"Darrelle London is diving into the world of “Kindie” music (Kids-Indie), where she feels right at home! Produced by Dean Drouillard, Darrelle’s forthcoming children's album, carries listeners on a journey through a colourful world of curiosity, creativity, and laughter. A mother herself to two young’uns, Darrelle has discovered the joy of making kids’ music that all ages can enjoy!"
I fell in love with Darrelle's new album instantly. Her voice is sweet, authentic, and confident. She has the ability to incorporate melodies that appeal to younger audiences with phrasing that reminds me of some of my favourite pop artists. The new album, Primary, is packed full of clever stories, fun imagery, and creative instrumental surprises. Each song is a crescendo of musical treats that gets tastier with every beat. Come along as I chat with Darrelle about her new album and her musical journey.
Congratulations on the release of your new album, Primary! It's truly an amazing project! When you look back on your time writing and recording the album, what are some highlights that have stayed with you?
Thank you so much, it feels so good to finally have these songs out in the world! I really took my time with it, and wrote the songs over a span of almost two years. It was important to me to set the right tone, that would connect with children without being preachy or talking down to them. And then my producer, Dean Drouillard, and I, took about a year to record it.
A highlight of the whole process was definitely being in the studio and witnessing the session players add their own sparkle to these songs. It was so moving to see all these top-notch musicians take children’s music so seriously. Obviously, we all had fun with it, and everyone really brought their A-game, which meant the world to me.
You released three singles ahead of the new album. How do you decide which songs to release as singles and which ones to release with the album?
The songs showcase very different musical styles, which was a fun way to introduce the album. I wanted to show my audience that the album was going to have a lot of variety. It was also interesting to see the age brackets that each song connected with. Chugga Choo Choo has been a favourite of the toddler bunch. Pluto seems to resonate with slightly older kids (and millennial parents!). And Wild Party is for everyone! That’s one of my favourite things about making kids music, is that you can feature many different sounds and colours on one album, and you’re not breaking any rules!
You've been releasing music for well over a decade now. How has your music changed over the course of your career and what made you decide to work in the field of children's music?
I released three “grown-up” albums between 2009 and 2015. In that time, my career was a roller coaster of ups and downs. It was an adventure, and I spent a lot of my time on the road touring the college circuit in the States. When I had my first baby, my world flipped upside down, and my days and nights became consumed with lullabies, as we tried to figure out how to get him to sleep! That is what led to my first kindie EP, Sing to the Moon. As my kids got a little bit older, their worldview and wonderful questions made me want to make a full-length album for kids of all ages to enjoy.
You sing about such a wide variety of topics and themes. I'm curious to know where the ideas for your songs come from.
Many of the songs on Primary stemmed from questions that my kids asked me during the first covid lockdown, when they would have otherwise been in school, asking their teacher these things. Questions about bugs and planets, and primary colours. Sometimes I didn’t know how to answer their questions on the spot, but the answers would come out in song when I sat at the piano.
My goal with the album was to capture the way that children view the world, bottle it up, and give it back to them in music form. Like the way that kids stop and admire a day moon, or the joy they find in making art. It’s so pure. And parents can use a reminder to try and see the wonder all around us too.
Do your own songs ever get stuck in your head? What is your favourite song that you've ever written?
I feel like my husband, kids, and I keep these songs stuck in each other’s heads! My husband is often whistling one of the songs, or my kids are singing them in the car, and we all just pass them back and forth that way.
My current favourite of my songs is See You in My Dreams, the final track on Primary. It’s a lullaby, and it came from the bedside chats I have with my kids. I wanted the production to make the listener feel like they’re drifting off to dreamland at the end.
If you could magically be an expert at playing any instrument, what instrument would you choose?
Guitar! I’ve been teaching myself guitar since high school, but I can’t play. I can write on it, and I wrote about half the album on it. But I can’t make it sound good enough to perform! It’s time to get some lessons, I’ve just decided.