I'm Risa, a holistic healer and a jazz and blues singer currently based in New York City. I'm passionate about the rights of other species, and I've been a vegan--and an advocate for veganism--for 16 years.
This is meant to be short-ish, but if you want more, I told the complete story of how I came first to vegetarianism and then to veganism and activism in a chapter of the book Speaking Up for Animals: An Anthology of Women's Voices.
Veganism is far from "just a diet" to me; it has affected the interests and activities I've chosen throughout my life. While I'm no longer working in food service, I've held several jobs at vegan restaurants, working alongside foodies who delight in delicious plant-based eating as much as I do. I'm also a former nonprofit professional for animal rights organizations that work to protect animals and promote veganism.
As a Reiki Master, I've taught my students of energy work that the frequencies of death and oppression are incompatible with living a high-vibration lifestyle, and I encourage them to be as compassionate about other species as they are about healing and helping people. To be of service is a holistic and worthy endeavor, and I think veganism is a spectacular way to be of service to the earth, to animals, and even to our bodies! So many lives saved. In addition to my healing work with humans, I've been privileged to practice Reiki on animal companion clients--cats and dogs. That's so much fun! They're some of my most appreciative clients!
I was previously featured in a web documentary, I'm Vegan, which has over 10,000 views on YouTube. This video looks at my animal rights song "Strange Fruit," an homage to Billie Holiday's song of the same name, and which has been covered internationally. Here's the music video for my song:
Of course as a singer I've made no secret about my belief in animal rights and in the need for animal liberation, societal change, and the proliferation of VEGAN. My debut album on which "Strange Fruit" appeared also featured information about veganism in its liner notes. I'm proud of fashioning myself as a vegan performer with style, and proving we don't need leather, wool and fur to look good, even on stage! You won't spot me sporting the spoils of animal suffering; that's not a good look. I love when other artists are vocal about the benefits of veganism. One example is stic.man from Dead Prez! He's put out some good stuff.
I'm working on my second album now. It's less political than my first but it's a polished jazz and blues recording with a big band. It was funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it's due out in 2016. I'm very excited! Keep in touch!