Acclaimed Artist, Host of Jazz Cocktail Hour at Uptown! Unveils Debut Single and Video


Acclaimed artist Sara Michaels, who is renowned for her 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,” is available now.

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 the 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 said “dug deep with emotion and laid the spiritual foundation of the song, which was grounded firmly in love.” 

A successful female musician in the male-dominated world of jazz, Michaels is committed to elevating other women in music. Her ear for talent 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, Michaels created and curates the “Jazz Cocktail Hour” that features local and international jazz artists in an intimate concert setting.

Click here to learn more about Sara Michaels.

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