7 Questions For…Lisa Loeb
In this edition of “7 Questions For … ” — a Parents’ Choice Award winning children’s musician — we are delighted to have singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb.
What inspired you to make music for kids?
Before I had kids of my own, I really was inspired to make kids’ music. I wanted to make something reminiscent of the entertainment I enjoyed when I was little: The Carol Burnett Show, Bob and Ray, Carole King’s album Really Rosie, and Marlo Thomas’ Free To Be You and Me. I also loved the old Muppets show and the original Sesame Street and Steve Martin — entertainment like this was appealing on so many levels. They offered lots of character, storytelling, silly parts, emotional/sensitive parts filled with heart. There seemed to be an area of creativity in these shows that offered kids room to think and imagine. With my friend Elizabeth Mitchell, I started to make kids’ music, and in 2004 we released Catch the Moon together. I also created my own album CampLisa, and two books with music. More recently, my album Nursery Rhyme Parade! is specifically inspired by my own two kids. But generally, I write kids’ music because there’s a lot more areas for me to explore storytelling and connecting in a creative way.
How is writing a song for children different than writing for adults?
Sometimes I focus more on messages or stories I want to tell when I’m writing for kids. Otherwise, it’s completely the same as writing music for adults: trying to capture or create melodies that are catchy or expressive and putting lyrics to those melodies in any order they come to me and my collaborators. Then, we craft those ideas and hone them into a song.
What’s the most important thing to remember when writing a song for kids?
It’s important never to talk down to kids or simplify or make it too colorful just to communicate with them. You must keep production and writing and performance top notch. Don’t take any shortcuts.
How would you describe your approach to children’s music?
I write songs that I’d like to hear over and over again. I just try to make good songs.
What was the first instrument you played?
I played the piano first.
What sparked your interest in becoming a musician?
There’s a magic in melody and songs that have always been like a magnet to me. I loved the music my parents played in the house on the record player, and certain songs really jumped off the AM and FM radio when I was a kid. I loved figuring out the lyrics and what they mean and just swimming inside of the emotions I feel when I listen. To be a part of that has always been like another dimension.
What do your children tell you about your songs?
My kids tell me they like my songs. One song they especially love lately is a classic camp song I recorded for my summer camp songs record, Camp Lisa. They also like my movement songs including “I’m a Little Coconut!” from the Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning book with music, Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along Songs. They want me to sing it in the car. We also sing together when I’m putting them to bed and as we brush teeth. It’s like a mini summer camp experience.
For more from Lisa, go to: www.lisaloeb.com