- Smooth Jazz Network
Ragan Whiteside: Behind The Beats
Each week we'll take you 'Behind the Beats' to learn more about the artists that play on our airwaves. This week: Ragan Whiteside.
Ragan Whiteside topped the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart this past week and is poised to be #1 on the SMOOTH JAZZ TOP 20® next week with her current single “Thrill Ride.” We grabbed a few minutes this past week and caught up.
Ragan, your current single “Thrill Ride” has hit #1 on Billboard and will most likely be on the top of the SMOOTH JAZZ TOP 20® next week! Tell us about how this tune came about.
Dennis Johnson (my producer / songwriting partner / husband) and I were talking about the wonderful Thrill Ride we've been on over the years and he came up with this track that just embodied the essence of that conversation. Bob Baldwin added some melodies, I added some as well, and the song's energy just kept growing. I'm so excited and grateful that radio and listeners have embraced the song!
And you have been ‘in demand’ as a guest artist on several singles for other artists this year…
Over the past year I've had the opportunity to work with a number of amazing artists, including Kim Scott and Althea Rene ("I'm Every Woman") which went to #1, Jarez ("This Time Around"), and Rob Zinn ("Push it Forward"), and a another song coming soon from Kersten Stevens and Christian McBride. I love collaborating with other artists and there are a few other tunes in the works over the coming months.
“Thrill Ride” is the title track to your 6th album. Can you give us a sneak preview of what we can expect on the album?
We had a great time composing and recording tunes that have our signature feel-good vibe. "Off the Cuff" is also featured on this album, as well as 6 other brand new songs.
And on this project, you are working with producers Dennis Johnson and Bob Baldwin…
Yes! I got the dream team together for this album. It's so much fun working with them, it's amazing we get anything done. A new twist on this album is that this is the first time I've collaborated on a couple of tracks with other producers (outside of Dennis Johnson and Bob Baldwin). Chris "Big Dog" Davis worked his magic on his arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" and James Lloyd (Pieces of a Dream) wrote and produced a beautiful tune that we performed on together.
You have been back on the road, playing some cool gigs this summer. Can you share some highlights?
We just got back from performing at Marcus Anderson’s Jazz & Coffee Escape (MAJACE) in Asheville, NC. It's always a great time hanging out with other musicians, trading road stories, learning about new gear, and LOTS of jokes!
And you have a pretty busy Fall tour schedule coming up…
Yes - Elmira, NY
White Plains, NY
West Columbia, SC
… and more to be announced
So, when you do get a little downtime, how are you spending it these days?
Down time? What's that? (LOL!).
I guess any spare minute is spent with my family. I have 2 young kids (ages 6 and 4) and they definitely keep me busy!
What’s ahead for 2023?
We are working on national and international tours to support the new album, and some new collaborations!
Keep up with Ragan Whiteside on her website.