Tuesday, November 30, 2021

RAGAN WHITESIDE · THIS CHRISTMAS



It takes skill, creativity, sheer musical ability, and a charismatic presence to electrify the music scene. And that’s just what flautist Ragan Whiteside has done in the world of instrumental soul within a few short years. The Atlanta-based musician, songwriter, and vocalist has consistently delighted fans and critics alike with her unique brand of engaging upbeat melodies and exhilarating flute playing. Tunes like the May 2021 single release “Off The Cuff,” as well as “JJ’s Strut,” “Reminiscing,” “Jam It,” “Early Arrival,” “See You At The Get Down,” and the Billboard No. 1 “Corey’s Bop,” have burnished her reputation. What’s more, Whiteside has become one of few women players to excel in the male-dominated instrumental sphere, garnering six consecutive Top Ten Billboard airplay singles by 2021. And she’s done it as an independent, releasing projects on Randis Music, the label she founded with her husband, producer, and composer Dennis Johnson.

Influenced by such diverse flute masters as jazz-classical player Hubert Laws, the late Latin jazz artist Dave Valentin, and the French classical flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, Whiteside’s rigorous musical training prepared her to play in the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world. Yet, after graduation, Whiteside admits she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Back home in Mount Vernon, she attended a show at a local jazz club where keyboardist, producer, and composer Bob Baldwin was headlining. While watching, Whiteside says she had an epiphany: “I was sitting up front and I said, ‘Oh my God. This is what I want to do.’”

Though the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down or halted live performing for the better part of a year, more opportunities loom as the country reopens in mid-2021. Whiteside has stayed busy recording and being a mom to two children, aged 5 and 3. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her next album, due in 2022. Becoming a jazz artist of note is the fulfillment of a childhood goal, and Whiteside is just getting started.


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