Laurie Berkner has been a professional musician since 1992. Since 1997 she has released 19 children's albums and has been hailed as the “the queen of kids’ music” (People magazine).
When I think of Laurie Berkner, I think of the songs that I've been using with my preschool music students for years. I Know a Chicken, We Are the Dinosaurs, Bumblebee, and Moon Moon Moon are always a hit when I share them with families. Her songs have a special quality to them that makes them versatile, interactive, and fun! I am always so excited when she releases new music and I was doubly excited to get an interview with her to chat about it!
Her newest album, Another Laurie Berkner Christmas, is full of songs that sparkle in true Laurie Berkner fashion. The album boasts 18 tracks that include everything from re-imagined classics, to hit original tunes. Time to Eat is my jam (no surprises there, I really do love to eat!) and Icicles is the perfect sing-along tune in the round for the whole family. Each song has that unique personality and bright energy that we have come to expect from the master song writer. The album is a seasonal journey from start to finish. Hit play and have a blast dancing, singing, and reminiscing with your loved ones this holiday season!
It's been a decade since you released your last Christmas album. We are all so excited to have this album playing in the background over the holidays! What made you decide it was time to do Another Laurie Berkner Christmas?
When I realized myself that it had been ten years, I knew it was time to release another Christmas album. I love the songs on my first one, A Laurie Berkner Christmas, but there were so many songs that I hadn't recorded that I was definitely excited to get back into the Christmas spirit. It was also a great reason to write some new songs for winter and Christmas.
Your songs work so well in music education settings. You use a lot of elements in your songs that make it easy for kids to sing along and engage (ie. singing in the round in Icicles). I love this so much and I've always wanted to know, do you do this intentionally in your songwriting?
Thank you, yes! I absolutely write songs thinking about them being easy to sing along with and engage with for kids. I started writing songs for the pre-school age group when I was a music teacher - and at the time I was writing them specifically because I needed songs to use in my music classes. Since then I've continued to write songs thinking about how they will be engaging to kids because I think that's usually what makes them work. I sometimes think specifically about them being used in a classroom setting, but often I'm just thinking about what would make a song fun. I know that one way my music will appeal to kids is to invite them to really be a part of it, and I love doing that in my songs.
What do you do to unwind and decompress after going on tour or finishing an album?
Haha, I like being home! I do yoga and hike or take long walks pretty regularly so those are things I often turn to. Or just watching something fun on TV, doing a crossword, or playing the Spelling Bee puzzle on the NYTimes website.
When you sit down to write songs, do you do it with your band, or do you mainly write on your own?
I write them on my own.
You've released 20 albums now? Where does the inspiration for your songs come from and how do you keep your ideas fresh after releasing so many albums?
I try to let inspiration come from as many places as I can. I listen to what kids say, I ask people what they think I should write songs about, I listen to stories, look at art, listen to music that is not for kids, and I think about what I remember liking as a child. I guess because there are endless things to write about, there is always the opportunity to make something fresh and new.
You do a ton of charity work and you give back to the communities that you perform in wherever you go. Which charity or organization means the most to you?
I feel the most strongly about supporting causes that help kids and families. No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen are both places that I feel do really good work.
Time to Eat off of your new album is an instant hit! I'm not the only one who loves it, since its debut at the end of October it's already gotten over 250,000 streams on Spotify! We want to know, what does Laurie Berkner cook up for Christmas Dinner?
Oh my goodness, I almost never make Christmas dinner myself. But if I did, I think I would want to cook trout or salmon, and I would definitely make a chocolate yule log for dessert!