Join us as we delve into the multifaceted world of music and artistry with the incredibly talented Ragan Whiteside. From her mastery of the flute to her captivating vocals and compositions, coupled with her versatility as a voice-over artist, Ragan’s journey is as diverse as it is inspiring.

Congratulations on your achievements, Ragan! From winning the Best Contemporary Jazz Artist Award to your NAACP Image Award nomination, how do you feel your journey has shaped the landscape for women in instrumental jazz?

Thank you very much! I’m hoping that I’ve kicked open some doors so the next generation of female musicians have more opportunities to pursue their dreams, just like those pioneers who came before me. Each time one of us succeeds, we all succeed in some way. I’m seeing way more female instrumentalists than I did in the past, so I like to think we’re making progress!

Your upcoming album “RAGAN” is highly anticipated. Can you give us a glimpse into the creative process behind it, and what sets it apart from your previous works?

When creating music, I am inspired by everything that is happening around me. Every album I’ve released has a different vibe because I always seem to be in a different place in my life when recording. One album was created when I was a newlywed, another when I moved to another part of the country, another when I had my first child, etc. With this album, after many years of building my music career and a career in the tech field at the same time, I reached a point where I wasn’t able to give my all to either career (which bothered me to no end). I made the choice to leave the corporate world and focus on my music career, which took an enormous amount of courage. Making that choice gave me more space to be creative and push the boundaries of how the flute is perceived.

As an independent artist, what have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the industry, and how have you overcome them?

Being an independent artist can be a double-edged sword at times. On one hand, there are a ton of tools, resources, and platforms to get your music out there. With some grit and hustle, you can build a career that is yours to control. On the other hand, you’re still going up against “the machine,” which has the infrastructure and the funding to reach the masses in a way that is difficult to compete with. As an independent artist, keeping your eye on trends, thinking outside of the box, being consistent, and being as flexible as possible is key.


“Steppin’ Out” is receiving rave reviews. Could you tell us about the inspiration behind this track and what it was like collaborating with Rich Harrison and Phil Hamilton?

“Steppin’ Out” was co-written by my husband Dennis Johnson (producer/composer/engineer), myself, and Bob Baldwin (producer/composer/arranger). Dennis came up with this great track around the time I had left my day job, so the parts I composed were directly inspired by my decision to step away from office life. Rich Harrison (drums) and Phil Hamilton (guitar) are both genius musicians and a pleasure to work with. I’ve worked with them for years and the vibe is always right. It’s important to be able to click with each other musically – it creates a synergy that comes through in the recording.

With a career spanning voice-over work, radio hosting, and being a mother of two, how do you manage to balance your various roles while maintaining excellence in each?

Whew! It’s not easy. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air and it’s often a matter of figuring out which balls will float, which ones will bounce back if dropped, and which ones will break. Being completely present in whatever I’m doing and not trying to multitask helps a lot. I’m still working on finding time for myself (I need to get better at that!).


Your show “Saturday with Ragan Whiteside” has become immensely popular. What do you enjoy most about being a radio host, and how has this experience influenced your music career?

Being a radio host exposes me to so many artists that I may not have otherwise learned about. There is so much music out here and I am inspired by all of it in some way. It has also been fun learning about how decisions are made like what gets added to the rotation and when, how songs with certain types of intros get placed, etc. Most of all, I enjoy connecting with the audience. Every week, I’m able to share a listening experience with fellow music lovers and it feels good to know that people are jamming with me.

Could you share with us some insights into your songwriting process? How do you approach crafting melodies and lyrics that resonate with your audience?

A lot of my ideas come to me in the shower, which means I need to keep my phone close so I can sing it into the voice recorder before I forget it. Once I’m back in front of my workstation (and dried off), I’ll take that idea and expand on it, then walk away. When I come back to it, if it makes me smile I’ll take it to completion. If it doesn’t make me smile, into the trash it goes! If it doesn’t resonate with me, it likely won’t resonate with my audience either.

Being proficient in both flute-playing and vocals, how do you navigate between the two during live performances and studio recordings to create a seamless musical experience?

It takes a lot of practice because for me, singing and playing flute are two different head spaces. There are similarities in breathing techniques, but the approach is not the same. In a live situation, the order of the set list makes a difference.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of your music career, and are there any collaborations or projects you’re particularly excited about?

I want my career to keep growing and to keep reaching people who wouldn’t normally listen to instrumental music (let alone a flute!). I want to be in my 90s and look back at a career that spanned decades, brought people together, and inspired the next generation. I have a bunch of shows coming up around the country that I’m excited about (New York, Napa Valley, and Las Vegas to name a few) and of course, the new album. I’m still working on my dream collabs (I’m looking at you, Babyface, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé!)