At This Pace, It’ll All Be Kids Music Before Long
Even if you aren’t a parent, for better or worse, it’s hard to escape the grasp of music for children these days. A section of the record store that was once a copy of Really Rosie and a few Disney Read-A-Longs has quickly moved past the Wiggles and Dora The Explorer to a booming business filled with artists like They Might Be Giants and Medeski Martin and Wood who have found a way to make a living playing for the Pull-Ups set. Wired has an online interview (in the “Geekdad” section) with Baby Loves Disco founder Andy Blackman Hurwitz which gives some insight into the whole phenomenon.
Hurwitz has the music industry cred to back up his entry into the business, with the on again off again indie Ropeadope, so one way his releases have an angle on the market is to feature actual musicians:
GeekDad: What differentiates Baby Loves Music albums from more mundane releases? Andy Blackman Hurwitz: I hate to be a music snob and like to think that there’s some merit to anything creative so I don’t want to come across as “dissing” other kids music – it’s just that ours is created and produced by the best in the business, musicians with decades of experience in the art of songwriting and songcrafting and I think that’s what makes the difference – REAL musicians. GeekDad: Is it difficult to get well-established, professional musicians – such Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood – involved in the recording of an album for kids? Is there a stigma attached to children’s music? Andy Blackman Hurwitz: For me, I think, it was a bit easier because of the fact that I had a reputation in the business as being fair and as a “music guy” so they weren’t worried that it was gonna turn into some cheesy thing. But also, it’s the nature of a “kids” project that makes these folks want to get involved: 1) because it’s for kids – and everybody (almost) wants to do something good for the kids, right? – but 2) being in the studio under the guise of a “kids'” project just takes a lot of the pressure off these guys. They’re all consummate professionals, so to have a project that’s fun and loose and laid back makes it more appealing to these guys.
It’s hard to argue against any reason to get Sharon Jones in front of your kids instead of Soulja Boy–nearly every kid in my son’s first grade class knew the Soulja Boy dance before his album had dropped–so that’s probably the main reason the genre has surged recently. At least from my experience, it can be nearly impossible to strike the appropriate balance between, say, your child telling people Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It” is his favorite song, and having to listen to Dora The Explorer discs in the car. When the artists on the disc are ones you recognize–“Oh, I used to really like the Del Fuegos!”, for example–it makes the purchase and hopefully the ensuing listening experience more palatable. Yeah, you certainly could just force your music down their ear canal, but there’s also something to be said for kids having their own music, something that allows them to be naive for just a bit longer, and if you can have Prince Paul behind the boards, that makes the decision a bit easier.
Baby Loves (Almost) Everything [Wired]