Watch the video premiere for “Don’t Break My Heart.” Filmed at the Little Rose Tavern by Diana Hlywiak, “Don’t Break My Heart” features Christa Ebert (Uno Lady) with Cleveland musicians Beth Hiser (Bass), Theresa May (Trumpet), and Roseanna Safos (Drums).
LandEscape is an international art publication for established and emerging artists to engage in professional critique and artistic introspection, that aims to open the dialogue between artists and audience, between thoughts and their articulation.
Members / Instruments Christa Ebert, vocals and whatever I bang together for percussion
Years Active 2006 – present
Latest GROUNDED– released January 12, 2021
Favorite Local Artists Mourning [A] BLKstar
Current Album on Repeat Monster Rally – Castaways, Vol. 1
Currently ReadingReal Love, The Art of a Mindful Connection, by Sharon Salzberg
Favorite Venue to Perform I loved singing in the Superior Viaduct, the lower level of the Detroit Superior Bridge but that’s a rare occasion they let an art event happen there. Happy Dog feels like a second home so I love and miss singing there too.https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=917498454/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/minimal=true/
How is everyone holding up during this time?
I’m holding up alright. I cannot wait to hug all my friends this summer. I am used to recording and writing on my own. I craved time to create before covid and I have it now. It’s not the ideal situation nor inspiring but I’m doing my best to focus on the silver lining of this continuous catastrophe, stay safe, and fill my time with art. I have gotten better at giving myself permission to rest and move at a slower pace.
What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this past year?
Slowing down, we were made to collectively pause. The biggest lesson is reevaluating what is important in our lives and what is worth risking our health and happiness over. I think many people have a better understanding and recognize the impact our actions have on each other. Also, learning how to show love to family and friends without embracing each other.
I hope to find hand soap in every music venue bathroom moving forward.
Tell us about how this project got started?
I started recording as Uno Lady because I had to sing and create. Music is part of me. I wasn’t sure how to organize a band so I just started singing and layering into a music program and then people started to ask me to play shows.
Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?
My latest project GROUNDED released in two parts: A short film aired December 2020 and the album released digitally through Bandcamp January 2021. GROUNDED is mindfulness mantras, soothing songs, and guided meditations. The sights match the sounds. Slightly modulated, natural layers of vocal and video to help find peace in the present moment.
I filmed mostly in my backyard. Stop-motion animations were created with homegrown flowers and sweet potatoes, drawings and paintings. The film depicts a busy mind and uses hypnotic mantras to retrain focus. Some songs are lyricless, ambient, and the visuals abstract – others pieces feature natural sounds and have breathing exercises intertwined. The first track, “Thinking About Thinking” is a stop-motion animation that shows my MRI images with stop-motion thought bubbles floating through. The animated bubbles dissipate to show these thoughts and emotions pass.
I’ve never had this much time to focus on a project and the quality is better than anything else I have made. I’m really proud of it and excited to share it.
Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?
I’m grateful to work with a few talented friends on this release. Sequoia Bostick added the hypnotic animations to a few songs: Ways We Wish The World Was, Ditch Resistance, Chill Out For One Minute, and Here Now. I added modulated nature visuals behind her animations.
Meditations are guided by LaToya Kent and Erica Snowden-Rodríguez. LaToya is a meditation teacher and musician who performs solo and as a part of Mourning [A] BLKstar. You can hear her calming voice guide you through the meditations Breathe and You Are Love. Erica plays cello in the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra and is Principal Cello at Erie Philharmonic and Principal cello at Akron Symphony Orchestra and guides the beautiful breathing exercise, Meditación.
Both artists were approached with a breathing exercise idea but allowed creative freedom. Written separately but together, the recordings were sent to me and then I composed vocals and music around their words. I’m so happy with the results.
What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with (Promotion, Recording, Merch, Booking, Touring, etc)?
Promotion and touring when it’s safe. I think Cleveland has so many wonderful musicians, amazing venues, and also manufacturing like GottaGrooveRecords, but we don’t have management services like booking, promoting, and labels. We’re stuck promoting ourselves in a town that takes pride in being an underdog. It can be challenging to get press or book shows outside of the local bubble.
Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?
Too many to mention but I really enjoyed receiving a handwritten note that read, “Do you yodel?”
What has your recording experience been like?
I love the recording process and sometimes it is my writing process. I record my home studio and use Logic Pro. Some of my songs are 40-70 vocal tracks so going into someone else’s studio is not the best fit. I’m pretty meticulous too and re-record those tracks.
What’s the next move?
I’m going to keep doing what I do, chip away at recording an excel list of 100+ songs, and hope a fitting opportunity comes along. I’d love to compose songs for films and that is why I began working with video art. I know I have more meditation songs in me. I have some songs and videos from a residency in France I’d love to finish. I got a jingle business idea in my pocket. The possibilities are endless
I spent all summer socially distant, researching, writing, growing flowers and filming nature in my backyard. For GROUNDED, I researched the healing effects of sound and mindfulness and listened to dozens of audiobooks through the Library. To create some of the songs (Here Now, Awaken the Peace Within, Binaural Bees) I’d meditate in the garden, film flowers, capture nature sounds, and then go into my studio to record. Every song was sung in a positive mindset with loving and healing intentions. Every flower filmed was captured in the hope of making you smile. At the very least, I hope sharing these pretty sights and sounds will help you zone out for 20 minutes and share ways to show love to yourself and the people you care about.
The album is made up of mindfulness exercises, mantras, and meditations. For it, I wrote minute long mantras of positive affirmations to balance out the experience of negative thoughts—and I feel like it has worked. Some mornings I wake up with a song called “Good Vibes” or “Four-Square Breathing Box” as my first morning thought rather than a.m. dread.
LaToya Kent is a musician and meditation teacher. She radiates love and is so cool and calm. I asked her to record meditations, gave her creative freedom, trusted her expertise and then wrote music around her words (Breathe, You Are Love).
Free time to focus on art is what I craved most, pre-pandemic. I decided to make something good come of a tragic situation. When life is full of worry, it’s important to balance perspective. Even when chaos is overwhelming, there are beautiful occurrences still happening. I recognizemy privilege. I can stay home. I have a home. I have a garden. How can I share these privileges while social distancing?
My music has a hypnotic meditative quality. Over the years people have requested I make more meditations. The first one I composed, 5 Minute Meditation (Amateur Hour, 2014) poked fun at my fleeting attention span. I didn’t realize it was relatable. For years, I have meditated and assumed that I was bad at it. I thought my overactive thinking was a unique curse. However, I misunderstood the mechanics of the brain. Now I know that we are all constantly thinking—organic machines are made for it. It is the judgement we tie to these thoughts that cause our suffering. Fighting and suppressing these throughs is pointless and only increases distress.
I am not a doctor, but I am a self-proclaimed expert at experiencing worry and anxiety. I share my vulnerability and path to peace through my art in hopes it helps you too. Making this album has helped me articulate and find a path to self-acceptance. It has allowed me to acknowledge my overthinking brain and offer it kindness and love. Since making this album, I have experienced moments of mental silence for the first time.
In the past, I wrongly assumed I was too antsy to meditate. I sought out learning different forms and it tried running, sitting, and standing. Chanting is what made me realize that I have been meditating my whole life. And I’m good at it. Singing is my meditation. It is deep breathing. Vocalization sends healing vibrations into the various parts of my body. Singing and songwriting is where I find flow and can be in the present moment. I think back at times when I was unable to sing, and remember feeling miserable, in pain, and experiencing mental distress. Songs are my soul singing. My breath is my spirit. Music is my medicine.
I hope this film helps you explore meditation in whatever form works for you. Please sing or hum along if you so desire. If it brings you joy, please do it. We can all use more moments of happiness right now.
This film is only a fraction of the record. The digital album will release early January through Bandcamp. There will be more meditation videos released then too.
GROUNDED is supported by the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
OSMOSIS assimilates ideas, sounds, and styles, from 60’s pop, folk, jazz, and soul. Vocals are the foundation. OSMOSIS is a soaring collection of 13 songs. It’s a colorful journey through a sonic dream world, and Uno Lady is your guide. Limited edition clear green vinyl released on Volar Records. The record comes with a digital download code.
OSMOSIS was written and recorded by Christa Ebert. Mixed by Christa Ebert and Mike Montgomery at Candyland Studios. “Don’t Break My Heart” and “Slow Dance with Resentment” was recorded/engineered by Jeanna Lax at Rogue Studios and features Roseanna Safros – drums, Theresa May – trumpet, and Beth Hiser – standup bass.
Cover photograph by Diana Hlywiak and cover font by John Greiner. Animated center vinyl label by Drew Tetz. Album artwork concept and layout by Christa Ebert.
FEATURING GUEST ARTISTS:
Roseanna Safros – drums (Sister Smirk, R Ring)
Erica Snowden-Rodríguez – cello (Erie Philharmonic)
Theresa May – trumpet (Mourning [A] BLKstar)
Beth Hiser – standup bass
Cross Brothers- Nick Cross – guitar + Tony Cross – percussion
THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR CREATIVITY ON THIS RECORD.
My aunt was going through old books and found this poem typed out on my great grandfather’s stationary. The words spoke to me so I made it into a song and video. I hope you like it. Footage is from Verdun, France, Strasbourg, France, and zinnias in Cleveland, Ohio. Field recordings include streams at Chateau Orquevaux and an art fair in Gruyères, Switzerland.