My face hurts from smiling. I love the Panza Foundation and am honored to be a recipient of their generosity. They provide something truly unique and very much needed in the Cleveland music community. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
In addition to playing dozens of shows this past year, experimental “one woman choir” Uno Lady became an Earthquaker Devices artist, and now incorporates many of Akron-made pedals into her creations. She was also part of Dark Songs, a week-long collaborative songwriting festival at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, WI which ends with a two day show at their local performance art theater, Third Avenue Playhouse. This coming year, Uno Lady plans to write and record a new album with the support of the Panza Foundation.”
June 9, 2017 – “The angel of illness arrives during the Lady Uno Concert. Her melodies come from whale songs. She says she casts spells and as I grow more nauseous I think she meant that literally. I excuse myself and go throw up. Food poisoning? Criticism should not acknowledge the limits of the critics body, I tell myself. But my body has a different idea. Uno Lady has a small podium with purple lights which she sits behind. The faint outline of a projector outlines the wall behind her.
She’s been doing this for a while, somebody whispers to me.
She describes herself as a “one woman choir” and the description seems apt. Have you ever had a moment when you know you’re watching a star? I don’t mean a celebrity. I mean somebody who pulsates like a light from a very long distance away which may or may not still exist. She loops her voice so tightly there’s almost no room for anything else, which works. The song “Underground,” feels like it could leap into a dance track at any moment but never does. Her lyrical imagery from the natural world combined with a stage presence which relies on skill over affect to compel you to watch join with her commitment to seeing a musical mood to its breaking point. Her material reminds me of a sonic world in between Joanna Newsom and Frank Ocean with a little bit of Joy Division thrown in there, but all happening on Venus. Or maybe just Cleveland in 2017.
I excuse myself, get info from the gallerist about what I’ve seen, and toss and turn under a spell, with a bowl next to my bed just in case it happens again, or I catch some starlight.” Full post here
Video by Chris Tran, Brad Throla and Jess France. Audio recorded by Jeff France at EarthQuaker Audio Recording Laboratory.
EarthQuaker Devices built me a pedal board and now my sound library feels limitless. I’m sonically inspired – like a jolt to my creative process. I’m playing around with Avalanche Run, Disaster Transport Sr., Levitation, Arpaniod, Bows, Afterneath, Transmisser, The Depths, Night Wire, and the Organizer. Check out each device here. EarthQuaker Devices pedals are handmade by fellow musicians and music lovers in Akron, Ohio and have a lifetime warranty.
AKRON, OH – “Cleveland’s Christa Ebert is a one-woman choir. As Uno Lady, she’s dazzled, confounded, and delighted audiences since 2007 with loop-based compositions for voice, found sounds, and effects pedals. Her avant-garde pop tunes combine doo-wop harmonies and ethereal soundscapes with layered and processed vocals, which range from a smoky tenor to operatic outbursts of melody.
In this performance of “Underground” she uses the Bows’ treble mode with the Afterneath and Disaster Transport SR to craft an ambient, slightly overdriven wordless backing vocal that sits tight in the mix before adding the melody. From her DIY suitcase podium, she builds layer upon intertwining layer of call-and-response vocal patterns that lift off into a dreamlike fugue state before engaging the Avalanche Run at the song’s end, using the reverse function to bring it all tumbling down, down to the “underground” of the song’s namesake.” –Arron Rogers, EQD
DANGEROUS MINDS – September 13,2016 – “Almost a decade ago, Cleveland music audiences began to be charmed and amused by a sprightly new presence known as Uno Lady, a memorable one-lady act with a seemingly preternatural gift for harmonizing, daft wordplay, and knob twiddling….
Music critics love mashing up well-known artists to define the essentially un-definable traits of what makes an artist unique, and I’m going to engage in a little of that now. Uno Lady is (more or less) one part Reggie Watts (you know, with the genius knob-twiddling), one part Laurie Anderson, and one part, ah, the Swingle Sisters, maybe? But it has to be emphasized that the overall tone isn’t like any of those people, it’s closer to a ‘New Sincerity’ figure such as Wes Anderson (whom she name-checks in one of her song titles)….
Today marks the premiere of her video for “Bikini Weeding,” which is the 5th track on Amateur Hour. The video was directed and co-produced by Uno Lady with Lauren Voss and Teresa Crockett of Sugarbowl Creative.”
“Wed 7/13 @ 6-9PM The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has dramatically upped the number of performances it’s presenting this summer, and its traditional free Summer in the City series, taking place outdoors on its plaza, is focusing mainly on the wealth of talent in our own backyard.
“Uno Lady aka Christa Ebert, who won a CPAC Creative Workforce Fellowship for her unusual music, which is created entirely by layering her voice with a sequencer to create dreamy, melodic tunes that are hard to resist. She’ll share the bill with indie rock quartet Goldmines whose moody sound is driven with an intense, if subliminal, energy.- Cool Cleveland
STURGEON BAY, WI – “40 musicians from across the country are getting together for the seventh annual songwriting project hosted by rockers pat mAcdonald and melaniejane at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay…. They’ll join much of mAcdonald’s ‘basic core of regulars,’ including acoustic musicians Mike Bleck and Elliot Goettelman, funk queen Kim Manning, alt-rocker Geri X, psychedelic bluesman Charles Boheme, one-woman choir Uno Lady, young indie musician Tarl Knight and others from a wide variety of musical genres.”
– Christopher Clough, Green Bay Press Gazette, October 29, 2015, full article
James Carlson, Examiner.com – “…Recently I had both the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Christa “Uno Lady” Ebert. The following is that interview in its entirety.
To begin, how about an introduction to Uno Lady?
My name is Christa Ebert and I perform as Uno Lady, a one-woman choir. I build songs using mainly my voice, a mixer, and a loop pedal. I started performing at various DIY venues in my hometown of Cleveland, OH in 2007.
Your music is rather unique, with very prominent vocals over a foundation of layered vocals, all of which is most comparable to experimental electro pop and atmospheric soundscapes. What inspired you to go this route as an artist?
New material is typically approached like a blank canvass. I create by building on top of sounds I find pleasing. I am the instrument, so unlike a singer/songwriter who uses a guitar, I am not limited to the parameters of chord progressions. At the same time, my music is shaped (and limited) by my capabilities. Most instruments are not within my current skill set so I make do with what I have.
I am not shooting for a particular sound. A beat or phrase pops in my head and I become mesmerized by it. My ears find places where my voice can fill-in the blanks. The songs usually reveal themselves as the layers and sounds expand. My hope is that my sound will grow with me as I learn new things and gain experience.
Amateur Hour, your latest release, which marks a decided personal and artistic evolution from your debut tape I Really Like Genetics But I’d Rather Have a Good Time, is only recently released. What did your songwriting and recording of these songs consist of?
I Really Like Genetics but I’d Rather Have a Good Time (2009) was me figuring out how to make it all work. Then there was the 7” Tacocat (2010) that features my first two looping creations- “Day Drinking” and “the Story of Everybody.”
I had performed and wrote sparsely in the years between those releases and Amateur Hour (2014) because I was awarded a scholarship to go back to school. The concept of Amateur Hour is about closing one chapter and moving forward. Half of it is material I was sitting on and wanted to finish, and the other half is new. Each side of the record has a different vibe. Side A is more playful and side B has an eerie feel.
I record everything myself in my home with a modest setup. The recording process was a determination whirlwind. I believe I spent 200+ hours recording in just over a month (in addition to working full-time). I was trying to get the record ready in time for tour, and I did with 1 day to spare! In the future, I want to be more true to my creativity and prioritize music more.
How has the Amateur Hour material been received so far?
Pretty great. I’ve had some nice articles and flattering compliments I wasn’t expecting. There were a few regional write-ups that put the record at the top of their favorite 2014 releases.
Do you have a favorite song, or songs, from the new album?
“Dear Wes Anderson, You Should Like This Song,” first known as “Temporary Waltz,” is about the best person you’ve never met, like an imaginary friend. Together you can fly and every moment is fantastic… but it isn’t real. It had such a whimsical yet melancholic feeling, I couldn’t help but be like, “This reminds me of a Wes Anderson film. I bet he’d like it.” and the name was born. I think some people assume the song is about him, but it isn’t. I’m not trying to be a creep, ha! The sound seemed compatible with his movies. Who knows, maybe his agent has Google alerts.
What have been some of your most memorable gig moments to date?
My recent release show at the Euclid Tavern in my hometown! People hollered so hard it startled me. I used to go to shows at the Euclid Tavern as a teenager. The place sat vacant for the most part until the Happy Dog, a local restaurant/music venue, decided to spruce up the place and reopen a second location there. My record release ended up being the first show there, so the place was packed with my favorite people. Nick Cross is a truly great musician; he and his brother perform as The Cross Brothers. Nick and Delaney Davidson, one of my favorite solo performers, played the song “Night Ride” with me on stage. The whole night was unreal.
In a one-man and one-woman band scene that is not just male dominated, there aren’t a lot of electronic artists, let alone vocal artists. In fact, you are the only one I can think of at present. Are you plugged into the one-man and one-woman band network, or do you consider yourself separate from that particular musical movement?
I’m on the weirdo outskirts of many musical genres. I consider other one-woman/ one-man bands comrades despite any musical differences. Being a one-person band is filling in the spaces using whatever you can. We are problem solvers, MacGyvers of the music world, creating sounds by any means necessary. We’re independent and determined individuals.
It is this underlying urge to create that drives us to make music, often in isolation. That’s where I feel we share common ground: Musical solitude. I have respect for other solo artists because making music on your own is tough!
Some of my favorite shows have been with other one-person bands. My recent record release tour was with Delaney Davidson, an extremely talented troubadour from New Zealand. At a one-man band festival in Denver back in 2009, I had the honor of opening for Reverend Beat Man, Reverend Deadeye, Two Tears (+ others). I wrote Alex Herbert, the organizer, a handwritten letter asking to be added to the bill. The festival wasn’t super packed with people but I did meet some of the most interesting performers, a few of whom I have stayed in contact with. I’m really glad it happened.
What’s next for Uno Lady? Any plans for shows, collaborations, songwriting, etc?
I have two recording ideas in the works. One of them is a Cleveland themed record, which will have a bunch of collaborations (and I’m pretty sure I am going to sample my friends pets for at least one song). I hope to go on a short tour May/June to NYC and surrounding areas, and up through the Midwest again in October.
Lastly, if there is anything I failed to cover, or anything you would like to express or discuss, please feel free to do so now. The floor is all yours.
Thank you, James, for your interest and taking the time to think of these considerate questions. I appreciate it.
I have a present for those who read this! I’d like to share that anyone can get the 2009 tape release ‘I Really Like Genetics but I’d Rather Have a Good Time’ for free and can download it here: http://unolady.com/download/
Nearly nine years ago I figured out how to turn ideas into compositions and started recording. Having strangers listen to and enjoy my music wasn’t really an expectation. It is flattering to say the least. I find it intriguing and rewarding that, in some way, my music can speak to others. Thanks for helping me spread the word!
By James Carlson, Examiner.com – “Cleveland indie singer/songwriter Christa Ebert, or Uno Lady, bills herself as a “one-woman choir,” and that is probably the most fitting description of what she is. That is to say, she is a one-woman choir insofar as her songs are born of the most human of instruments, the voice, in this case her voice, which she feeds through musical devices such as a microphone, small mixer and loop pedal. A minimalist endeavor, for sure, yet one that yields unexpected and impressive results: primary vocal tracks adorning layered vocals that act as the artistically interwoven threads with which the bodies of the songs are held firmly together.
On her latest album, Amateur Hour, in addition to her beautiful vocal deliveries and idiosyncratic soundscapes, Uno Lady incorporates lush, dreamy pop and psychedelic electro elements into her song structures here and there, and there are also compositions which feature the guitar playing and percussion of musician Nick Cross. And her efforts on Amateur Hour definitely show that she has evolved as an artist since her debut full-length album five years ago, I Really Like Genetics but I’d Rather Have a Good Time...”