Internationally acclaimed pop/contemporary jazz singer-songwriter Jennifer Saran is sounding the alarm about both food insecurity and climate change with the release of her bold and brilliant new music video, “WAKE UP: Earth Day is Every Day.”
The track is a rousing and uplifting anthem with hooks for days. Co-written and produced by Grammy-winning hitmaker and musician Narada Michael Walden, “WAKE UP: Earth Day is Every Day” sees Saran teamed with the iconic South African male
choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo as well as legendary Carlos Santana (whose searing guitar licks generate inspiring vibes). The music enriches the senses while the video speaks to how people can nourish their bodies and the planet.
“The message of food insecurity – and let’s call it ‘food security’ – is one that I take very seriously, as we all should, and it’s especially important during Earth Day,” says Saran, who is quick to point out that one day of awareness isn’t enough. “April is Earth Month, but really, this is an issue we all need to focus on all the time. It’s the only way we can tackle the problem and turn it into a solution.”
As dramatized in the potent video, we’re a planet in crisis on multiple fronts: How to provide enough food to people who need it without destroying our natural resources? “A lot of the answers are right in front of us, and they’re cheaper and better than anything we’re currently doing,” says Saran, who points to big farming as the main culprit. “Food is already polluted by mass fertilization, and the transportation pours toxins into our water and air. We need to educate people about what farming is and where their food comes from. It’s absolutely possible; in fact, it’s already happening. It’s imperative for our survival, to grow food locally and have it delivered to buyers freshly harvested at a minimum of effort – and cost.”
She adds, “Business models can address recycling through environmentally friendly packaging, and the farms can use sustainable growing technology. This is the future if we all learn to embrace it.”
All of these points ring home resoundingly clear in the video, which alternates between narrative elements and footage of Saran performing in the studio with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and with producer Walden. Says director Andrew Thomas (a frequent collaborator with Saran), “Working with Jennifer is always exciting because she’s an artist who isn’t afraid to infuse her music with a positive message. She doesn’t hop on a soapbox. Instead, she employs a rhythmic grace and lyrical spell to bring deeper, more profound ideas into the conversation.
“It’s too easy to become paralyzed with inaction when you realize the profound impact the climate crisis in having,” he continues. “But Earth Day is not for lamenting the planet’s suffering, but celebrating the power of joy, community and common sense to build a healthier future.”
In turn, Saran sings Thomas’ praises: “Andy is a special guy with a real vision. What’s great about him is, I can come to him with a song and an idea for what a video should be, and 90 percent of the time our way of thinking is perfectly in sync. Of course, he has such a way with visual ideas and the rhythm for how images should flow. He’s a real artist.”
Saran’s fans will undoubtedly recognize the music of “WAKE UP: Earth Day is Every Day” for its first appearance several years ago, when was dedicated the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and served as worldwide appeal to recognize and address inequality and impoverishment. “We had such a beautiful reaction to that effort, so it sparked the idea of using the track for another important initiative,” says Saran.
“I see this song as an evergreen,” she continues. “The very expression itself – ‘Wake Up’ – it’s what we all have to do. This is an expression of encouragement to people to do something, to improve things, whatever the issue of the time, day or moment is. Think. With a little education and understanding, we can all do our part to improve things in a positive way.”