Claudia Robin Gunn brings starry eyed wonder mixed with just a little bit of mom rocker chic to kids music time as a mother herself, with warm, indie-folk melodies and jangly pop harmonies that capture the golden essence of childhood.
Living by the coast in Tāmaki Makaurau with her family, now teenagers, Claudia is inspired by her community, the natural wonders of the land and sea around her and the always evolving interests of her growing up children. Her kids songs are loved and trusted by smart parents and bright eyed kids alike, like a warm hug in sound that sets imaginations free.
Claudia has released 5 family music albums, and a number of singles. In 2022 she released two wonderful projects: Sing for the Sea - Little Wild Ocean Friends & Sing for the Earth - Little Wild Animals.
Her voice is mesmerizing and beautiful and I have to admit I've been listening to her music with and without my kids around, it's just so good. She captures energies and emotions with her songs and her melodies seem to weave seamlessly in, around, and through the music she creates. It is almost as if her voice is one with the instrumental sounds. Making music can be a challenging endeavor, but Claudia makes it all seem so effortless. Check out my interview with her and then go check out her amazing music!
You just released a new single on February 11th called Thank You Science. This was a collaboration with the incredible Marsha from Marsha and the Positrons. Can you tell us what inspired this project?
Marsha and I got chatting about our mutual passion for science communication through music, after we met through the Children’s Music Network I think back a ways now… I’d done my space album Little Wild Universe, and her album Positronic is all science awesomeness, so we already had some shared orbits, and we ended up doing a bundle of songwriting over zoom in 2022. Thank You Science is the first of these songs to zoom through the studio! we really want to elevate science and especially women in STEM through our work.
You grew up making music and listening to music with your family, have those musical traditions carried on with your children/teenagers? Did your kids inherit your music gene?
My kids love music, my son plays drums and my daughter is learning piano and they are both awesome at picking playlists for family road trips!!
After writing music for many years, do you find that the writing process has gotten easier? How long did it take you to write your latest album, Sing for the Earth - Little Wild Animals?
I love the writing process - I feel like I’m always learning and every song is a chance to hone your ideas and method… I try to follow my instinct, but also allow for changes within the studio - so often I think a song is finished, but then recording involves a lot of decision making too, and the final structure and form of a song is so dependent on the energy involved in arranging it, that sometimes a song can feel quite different after recording than you thought it would be going in… Also before a song is recorded, I tend to workshop it live a lot, and that lets you change it up constantly and experiment with feel and tempo and duration.
The new album boasts 25 amazing tracks. Where do you find the inspiration and energy needed to compose and create large projects like this?
I’ve been writing music for little kids for such a long time - my kids are now in their teens, but I didn’t really get rolling with recording anything until recent years. So most of the songwriting for this recent album, and the ones before were actually composed throughout the years I’ve been a parent - I tend to stockpile songs and then keep on trucking with daily life, and only recently have had the fortune to find a way to get some of them recorded (thank you Creative New Zealand)!
So I’m still combing through my catalogue, finding collections of songs by theme, or energy or mood, and figuring out ways to edit and produce them into finished work, choosing favourites (that is the hardest part!!)… inevitably, new songs also pop up, as recording an album is such a fertile time, it gets your songwriting brain going right?? But I have mostly been trying to catch up with myself…
This project took a lot of late nights, but luckily working with awesome collaborators like my producer Tom Fox, guest vocalists like Angie Who, Itty Bitty Beats, Loopy Tunes and my mum Deni, plus my illustrator Elise and my sister Melisssa who wrote all the science notes in the songbook meant it was a real team experience!
If you could perform in any venue in the world, what would it be?
One day, I dream of performing at Red Rocks in Colorado!! outdoor amphitheatre, surrounded by nature - could it get better than that? well actually, equally inspiring would be getting to play at Wolf Trap, the theatre in the woods in Washington DC, with Marsha one day!
I happen to know that you recently made a trip to my part of the world, the beautiful and vast country of Canada! What was your favorite part of your trip?
Absolutely loved getting to see a little bit of Canada recently - favourite bit I think was getting to sing in a little restaurant/bar in Golden B.C. - it had an open mic night going, and it was delightful to meet local musicians there, borrow a beautiful guitar from the organiser, and jam with double bass and mandolin - the house band were total stars at picking up the groove on 3 songs I played off my next album coming up! they were just gorgeous…