Wednesday, May 18, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on May 11th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 11

Local folk singer-songwriter Ynana Rose opens for jazz-pop musician Kiki Ebsen in Santa Maria


San Luis Obispo resident Ynana Rose has loved singing for as long as she can remember. One of her earliest memories is venturing into the woods near her childhood home and belting out her favorite songs at the top of her voice.

Local folk and Americana musician Ynana Rose primarily performs at venues in San Luis Obispo County. But on May 20, Rose is heading to Santa Maria to open for an intimate concert, headlined by LA-based jazz-pop artist Kiki Ebsen.

Rose didn’t feel nearly as comfortable vocalizing in front of an audience until much later though, she explained.

“Being onstage was completely terrifying for me, so I just couldn’t do it very much,” said Rose, who powered through choir concerts and other occasional exceptions during her youth. 

But Rose’s stage fright didn’t keep her from dreaming about a future career in the music industry.

Two for one
Songwriters at Play presents headliner Kiki Ebsen and opener Ynana Rose, live in concert, at Unity of Santa Maria on Friday, May 20, starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $20, and tickets are available in advance at Visit for more info. Unity of Santa Maria is located at 1165 Stubblefield Road, Santa Maria.

“When I was young, I was clearly just going to be a rock ’n’ roll star. There was no doubt about it,” said Rose, who grew up loving songs by Janis Joplin and other music icons.

Rose’s prediction would have been more accurate if her younger self specified folk and Americana as her older self’s primary genres of choice, rather than rock ’n’ roll. 

Ever since bursting onto the local live music scene, Rose has frequently performed at various venues throughout San Luis Obispo County over the years. But one of her next shows lies beyond the county line.

“I love the idea of having some really great quality listening rooms happening down in Santa Maria,” said Rose, who was stoked to find out about a longtime collaborator’s new concert series at a local chapel, Unity of Santa Maria.

Jazz-pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kiki Ebsen has performed alongside Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, and other heavy hitters throughout her career.

Rose said she and Steve Key—founder of Songwriters at Play and host of the new Santa Maria series—have a long history of supporting one another. Key has also co-written multiple songs with Rose, on both of her studio albums, Ynana Rose and Tea Leaf Confessions

“He’s [Key] an incredible songwriter and he’s given me a lot of opportunity over the years,” said Rose, who is currently in the middle of producing her third album, which she hopes to release by the end of 2022 or early next year.

On May 20, Rose will open for Los Angeles-based musician Kiki Ebsen at the second concert in Key’s new series at Unity of Santa Maria.

Both Ynana Rose and Kiki Ebsen have collaborated with Songwriters at Play founder Steve Key on several occasions. Ebsen described Key as “an ambassador for the traveling songwriter,” and credited Songwriters at Play for introducing her to several music venues along the Central Coast.

Like Rose, Ebsen has collaborated with Key on several occasions. The prolific jazz-pop artist—who has performed alongside Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, and other heavy hitters throughout her career—described Key as “an ambassador for the traveling songwriter.”

“I believe it was Songwriters at Play that introduced me to a lot of venues along the Central Coast,” said Ebsen, who first contacted Key in 2012, shortly after the release of her album, The Beauty Inside.

“I reached out to him to see if he could book some shows for me and he graciously agreed,” the singer and multi-instrumentalist explained. “Since then, I have done numerous shows [on the Central Coast].”

Ebsen said that one of her favorite aspects about performing at venues similar to Unity of Santa Maria, which seats about 250, is “getting the chance to perform these intimate concerts in a solo setting—just you, a keyboard, and a song.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood used a different kind of keyboard to write this article. Send comments to

Weekly Poll
What type of vegetable would you grow in a free community garden?

Brussel Sprouts, they are the best.
Broccoli because it can go with any meal.
Tomatoes, although I think those are technically a fruit.
French fries!

| Poll Results

My 805 Tix - Tickets to upcoming events