I am thrilled to share with you my presentation/home concert on peace. It can be viewed on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZzeK2xMj5I Over the past few months, I have studied with the Institute for Economics and Peace as I work toward becoming a Peace Ambassador. I have learned so much about peace through this program, and I hope that I can successfully convey some of this knowledge to you in this presentation. Also, thank you to those of you who contributed your thoughts on songs that mean or bring peace. (I play a couple of them in this video!) This really added to my total exploration of peace from angles of sound, culture, and personal interpretation. For more information on peace, please visit www.economicsandpeace.org and www.visionofhumanity.org.
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The NPR Tiny Desk Contest pushed me to make this acoustic-style recording of my song "Re-Imagine". Wanted to share! I quite like this recording setup, think I might do some more of it!
And, of course, here is my "produced" version of the song and the music video I released last year:
This song was really just my thoughts on a stormy day last year.. it felt like the world was out of control around me and ..well, you know, we've all witnessed it all together. It's been a wild time. However, I was also studying and reading and watching inspiring people, projects, and ideas..I realized that there was so much opportunity in the rebuilding that would have to be done. Courageous individuals and creative thinking meant that as hopeless as things might seem, the reality is limitless potential! We must constantly RE-IMAGINE what the world can be!
The world has been through some tough times recently, and this has put a spotlight on ways in which our systems may be unjust for humanity and unsustainable for the planet. I continue to hear this recurring theme of "re-imagining" our world. While I don't have all the answers for what that means, I know there are great minds that are encouraging each other with heart and passion to re-imagine a world that is equally kind to all creatures great and small and respectful of our home called earth. Where does your re-imagination lead you?
Humans have done some amazing things, perhaps the best of these is the ability to reflect on ourselves and attempt to be better, over and over again. We never reach perfection, but continue to evolve. It is both scary and exciting at the same time. Perhaps just the realization of this can set the stage for openness and creativity, and then empower us to be bold, take a risk, and try something new! It may be the most human thing we can do! #reimaginechallenge
This is a song in the works. I don’t remember a time I shared a song like this while it is still being completed, but I feel like being vulnerable and putting it out there today! This song is unique for me on several levels. For one, it’s the first time I named a song after a person – Eliza. Second, I typically sit on songs for a while before I ever put them out; however, in this case, this is a fresh song, still in the works, and this is me just sitting down at the piano and playing through it. You are experiencing this new song, as am I. In some ways this makes me feel uneasy, but I feel like I can’t hold it back because it is from this time in our history, and it makes sense through this lens of us – right now -- experiencing this history together. Another difference, I don’t usually provide the context of a song (unless you’re watching me live – then some stories come out!), rather just put it out there and let anybody who listens try to figure out the puzzle. In this case, though, I will give some context. I do not want to offend anybody with this, but I can only tell this story from my perspective, and I can only call it as I see it.
I was talking over the phone to a lady in North Carolina. Her name is not Eliza, but I changed it to respect her confidentiality. I’ve been making calls to help get out the vote. It’s no secret to any of you how I feel about the upcoming election, and we were discussing this. She was so perplexed about her own feelings, and very open with me. It sounded like she really needed someone to talk to. Just days before, the family had buried her aunt who had just died from coronavirus, and she was hurt and confused why her neighbors would not wear masks to go anywhere, saying they didn’t have the virus so they didn’t need to. She comes from a family of military service, and she did not understand the blatant disrespect for those in service. She said she is pro-life, however she understood that supporting women’s access to healthcare and birth control is necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion. She did not understand the disrespect to women, in general. She also did not understand how people who are pro-life can be ok with the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths to coronavirus. With all of this being said, she said she was just so confused why her friends kept telling her that she has to vote Trump if she was Christian. THEN SHE TOLD ME. Despite all of these things that were not aligned with her own beliefs, she said that they are all worried about the Democrats’ plan. She said that the Democrats are using coronavirus to kill all the world’s population except for 5 million ‘elites’, and so she said that she just needed to do some more research on this. I was floored and caught myself literally on the phone frozen with my mouth hanging open.
This is what we are all dealing with right now. Reality is being twisted and truth turned upside down. Everyone is being targeted. The wild conspiracy theories that you may see in your Facebook feed or across the web are specifically tailored to you. I have seen this in stark, almost unbelievable terms as I’ve been talking to people around the country. Believe me, whatever demographic you are – you are being specifically targeted to your vulnerabilities, and we ALL have vulnerabilities. The things that “Eliza” and her friends see in their Facebook feeds – I have never even heard of! This experience really opened my eyes to the problems that we are currently experiencing regarding truth and fact. No wonder people are having a hard time finding common ground!
So, I keep “Eliza” in my heart as an example of a good person, trying to live her faith, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and struggling with her understanding of right and wrong in the face of these attacks on reality. It is sometimes even hard to follow what your heart tells you is ‘right’ when you are surrounded by people or stories telling you that you are wrong. If “Eliza” hears me now, I want her to know that I hear her, I see her heart, and I understand her struggle – I empathize with her.
In the days ahead, these attacks on reality could get even more intense than they already are. My advice: check sources, check each other, listen to others with different views, and talk with one another. Let’s remember that we are all human. May we lift each other up to seek truth and common understanding in these strange times.
I am happy to share with you my music video for "Re-Imagine". Reflective of the challenges facing the world today, "Re-Imagine" is a call for unity and imagination in order to rise above. The pandemic put a pause on many activities and has offered an opportunity for a more robust global effort to combat issues facing humanity – these include disease, the existential threat of climate change, economic disparity, and social injustice. Only by bringing out the very best in one another may the call be answered to ensure a harmonious existence for current and future generations. Ultimately, this project seeks to encourage global unity by viewing human existence from a much higher perspective.
Well, the news we have this morning is certainly not comforting. Our President has tested positive for COVID-19, as have over 7 million other Americans and over 34 million inhabitants of planet earth. We have lost over 1 million loved ones, and many more are living with permanent conditions and hardships as a result of the virus. I didn’t necessarily want to release my new song along with this morning’s unfortunate news, however, this is where we are, and it must be acknowledged. This song is born out of these times; written out of the loneliness and uncertainty felt by people around the world over the past year. However, it also calls for reflection about our common humanity. We are all just hurling through space on this giant sphere together. Clearly, we have common challenges and the way we face these challenges determines our fate. We have our best bet of having the best results when we act with unity and common purpose. These tough times actually present us with an amazing opportunity to “re-imagine” who we want to be, and with it, the trajectory of our world and future generations.
I present to you my new song “Re-Imagine”! It can be found on all digital platforms where music is sold. I will be giving away free mp3 downloads of the song on my website through the weekend. Please share the news, share the song, share the message! I hope that it can be a source of inspiration for all of us to be the best that we can be.
MAN OF THE SEA Music Video Premiere on Saturday, Aug 1 at 8pm EST!!! Set your reminder to join me in watching the live premiere: https://youtu.be/35VXkbJXZfo
OK so I have a confession and a little announcement. I have been so incredibly ANTI-SOCIAL the last few months!! Let’s not kid ourselves, this has been really tough, especially here in NJ we were hit HARD with this virus at the very beginning of its trek through the US. If this were normal programming, I would have just been arriving home after a 2-month contract playing and singing at sea. I would have been ‘stationed’ in Galveston and cruising to all the beautiful Caribbean ports, playing music, meeting lots of awesome people, and making money!! Well, cruising was necessarily shut down and I joined the group of corona-unemployed – and I can confirm – there’s just not many job replacements out there right now especially for a live performer! I have taken this time to focus on some ‘home’ things – painting, going through clothes, trying to organize, etc. It’s been a time of reflection.
So last year I shot a music video with Douglas Ferguson (DAF21 Productions) for my song “Man of the Sea”. We had gone through a few edits, and because I was being probably a bit hard to please, we had talked about doing another shoot for it, but had just not gotten around to it yet. Well, I got to thinking this week, I’m just gonna put it out! I’ve been thinking about the sea and how I would have JUST been arriving back home from a cruise gig, and now I FEEL SO INCREDIBLY LUCKY TO HAVE THIS VIDEO TO SHARE AT THIS TIME! Doug just sent it over and now I’m like – YES! I have some summer lovin’ to share with you! So give me a few days to get it all together and I will be sharing with you a bunch of photos, clips, and the full music video. I’m trying to get it ready to release by this weekend!! It’s turning out to be my favorite video yet – and at just the right time when a little sand and waves are desperately needed! Pic here is from the video!
Just did this fun interview with Rick, Miguel and Shawn from Critic'al Thinking Podcast ! Thanks a bunch for hosting me on the show and thanks to Joseph Nardi of Singers Worldwide for connecting us! You can listen on Spotify here... and my interview starts at around 19 mins in...
You may have heard my playful album "Whimsical Romance", but have you heard my haunting EP "Opus Luna I-IV"? This is a collection of 4 songs that is inspired more from the classical side with a good dose of what I think of as 'nighttime music'. This EP was released a few years ago under my artistic name at the time Zahra Universe. Here's a link to the digital download: https://sarahragsdale.com/album/312925/opus-luna-i-iv
Tracks include: 1. Naked 2. Luna Lullaby 3. Vampires 4. Dirty Thoughts Dark
I had a few music videos from this EP. Here they are:
"Dirty Thoughts Dark"
"Vampyress" (Lyrics Video)
I will be joining Carnival Liberty April 4 - May 24 at the piano bar! I am excited to meet great people, have fun making music, and learning more about Bahamian culture and people! Perhaps I'll see you there! ;)
Photo by: Ray Jenkins
Having so much fun playing out at sea that I decided to continue the voyage - this time on the Carnival Valor through the first week of March! See you on board!
Pic: on the beaches of Progreso, Mexico
I'm currently out at sea playing and singing in the piano bar on Carnival Vista! It has been an absolutely wonderful experience full of music, fun, great people, and worldly adventure! The places that I've visited on board the Carnival ships include Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Grand Turk,Mexico, Honduras, Belize, and the Bahamas. It's been historically and culturally educational. One of my favorite experiences was visiting Bob Marley's home and playing the family piano! Watch my instagram: @mzrags for more pics and updates!
Pictured is me sitting on Bob Marley's inspiration rock in Nine Mile, Jamaica.
Big thanks to James Metcalfe at Fupping for including my thoughts on songwriting in their article "13 Brilliant Ways for Musicians to Reclaim Their Inspiration". I believe everything I said and am trying my best to follow this creed! Check out the article HERE with more great tips on songwriting inspiration!
Thanks so much to Erick from ElectroWow for this interview feature!
Thankful to Essentially Pop for doing this Exclusive Premiere for my brand new music video "Paranoia"! Check it out here! https://essentiallypop.com/epop/2018/02/video-premiere-paranoia-by-sarah-ragsdale/
I am excited to announce the release of my upcoming video "Paranoia" COMING SOON on February 8! The video was shot on a cold snowy day in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY and it's different from any that I've ever done. Thanks to Douglas Ferguson who shot the video (and also took this picture!). More updates to come!