One of my favorite things about being a kids/family music performer is that I get to meet a lot of other like-minded performers. Eric Herman has taken advantage of this and frequently meets and records other performers during his travels. Last year I had the privilege of getting a call from Ava Scofield who records under the name Ava & The Mystic Mangos. Ava told me she found out about me from a young girl that had sang on her previous album who stated that The Hipwaders were her favorite band. Easily swayed by flattery, I quickly agreed to Ava's request to sing on the album she was currently recording. It was the most difficult but thrilling vocal experience I've ever had. I would never consider myself "singer" but more of a vocal "stylist" and with that mindset tried to fit my voice to her music. Her music was performed by top-caliber jazz, classical, blues and pop musicians and I understood that I couldn't slack through the recording session. Ava was a great musical director and would ask me to sing phrases a multitude of ways. It really opened my eyes of what I was actually capable of doing with some direction and try to use that experience when I sing now.
Ava's album, "Jam 'n' Jive", covers the world of a child of earth - from the smallest bug to the great Blue Whale. You can check out my goofy vocal contribution on the interactive title track, or a more "serious" me on my favorite track, "Sailin' With a Whale". I love her "Sowbug" song that goes from gentle nursery rhyme to trip hop and back. The song grooves and grooves hard. The album peaks with a bunch of amazing young singers trading lines on the kid-empowerment song, "Millions of Voices". In a world of overly auto-tuned crap like the Jonas Brothers and other you-name-it Disney acts, it's refreshing to hear young talents that can actually sing.
Check out samples from Ava's album at CDBaby
A while back my boys were telling me they wanted to have their own webcast which suprised me as they rarely sing, act or otherwise perform when asked. I figure they got the idea from one of their favorite T.V. shows, iCarly, and saw that it could be a lot of fun.
Within a few days of them asking, I came across Gwyneth Butera's daughters' (The Gooney Bird Kids) "webcast", "The GBK Zoo". Featuring kid music reviews, cooking, and some random dancing, the show was a hit with my boys. I was quickly motivated to head out to the garage and see if I could could up with some music specifically for the show. Inspired by the Gooney Bird Kids and their exhuberant antics, I was able to write and record a 30 second theme for the show and quickly sent it out to them. They've used it on their last 4 shows and I love the way the vocal and instrumental versions weave in and out of the show. Right now the show is on hiatus as the gang is vacationing in France. Meanwhile check their show out GBKZoo and perhaps when they get back we'll have a "GBKLourve" episode. Sorry, I couldn't resist...