Rayo produces reggae-inspired tune to send public health message

A new song produced by engineering professor Michael Rayo puts a reggae twist on an important public health message. And it all started with a simple four-word rhyme devised by Senior Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Epidemiology Bill Miller.

Miller’s memorable motto, “Time, space, people, place,” can help people remember how to stay safe and physically distant amid COVID-19. The rhyme has been featured several places, including on NPR and in The Washington Post.

“I heard the melody right away, starting plunking down verses and ended up writing it in an afternoon,” said Rayo, who before his MS and PhD earned dual bachelor’s degrees in music performance and chemical engineering. He primarily plays trumpet, but also sings and dabbles in guitar, ukulele, piano and drums. He’s also put his musical ear to his engineering work, leading efforts to improve and streamline auditory cues of medical alarms in hospitals.

Rayo’s longtime friend, former bandmate and local music producer Bill Patterson of Wet Sounds Music, produced “Time Space People Place” – a song the pair described as a mix between Bob Marley and Jason Mraz — “a combination of energy and playfulness.”

“I read Bill Miller’s tweet about his rhyme and I felt compelled to write the song, because there is still a lot of confusion in our state and in the country about what we need to do to stay safe in the pandemic,” Rayo said. “We all want to get back a semblance of normal, and these four words (and a mask!) can really help.”

To read about Mike Rayo’s research with hospital alarm systems, click here.

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