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.
The artists residency at Chateau Orquevaux was magical and allowed me the focus needed to write and record 15 songs. I drove over 1,500 miles (about 2500km), down bumpy back roads and single lane highways through sunflower fields and wind farms.
The first song recorded was “Dream” by the Everly Brothers. This song has been dear to my heart for as long as I can remember.
I spent a few extra weeks in Europe and performed at LaDIY Festival in Strasbourg, France. I had two performances in Bern, Switzerland, at Cafe Kairo and Voodoo Rhythm Records Hardware Store. The last night of my trip I sang at La Pointe Lafayette, in Paris. I made friends that will be lifelong and was warmly welcomed by pals I haven’t seen in ten years.
I plan to share short stories of my trip throughout the year. If you’d like to stay updated, please subscribe to Unolady.com/subscribe
Since the residency, I’ve been staying busy and released a new record, OSMOSIS, on Volar Records. You can stream, download digital, or order a limited edition green vinyl here.
Here are a few videos and photos from my adventure.
“Sunrise,” was inspired by waking with the sun. Time lapse feature the view from my bedroom window at Chateau Orquevaux.
During the residency, the other artists and I took field trips around town and to nearby cities. While other artists sketched, I took photos and made up melodies. One of the stops was the old stone church in town. I asked if I could sing, and it was there my new favorite hobby was born: Singing in cavernous spaces and belting what feels right. During my trip I sang and recorded improv performances in 5 churches and 1 tunnel.
This next video is an improv performance at Cathédrale Saint-Mammès de Langres (Langres Cathedral) which was built in the 1100’s. It is the first video in the illicit hymn series. An illicit hymn: Singing, uninvited. A collaboration with the architecture and natural reverb. I am sorting through the footage. I hope to find a creative way to share these pieces other than youtube. I’ll keep you posted.
Lastly, I want to share with you the Cow Crooner video. While walking with the other artists, we passed by a pasture. I shared that I grew up in rural Ohio. As a child, there was a farm across the street that had cows and I would sing to them. They encouraged me to sing to this herd, so I did. To my surprise, the cows listened attentively and walk towards me. This is when my second favorite hobby was born: Cow Crooning. I serenaded a few herds throughout the trip and have more videos to share.
WCPM- 90.3FM Ideastream NPR- Uno Lady is Christa Ebert, who calls herself a one-woman choir. She uses digital equipment, a keyboard, her voice and live looping to create an enchanting wall of sound. This year, she traveled to France to participate in an artist-in-residency at Chateau Orquevaux. In 2018, she received an Akron Soul Train Fellowship and was a Panza Foundation awardee. Christa Ebert is now a board member of the Panza Foundation.