We are big fans of Laurie Berkner here at Jersey Family Fun, and we think every parent should be. Help us spread the word about the band’s newest album, “Laurie Berkner Lullabies”, and you can earn chances to
Win a Family 4-pack of tickets to the album release concert on April 5th, at 1:30pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
Laurie Berkner has been called the “Queen of Children’s Music” by People magazine, but surprisingly, whenever I talk to other parents about the Laurie Berkner Band, everyone has a story about how they wish they discovered her music sooner. It’s catchy and easy to sing along with. Many of the songs have fun actions built in, so it’s easy to get silly and play along with your kids. “Moon, Moon, Moon“, “Goodnight“, and “Pillowland” are bedtime staples for my kids and even my two year old sings along. For years, fans have been asking for a lullaby album. Finally, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the album, “Laurie Berkner Lullabies” is on it’s way. In fact, between now and April 1st, you can pre-order the album through the band’s website by clicking here and get 2 copies for $15. I think the album will be a must-have for new moms and a perfect baby shower gift! Really, I don’t think there is anything more essential in your new (or veteran) mom arsenal than a collection of songs to sing to your baby in the middle of the night.
Laurie Berkner Lullabies song list
- A Lullaby
- I Gave My Love A Cherry (The Riddle Song)
- Sing Me A Song
- Under A Shady Tree
- Your Beautiful Eyes
- Moon Moon Moon
- Hush Little Baby
- All Around My Room
- What Is The Color Of My Dreams?
- All The Planets
- Little Boy Blue
- In The Clouds
- Like A Seashell
- All Through The Night
- Five Days Old
- Stars Are Shining
We sat down recently to chat with Laurie on Google Hangout to find out a little more about her and the process of making the upcoming album. So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy our 30 minute chat here. It includes questions from some special kids and even advice from Laurie for aspiring musicians. When you’re done viewing, write down the secret code, then, come back to enter our giveaway for a family 4-pack of tickets to the Laurie Berkner concert.
Laurie Berkner Interview Video
Amy: Hi, This is Amy from Jersey Family Fun and I’m here with Laurie Berkner, the Queen of Children’s music, to talk about her upcoming album Laurie Berkner Lullabies. Thanks for joining us today Laurie.
Laurie: Thanks for having me.
Amy: So, let’s talk about your album. People have been asking for a lullaby album for a really long time. What made you decide that now was the time to do the lullaby album?
Laurie: Mostly it was because I felt like I started to realize I had written a bunch of lullabies for my daughter over the years. I also felt like I had enough of a body of work of really up and fun dancing around kinds of songs. and that it felt like it would be a good time to put together songs that were more for quiet and going to sleep. Also because I really, I’ve had some really special, many many many special moments over the years putting Lucy to bed and I realized how important it was to have music at that time, whether I was singing it or whether she was listening to it herself as she was going to sleep and I really loved the idea of creating something like that myself for other people to use.
Amy: That’s awesome. I know that the bedtime routine is really special for us too. Making up songs, I’m not a musician, but I make up songs too for my kids.
Amy: Yea! So, it’s just a really special time so we’re really looking forward to the lullaby album. We play YouTube videos through our Twilight Turtle that we have so… some of your songs are already part of the bedtime routine. They are really excited to have the lullaby album. We just started doing Pillowland, which you recorded before, but it’s on the lullaby album.
Laurie: Yes, it is.
Amy: My son, we were talking about my son earlier, he knows all of the words. The first time he heard it and now he sings it and wants to repeat it over and over again.
Laurie: Aw that’s great.
Amy: So we’re really excited. You used Kickstarter to make the lullaby album. So let’s talk a little bit about the Kickstarter Campaign. Why did you decide that Kickstarter was a good platform to use to put the album together?
Laurie: Well, I wanted to be able to make sure that I was reaching out to people while I was doing the album, while I was making it and it seemed like a really good way to get people involved rather than just kind of posting things on Facebook. Also, I find when I make albums it can be a very, not a solitary process, but it definitely can be kind of separate from the people that I make the music for… I find I’m writing songs exploring them maybe with a couple of kids but a lot of times it’s myself and the other musicians and the person who’s recording me and we’re the ones listening and choosing and I thought it would be really neat to actually be talking to people who would be listening to this album along the way while I was actually making it. I feel like it wasn’t just an album of songs that I was making because I wanted to write those songs or I was having fun with them but something that I’m hoping people will use you know every night in their bedtime routine and become a really big part of childhood and lives. So I felt like this time let me try something where I’m actually sharing what I’m doing along the way, where I’m getting feedback from people who are going to be purchasing this album and see what that feels like. And I have to say it was actually… 100 times better than I even thought it was going to be because I don’t know I think I was almost a little nervous about it because I was very used to kinda just doing things on my own and then putting it out and waiting to see what people thought and I really got a lot of great feedback when I would share a song on a video update in the Kickstarter campaign for the people who donated. I would actually make a video every week of what was going on in the studio or what I was doing writing and try to share some of the songs and I was nervous every single time that I would put a brand new song on there. Then when I would get feedback that people really enjoyed it or liked it… it made the song real for the first time and often that wouldn’t happen until I put the whole album out so I don’t know, there was something very encouraging and special about that and it really felt like, oh I’m doing this within a community and the people who listen to my music are a community of people that I’m a big part of that I don’t always get to have so much interaction with. So it turned out to be a really positive thing for me. For me anyway I hope it was good for them too.
Amy: It was really awesome. I was part of it so I got to watch the video journals each week.
Laurie: Oh great!
Amy: I didn’t watch them on time, but I went back and looked at a lot of them and it was just awesome to see and you didn’t seem nervous at all. It seemed just natural and really cool how everything was coming together and people were submitting their, like their “wubbies”, talking about their nighttime routines and it was just really neat to see everything come together along the way. So how many songs on the album are brand new that you wrote just for the album? You have some brand new songs, traditional lullabies and some that you’ve recorded before, right?
Laurie: Right, I don’t remember exactly the numbers but there are 4 traditional songs and there are 21 songs on the album so the other 17 are split about half new ones and half old ones. I don’t remember if there’s a little more or less of one or the other.
Amy: And there’s some special things on the album too you had your daughter come on and help you out with the Riddle song right?
Laurie: Yea yea that was so great! I wasn’t sure if she would want to do it. I also wasn’t sure how we would sound together. So the fact that she actually wanted to do it; she was excited about it and then when we did it I thought it came out just so sweet and beautiful it was a really wonderful surprise for me.
Amy: Awesome I can’t wait to hear the final version on the album. So for the people that weren’t part of the Kickstarter campaign, what are the steps in making the album and what part of the process are you at right now with the album?
Laurie: Well, I think the way we broke it down essentially, you know lots of people do things differently, but I started by writing and choosing songs that I wanted to record and then I brought those songs to the band and we would rehearse them. Or I would work on songs that I was doing on my own separately. Part of that is recording early versions of them and kind of getting a feel for what the arrangement would be. Then I bring them into the studio and I start by putting down a basic track where I sing. Well first I play guitar and then I sing to it. Then we put them together and then I add on whatever else we’re going to add on- other musicians, myself maybe singing more background vocals and maybe playing another instrument and then we take all of those recordings, they’re each separate, and we put them together. That’s called mixing. We mix it all together to make it hopefully sound really good and then it gets mastered which is when you kind of make sure that all the songs sound at about the same level so that you don’t end up turning on the album and it gets really loud at one part or so quiet at another that you can’t hear it. In the meantime, we had to work on artwork to create the cover and what that would look like, which was really fun because some people submitted some stars that they had made that are all on the cover so we have artwork from kids who were part of the campaign.
Amy: Very Cool.
Laurie: So that sort of gets done at the same time as the whole thing is going on. At the end we have the artwork done and we send it in to be printed along with the music which also gets printed on the cds and gets prepared to be able to be downloaded. Right now- basically waiting. Waiting for it all to be done. That’s like a few months in there where everything has to be finished, hurry up hurry up hurry up and then you wait. So that’s where we are.
Amy: Waiting. And so the album will be released April 8th right?
Laurie: April 8th, yea yea. Not too far.
Amy: No not too much longer to wait. So looking back now that the process is… almost over what was your favorite part of making, putting everything together?
Laurie: Hmm… you know I really like mixing. I think that’s my favorite part of being in the studio. Sometimes doing the actual signing and the playing can be really fun but also sometimes I have to do it over and over to get it exactly how I want it so when I’m mixing I already have the pieces. I know I’ve done things in a way that I like, and then it’s like, it’s a little both like putting a puzzle together and also like sculpting something. To me it’s like creating a piece of art in that moment. Oh, let’s have a horn come in at this part. Oh, I think my voice should be a little quieter there. Oh, well let’s use when I played the guitar that way, that sounded a little nicer to me and let’s put those things together. Let’s add the piano here and all of that like sculpting this piece of sound that to me creates a picture when I listen to it and makes me feel a certain way when I listen to it. I tried very hard to pay attention to what feelings come up when I’m listening to what I’m making and I’m hoping that the feelings I have like, maybe feeling… like someone’s hugging me or feeling excited or sleepy or whatever it is that those things come across in the music. I mean I really enjoy that part. I kind of forget sometimes when I don’t do it for awhile. That was really fun to go back and realize that and not- sorry to be a little long winded but I also really loved when Lucy came in and sang with me. That was great too. Amy: Yea that’s so special. It just felt really special to watch.. I could tell in your video journals just how special the whole lullaby thing was to you personally and I could see why it would take a long time to put out a lullaby album because it’s just such a meaningful personal thing- lullabies singing them to your kids so thank you for sharing that whole thing with all of us because it’s just awesome and I’m really excited for the album. To listen to it with my kids. So the fun’s not quite over, you’re going to launch the album with a concert in Morristown, NJ on April 5th. So how do you get ready for a show and keep up your energy level. Before a show, what do you do to get ready?
Laurie: I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s so funny I actually think about that a lot. I mean, I do a lot of things. I vocalize I try to do that as much as possible, work on my sound, rehearse with the band. Actually even just exercising and making sure that I’m moving and eating well and sleeping enough and all those things are really important. Otherwise I could get sick on the day of the concert, which has happened and it’s really hard to put on a show that way. I also just want to be very present and enjoy what I’m doing. Then on the other hand there’s sort of working on and learning the songs together so that they can be performed. Especially if there are new ones and for this show it’s going to be the first time that I’m trying to work in these more gentler songs so I don’t know – it’s going to be interesting to see how it works out. I have a couple of ideas but I’m not even really sure how we’re going to do it yet. It’s all still in the works.
Amy: Oh very cool. I’m excited to see how it turns out. We’ll be there to check it out.
Laurie: Great, oh great.
Amy: Very excited. Ok so, we asked our readers and our writer’s kids to submit some video questions for Laurie and we’re going to go do them now. The first is a question from Aiden.
Aiden: What’s your favorite flavor Ice Cream?
Laurie: What is my favorite flavor of ice cream? I would have to say especially since I live in New York, Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk which has all kinds of white chocolate and dark chocolate and nuts and I forget it has like everything. It’s chocolate ice cream.
Amy: Awesome, sounds yummy! And the next question we have is from Ayla.
Ayla: Hi Laurie, I have a question. What do you have on your head? A Cow?
Laurie: What is on my head? Hmm sometimes I wear a cow on my head. Sometimes… I wear a pig! So right now I have a pig but I love cows. Moo!
Amy: Our next question is from Ella Rose.
Ella Rose: My name is Ella Rose and I would like to know what dinosaur do you like? Bye!
Laurie: I think my favorite dinosaur is a Stegosaurus. I’m don’t even really know why. I just like the name and I like the big bumps on their back.
Amy: The next question is from Griffin.
Griffin: What’s your favorite flavor of popsicle?
Laurie: I think I would have to say Cherry.
Amy: Cherry, Awesome.
Laurie: Delicious and fruity and all the red ones.
Amy: The next question is from Joey.
Joey: Hi Laurie! I’m Superman Michaelangelo Batman Spiderman. What’s your superhero name?
Laurie: Oh my gosh! What’s my superhero name? Um, if I just had to make something up I would say Super Singer Mama and I sing whenever fun needs to be had. Doo Doo Doo!
Amy: That’s awesome! The next question is from Lennon.
Lennon: Laurie Berkner. I have two questions for you. One: Where did you learn the songs? Two: Which instruments do you play besides the guitar and the drums?
Laurie: So where did I learn my songs. I actually, well I didn’t exactly learn them I just made them up. The older songs I learned them from kids and grown ups and listening to cd’s and in books of music. But most of the songs I just make them up myself. And the other question was what other instruments do I play besides the guitar and drums. I wish I played the drums. I play them a little tiny bit. My daughter actually plays the drums a lot better than I do. That’s always something I really wanted to learn more about. Although I have taken a few drum lessons. I also used to play- I don’t play these so much anymore but I know how to play the piano, and the violin and there’s another instrument called the clarinet that’s kind of like a big recorder with some more holes in it. I actually did learn recorder before the clarinet, so I think those are pretty much all my instruments. And this one. La la la!
Amy: That’s the best one, right?
Laurie: Yea, I like the one that comes from me. That’s a good one.
Amy: And, then the next question is from Logan.
Logan: I’m Logan, I’m 9 years old and what is the funniest thing that’s happened to you on tour.
Laurie: That was what’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to me on tour?
Laurie: Oh boy! Well I’ve been playing for many, many years so there’s a lot of stuff but the first thing that comes to mind was that- you know, sometimes when I’m singing a song called “We are the Dinosaurs” I do find myself falling asleep. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that. But one time when that happened on stage, usually one of the other band members will wake me up. Then maybe the whole audience will help out. But one time I had my eyes closed and I was, I don’t know if I was exactly asleep, but I definitely didn’t know what was happening on stage and apparently a kid came up on stage and was trying to wake me up. And she was poking at me and people were yelling and trying to get her off the stage and someone had to actually come and pick her up and hand her to her mom who couldn’t get close enough to the stage to come and get her down. Somehow she had made her way up. And I thought it was one of my band mates. And then I found out now, it was just a probably 2 or 3 year old girl who had come up. It worked, she got me up.
Amy: That’s so funny. So you actually were sort of asleep?
Laurie: Well I definitely, I mean when I’m lying there with my eyes closed I don’t really know what’s going on around me. They have done crazy things to me like Susie has thrown parts of the set at me if they’re light and pillow-like you know. She bonked me with a big blow up candy cane one time. Or Brady once brought cookies from backstage and waved them under my nose and things like that. I don’t always know what they are going to do while I’m lying there because you know I like to fall asleep during that part.
Amy: That’s so funny. I didn’t actually think of you actually closing your eyes. I mean I don’t know why I didn’t think you were actually up there with your eyes closed.
Laurie: Oh yea! They’re closed. Totally closed! It’s a funny time I feel very vulnerable up there those guys could do whatever they want and there have been a lot of times when I’ve done much smaller things when I lie down in the midst of kids and kids come up and they just shake me and pull on my hair. One time I think Susie sprayed some water on me even.
Amy: Wow! So it’s like you’re back in the preschool class. Like you’re teaching the kids, right in the center?
Amy: Awesome, so the next question is from Nilsa.
Nilsa: Hi Laurie! My name is Nilsa. Your songs sound beautiful. Where did you learn to sing?
Laurie: You know mostly learning was just by doing it. I loved singing from when I was pretty little. I actually remember, I remember really specifically different times like when I was 2 and jumping around and singing and loving it and then when I started singing at school with other kids when I was 7 in chorus and things like that made me realize just how much I loved to do it so I would do it all the time. I think that the more that anybody does anything, the more practice you get with it. Now actually as a grownup, I do take voice lessons, but I didn’t really do that until probably my late 20’s, early 30’s. So you know, learning for me was doing.
Amy: Cool. Do you have any advice for kids that might want to be a musician when they grow up? Just practice, or anything (specific)?
Laurie: Well, I think a couple things. One is the more you do it the better you get at it. And I think… not being afraid to do things that maybe don’t sound good to you right away. Like one thing that I know is very hard, was for me and I can see this in my own daughter and a lot of kids, is when you hear yourself singing on a recording for the very first time or even the 10th or the 100th time, even. Sometimes for me still, I have a hard time hearing myself recorded because it sounds different than in my head. Just remember to other people it sounds natural and beautiful and the more that you do it the better it can be and the more you’ll feel confident about it probably. So yea, I’d say go for it! Enjoy and let yourself have fun. That’s really why I started doing it because it was fun for me and I don’t think I would keep doing it if it wasn’t fun. I don’t know if that answers your question.
Amy: Yea. It does, it does. It just looks like you’re having so much fun and everything’s just so natural and you’re having a great time doing what you love.
Laurie: Well I do actually have to rehearse and practice and think about a lot of things but I think by the time I get to the point where I’m singing for people and playing I’ve spent enough time working on it and sung enough times songs with kids that I really do enjoy it. Having kids around is part of what chains everything and makes it that much more fun because I see people who come to my shows and adults too enjoying themselves and that makes me feel really good so then I start to enjoy myself more and it’s just a big circle. So I feel really lucky that being able to sing can actually start that circle happening.
Amy: Awesome. I also wanted to say Mahalo for all of your music because it actually really did save me from a lot of crazy afternoons, like that witching hour meltdown time with the kids. Then you put on Laurie Berkner and you’re like flopping around the floor like a fish, riding a bike, acting out all of the stuff like we saw in your concert and it’s just really fun and easy to connect with your kids that way. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to play with your kids sometimes since you’re grown up and out of the kid thing and then you’re just there with your kids and the music just helps to connect to them, so Mahalo for that. And that’s also one of the songs on your album coming up. We’ll go back to the lullaby album. It means thank you in Hawaii, and it’s one of the songs on your lullaby album. Is there a reason why that one made it to the album?
Laurie: Well, one of the big things that I asked people who were part of the campaign was what songs they might like to hear made into lullabies. That was one of the ones that was chosen. Also, I was feeling very grateful a lot while I was making it. Grateful for the support I was getting, the financial support, the emotional support, the feedback from everybody that was interested in being part of it and sharing all of that with me that it felt like the right song to put on. And actually it’s the only song on the album where one of the families, who donated to the Kickstarter campaign, had her daughter come in to the studio with me and that was the song that we had her sing on. I think actually we had her go on one other song for fun, but it wasn’t planned. I wanted it to be on the one that says “Thank You” just to relate that message to everybody.
Amy: I’m really excited to hear it when it comes out, so I’ll be getting mine a little bit early because I was part of the Kickstarter campaign. Everyone else, you’re missing out. You have to wait until April 8th. Or you can go to Laurie’s concert at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey on April 5th. The show’s at 1:30, and there’s different levels of tickets you can purchase. One is the VIP experience where you can meet Laurie and get preferred tickets in the front row. Which is a really cool, awesome experience. You should definitely meet Laurie at some point in your life. So thanks for being here with us today Laurie and for talking to us about your album.
Laurie: Thank you so much it was really fun.
After our call, we got back on the phone with Laurie to have her sing a song from the album, but we had a few technical difficulties with our sound. Here’s what she had to say about her song, Fireflies:
I have a song that I wrote for the album, it’s a cappella so I can sing it right now without my guitar. It’s called Fireflies. I was sort of inspired because… it’s just a strong memory I have from being a kid seeing them as it starts to get dark and I know especially in the summer that it’s actually really getting close to time to go to bed because the sun’s going down.
Make sure you watch the video until the end to catch a clip from one of Laurie’s video journals when she sings “Fireflies”. You can also hear Fireflies on the band’s website.
Do you want to see the Laurie Berkner Band Live in Concert? Here’s your chance Win a Family 4-pack of tickets to the album release concert on April 5th, at 1:30pm at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
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