Acclaimed Jazz/Blues Artist Sara Michaels, who is renowned for her lush and soulful voice and captivating stage presence, has revealed details for the first single from a new collection of songs that she is currently working on. “Hard Winter,” which she says she wrote in the midst of the Pandemic as a way to “find hope, healing and joy again,” was released today Friday, March 5 on all DSPs, along with her poignant video https://youtu.be/extezvXW7FY.
Originally intended as a holiday gift for her family, “Hard Winter” was never meant to be released to the public. Nor was it ever imagined to serve as the debut track from a new collection of songs. However, according to the famed singer-songwriter, just like the twists and turns that have guided her life and career, there were bigger plans in store for her.
“I started out writing this song to my family,” she said. “But after reflecting on the past year – my own family’s losses, the death of parents and loss of jobs was one thing – but internalizing all of the struggles our county has endured during this pandemic is another. I looked for hope and somewhere to find joy. This joy for us was in the birth of our first Grandchild and I soon found myself writing something to try to inspire hope in others.”
Teaming up with long-time friend and esteemed jazz guitarist and composer E. Shawn Qaissaunee, as well as engineers Glenn Barratt and Dave Schonauer (Morning Star Studios), Michaels masterfully transformed the love letter to her family into a beautiful, albeit complicated and complex, ballad about the hard contrasts of life. Themes of dark and light, death and birth, wounded and healing, hate and love, and sorrow and joy are intricately woven throughout the textured lyrics and skillfully composed music. This enigmatic dichotomy is further enhanced by the high-caliber musicians she brought in to record the song.
Some of New York and Philadelphia region’s most preeminent jazz musicians including Zach Brock (Violin), Aaron Graves (Piano), Matthew Parrish (Bass) and Harry “Butch” Reed (Drums), created the stark highs and lows of the song and as Michaels says “dug deep with emotion and laid the spiritual foundation of the song, which was grounded firmly in love.”
To support the release of the “Hard Winter” single, Michaels is also unveiling an emotionally-stirring video, which she filmed with producer, editor, and good friend Helen Polise (Muthership Productions). The winter footage was shot by husband Michael Phelan and son Collin Phelan from the Brandywine Valley area and Collin’s winter travels.
“The video for ‘Hard Winter’ was a labor of love and total collaborative effort,” said Michaels. Helen Polise is known for creating amazing video content for national brands. Michaels said, “I was very fortunate to collaborate with her on this passion project. Helen’s magic is to match the imagery with the mood and the movement of the music. To have my husband, son and friends involved in the video, made it even more special. All of us bonded by the hardships of not traveling, touching or even kissing our grandchildren – it was very cathartic.”
To learn more about Sara Michaels visit https://saramichaelsmusic.com.
Follow Sara Michaels on social at:
About Sara Michaels
Sara Michaels has never stayed on script. As a young singer she cut her teeth on church music, keeping it interesting for herself by improvising around the straight forward music until the pastor of her church tried to reign her back onto the page. That was the push Michaels needed to move into the jazz world – where she has found her new “church.”
With her lush and soulful voice, Michaels breathes new life into The Great American Songbook, and directs her original songs right to the heart and mind of today’s suffering world.
With her latest single, “Hard Winter,” Michaels takes her listeners on a journey from the loss and grief that has been ever-present this past year, through hope for healing to literal birth of the future.
“I started out writing this song as a holiday gift for my family,” explains Michaels. “Reflecting on this past year and our time together. I looked to find hope and joy. That joy for us was in the birth of our first grandchild.” Producer E. Shawn Qaissaunee describes this song of joy and healing as ‘a heartfelt letter to the world at large at a time of great suffering’.”
Before taking her place in the jazz world, Michaels earned her degree in art/illustration
,and, as a result, approaches her music as a visual artist, telling her stories with rich color and texture. Drawing from her background of both spiritual and musical theater, as well as her love of history, Michaels explores the creative roots of a song ,and connects that to her own life story.
A successful female musician in the male-dominated world of jazz, Michaels is committed to elevating other women in music. Michaels’ ear for talent beyond her own led to her being sought out as a talent booker and producer, charged with cultivating relationships with notable artists and discovering emerging ones. Teaming up with the acclaimed Uptown! Knauer Performance Arts Center, a premiere music and arts venue located outside Philadelphia in the bucolic West Chester, PA suburb, Michaels created and curates the “Jazz Cocktail Hour” presenting local and international
jazz artists in an intimate concert setting. Every summer Michaels moves her concert series “down the shore” to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences (LBIF).
Continually evolving as an artist – whether it be as a songwriter, performer or business leader, Michaels has proven that perhaps the best plan is having no plan at all. After all, as Wynton Marsalis said:
“Jazz music is the power of now. There is no script. It’s a conversation. The emotion is given to you by musicians as they make split-second decisions to fulfill what they feel the moment requires.”
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.