Meet Dana! She's an award-winning singer/songwriter who creates amazing music for children. Her career spans over two decades and in that time she's released seven children's albums and received over 27 national awards. Dana has rightfully earned a place amongst the best of the best in children's music. I am a huge fan and I can't wait to introduce you to her music.
Dana has recently released two new songs: Bring On Summer and Hold on to Hope. Bring On Summer is an enthusiastic, upbeat, rock n' roll celebration of the best season of them all, summer! It's full of sweet surprises, catchy melodies, and positive vibes. Hold on to Hope one is a call of hope out to the youth of the world who may be struggling with their mental health. It evokes some big emotions with powerful messages of love and acceptance. Although the two songs are quite different, they both showcase Dana's songwriting abilities and musical talent. I'm very excited to hear Dana's next album, a heard a rumour that it's in the works!
Congratulations on the release of your new single, Bring on Summer! This track is high-energy, super fun, and encompasses summer perfectly. What was the inspiration for this track and can we expect more new tunes from you soon?
Thank you, Beppie! Last winter was especially rainy, windy, and cold where I live in Washington State. Spring was equally dreary, and I found myself longing for the warmth and sunshine of summer. I was out running in my raincoat on yet another blustery April day, and I kept repeating, “Bring on summer!” as I splashed along. In that moment, I was inspired to write a song celebrating the promise of sunny, fun-filled days ahead. Once I got home (and dried off!) I wrote the song in about an hour and then got busy recording it remotely with my musician friends in Nashville. I hope the song will motivate kids to get outside in the summertime and jump into all the joyful activities the season brings. And hopefully, it will inspire families to make some precious memories together!
As fall approaches, I am busy working on my “Dana’s Music Playground” interactive video series. I’ve been writing some new songs for that, which I’ll be releasing as singles in the coming months. My 8th album is also on the way and will be coming out sometime next spring.
You've been celebrating, performing, and creating children's music for over two decades! What is the biggest change in the industry that you've noticed over the years? Have the changes in the industry impacted how you create and perform?
Yikes! I have, indeed, been doing this for a loooong time! I am so thankful to have spent my career in such a joyful and rewarding genre. There is truly nothing more gratifying to me than seeing kids respond to, learn from and have fun with my music and performances.
The biggest change that I’ve witnessed in the industry over the years is the ease of distribution now. Way back when I first started, we were still selling cassette tapes (!!) and there were just two distributors of children’s music. I was lucky that they both picked up my first albums and placed them in toy and specialty stores across North America. Like other artists, I spent lots of money and time manufacturing and shipping tapes and CDs! Unfortunately, both of those distributors and the major toy store chains that supported them eventually went bankrupt. Thankfully, though, soon afterward CDBaby started distributing physical product and then exploded into digital distribution worldwide. This was the biggest game changer ever. Suddenly, there was no need for daily trips to UPS to ship out boxes of CDs, and Indie artists were able to reach audiences across the globe. The bad news, however, is that artists are now making only pennies for thousands of downloads in comparison to 55% of physical sales.
The current landscape of streaming has created a whole new set of challenges for artists, and we are all in a perpetual state of learning about how best to navigate algorithms and market our music effectively. Creating great music is not enough… we need to create engaging visual content and maintain a solid and constant social media presence if we are to successfully market our products.
The thing that has remained the same over the years is that live performances are the most lucrative (and often most fulfilling) part of our job as children’s musicians. I continue to focus much of my attention on performing live while also finding other opportunities to bring attention to my music. My podcast/radio show has been a fun way to reach new audiences, connect with my fellow artists, and occasionally shine a light on my own tunes!
You are constantly giving back to your community, industry peers, and fans. Can you tell us about your current projects/causes? How can we get involved?
I am honored and thrilled to have a song on the newly released compilation album, “Arise Together Children of the World”. The project is produced by the founders of the One Little Finger Foundation, and all the proceeds go to support children in need around the world, especially those in and from Ukraine.
My song, “Hold on to Hope” is geared to an older audience than my usual “8 and under” crowd. The producers asked me to write something addressing the disturbing and rising rate of teen suicide in North America. It was honestly a very challenging task to write about such an emotional and important topic. I hope that what finally evolved will indeed be a source of hope for young people suffering from depression and anxiety, and perhaps give them another “reason to stay."
To learn more about the project and how to donate to the cause, visit:
To listen to “Hold on to Hope” and the “Arise Together Children of the World” album:
If you had to choose between performing music, writing music, and teaching music, which one would you choose and why?
Oh gosh… impossible to answer! I love them all equally. I find that I kind of go through phases where I am inspired to write, or during summer I get busy performing and jumping around with kids. I just started teaching my music and movement classes for toddlers and preschoolers again, and realized how much I missed spending time with the little ones during the pandemic. Witnessing them grow and develop a love for rhythm and rhyme fills me with joy. I am so blessed that I get to do all these things!
In your opinion, what's the best part about creating content for children?
The sound of children’s laughter is one of my favorite things in life. Seeing and hearing children respond to my silliness and singing along with me makes this job the very best one on the planet.
If you could go back to being a kid again, what music/artist do you wish you had to listen to?
I would have loved to have had Raffi’s music to listen to when I was a child. The simple beauty of his songs and messages are so engaging and memorable and are the perfect soundtrack for a child’s life.