Beginning with immediately captivating hand-claps before settling into a gently rhythmic lullaby, Californian singer-songwriter Ynana Rose has delivered a wonderfully moody single, ‘Let Go the Day’. The song swings and sways as Rose, with her wonderfully warm and soothing voice, encourages us to let go of the day’s troubles and find solace in sleep. Along with her co-writer and producer Damon Castillo, Rose manages to capture the sound of moonlight on a night when sleep evades us. The smoky, atmospheric video was filmed and directed by Barry Goyette, who genuinely captures the mood with this beautifully shot and edited live performance. For more information about how the inspiration for the song and video, check out our exclusive Q & A below.
Writing her first song at the age of 37, Rose brings her life experience and a huge amount of musical passion to her songwriting and performances. Speaking of the challenge and joy of writing, Rose says: “Songs are like puzzles of the heart that I have to solve in order to sleep well at night. I write about authenticity and the lack of it, longing, fear, love, everyday miracles and tragedies. Music invites an eternity of pursuit and I feel blessed to go chasing it down.” Beautifully put. Her approach to life and music is certainly informed by her rural upbringing and early experiences. She explains: “I was an only child raised by a single mom, and we were totally off the grid. We lived on the side of a mountain with a pristine year-round creek and wide open sky. Mendocino County boasts redwoods, giant oaks, the Pacific Ocean, and an untamed wilderness that thoroughly embraces the four seasons. When we had enough C batteries, I was attached at the hip to a little black boom box that got one FM radio station, and it was country and western. The late ’70s and early ’80s were a wonderful time in country music, and I grew up serenaded by Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and so many more. I knew every single song and sang them to the hills as loud as I could. I love how roots music allows me to expand from my country foundation into the fuller expression of music that I create today.” It’s an intriguing perspective that Rose brings to her songs, and that, “…fuller expression…” she speaks of involves blending jazz, folk, choral, swing and blues influences with country. The result is a captivating combination of sounds and traditions.
‘Let Go the Day’ is taken from Rose’s third full length album, ‘Under A Cathedral Sky’, which has just been released at the beginning of November. The follow-up to 2018’s well-received ‘Tea Leaf Confessions’, is a collection that reflects middle-age and the crossroads Rose faced as she tackled a mid-life crisis. The songs range across key themes – self-assessment and re-evaluating who we are as times of joy are tempered by crises, soul-searching and a sense of unravelling. There are many of us who can associate with these feelings and there’s a lot to explore and appreciate in Ynana Rose’s sophisticated songs. Check out the album but pause here first to absorb this beautiful lullaby for insomniacs (and this could have been written for me).
Exclusive Q&A with Ynana Rose about the song and video:
What inspired you to write this song? What is it about? What story do you hope it tells?
I wrote this song for myself and anyone else who struggles with anxiety and insomnia. I hope it reminds us all to let go of what we strive for during the day, to trust and surrender to Morpheus, the seductive god of sleep.
How did this song come together — musically, lyrically, vibe-wise?
Deep in Covid shutdown, I ran a weekly livestream called Livestream Lullabies in an effort to help calm worldwide skyrocketing anxiety and insomnia. When I set out to write my own lullaby, what came through were the verses of this song. When I got into the studio, my engineer and co-producer, Damon Castillo, immediately understood what to do with it (it’s an a cappella chanting world music lullaby), and we wrote the bridge together. I realized then that it pulled from the world music lullabies I had listened to as a young mother in Music Together classes with my first son. Damon had everything to do with the instrumentation, and I love the musical vibe of it. It’s so fun to dance to.
Let’s talk about the video. Where did you film it? What made you want to do a performance video? Who filmed this for you and who directed and edited the video?
The video was filmed at The Minerva Club in Santa Maria, California. It’s a gorgeous building, built in 1928 by Julia Morgan, the famous architect of Hearst Castle and many other California buildings. It was the perfect setting for the dreamlike quality of our story. Videographer Barry Goyette directed, shot, and edited the video. Performance videos can be hard for non-actors, but I loved every minute of it. Filming this video was easily the most intense, joyful, concentrated creative experience I’ve had. I trusted Barry’s vision and command of all of the moving parts – lots of cameos, instruments, costume changes, hair/makeup, so many cameras and fancy equipment, smoke machine, lights, etc. – to come together to tell our story.
Do you have a favourite moment or visual from the video?
My favourite moment in the video is when the dancer appears at the top of the bridge. Alicia Aragon, owner of local dance studio Nexus, echoes the divine feminine in the story with a sensuous rumba. During filming, I was singing and moving on stage when she appeared through the smoke and lights. I was so moved, it just brought it all together. I felt the spirit of my mother in the room – it was the coolest.
Tell us a bit more about the album this song comes from. What are some of the themes and topics on the album, and how does this song fit in among the others on the album?
‘Under A Cathedral Sky’ is an album about facing fear, creating beauty from it, and the gifts of midlife. I wrote these songs as I was moving into and then out of a midlife crisis. Authenticity above all else is a rallying cry of the middle aged, which is helpful to a songwriter and performer. This song brings a nice rhythmic balance to the more up-tempo Americana songs and folk ballads on the album, and it communicates the love I feel for our shared humanity.