Connecticut native and children's music entertainer SteveSongs is performing as part of Family Fun Day at The Bushnell on April 19. Family Fun Day, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is free and open to the public; however, the SteveSongs performance at 11 a.m. is a ticketed event. Check out this Q & A with SteveSongs!
Q: How did you get your start in the children's music
A: A decade ago I was working at a bank and went down to meet some colleagues for lunch. I was waiting in the lobby and there was a preschool that had a big picture window that opened up into the lobby. It was like a fishbowl filled with children. I saw a couple of kids who were looking at me and I gave them a funny face. They started laughing and brought their friends over and suddenly there were a dozen 4-year-olds. I was making faces at them. They were falling on the floor thinking I was the funniest thing ever. My coworkers came in and I remember literally saying to them "Now that's my kind of audience!" That's where it all began.
Q: We understand that you're enjoying even greater national attention this year. What news can you share about your latest projects?
A: Yes, I'm very excited that I'll be one of the new hosts on the PBS Morning Block starting in May. I'll be playing a number of original songs written specifically to fit in with the daily morning block themes. The song segments will be aired nationally in between the popular television shows Curious George, Dragon Tales, Clifford and Super Why. I wrote most of the songs with my producer Anand Nayak and we found it an interesting challenge to create so many songs that were all exactly 1 minute long. Filming the song segments on the PBS set in New York City was a unique thrill for me. And if that wasn't exciting enough - we did the filming only three weeks after my son Joshua was born. He and my wife Lori got to visit the set, but he wasn't that impressed - he slept most of the time. Another exciting announcement is the national release of my new DVD 'Marvelous Musical Adventures' through Rounder Records in August.
Q: How will new your role as "Mr. Steve" on PBS KIDS compare with the SteveSongs recordings and live shows that we've enjoyed over the last ten years?
A: Actually what I'll be doing as "Mr. Steve" will be the same thing I used to do as a music and movement specialist in hundreds of preschools around CT and MA. While my albums and many big concerts include a full band of instruments along with backup singers and more
- the "Mr. Steve" segments have more of a small classroom feel. There are 3 or 4 children on set with me and the child singing and playing along from home is an important part of the group. I wrote all the songs (along with my producer Anand Nayak) specifically for the Morning Block. The songs are interactive, short and fun.
Q: Many of your songs cover interesting and unusual topics, like Gravity, Ducks Hatching, The Water Cycle, etc. From where do you draw your inspiration?
A: I get inspiration and ideas everywhere; for instance, I did some songwriting workshops with a few 4th grade classes in NJ last week and one of the songs was a really catchy tune about taking a test on the solar system while we are in the solar system. Then just yesterday I was signing an autograph for an audience member. I meant to write "Rock and Roll," but I accidentally added an 's' to the first word "Rocks," so I wrote "Rocks and Rolls" and then I
thought to myself "that's a neat idea, a rock and roll song about rocks and rolls." I walk around with a tape recorder everywhere and when I get ideas I record them. I literally have hundreds of tapes filled with ideas - most of them are probably bad ideas - but some are gems - that's what brainstorming is all about.
Q: Congratulations - we hear you're also a new dad! How has being a parent influenced you professionally?
A: Well, I have much less time to be a professional. But besides that, I must say, one of my favorite things about this job is being able to experience the world like a kid again. The wonder and energy with which they bound through their young lives is just plain cool to see. Having a child of my own has brought that appreciation to a whole new level. My wife and I can't believe that we made this awesome little creature. Every day with my son is an inspiration.
Q: Is there anything new we can expect at your Bushnell performance?
A:Yes - I'll be playing a few of the new songs I wrote for PBS with some brand new verses that I think are pretty funny. I'll also have my new EP available - it has 3 new songs along with a 6 minute sneak peak video of the upcoming DVD. And most importantly I'll be wearing a new red shirt. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is.