5 on the Beatport charts.
No surprise Trance Hub named him one of six “Artists to watchout for”. You’ll be seeing more and more of him as he focuses on uplifting the general public with beautiful euphoric uplifting melodies and sounds!