Will Stroet of Will's Jams is a JUNO-nominated musician, nationally recognized educator and former CBC Kids TV star. His high-energy rock-pop music in English and French is full of witty wordplay and sing-along choruses, inspiring kids to be active, creative, caring and community-minded.
If you haven't had a chance to listen to Will's new album yet, then you're missing out. Will has teamed up with Seeka (Jessica Holtby) to release his 12th full-length album, Amis avec tous le monde. The album boasts 15 french language children's songs. It's a beautiful collection of upbeat, feel-good music that embraces love, friendship, and fun! Don't speak french? No problem! The language of music is universal and the music on this album speaks for itself. With catchy melodies, high-energy vibes, and tons of toe-tapping tunes, Will and Seeka will keep your whole family dancing along.
I had the opportunity of chatting with Will to talk a bit about the new collaborative album and what's next for him in 2023.
How did you meet Jessica Holtby (Seeka) and what sparked this amazing collaboration for your new album?
Seeka and I met over Instagram during Covid. We were aware of each other on social media, then I noticed she posted some content in French. I am always interested in connecting with other children’s musicians who also do music in French as it is such a big part of what I do. I reached out, we started chatting, and then I invited her to try writing a song with me in French over zoom. As songwriters we hit it off right away, and before we knew it, we were writing together every 2 weeks over zoom with the specific goal of writing great songs for kids learning French as a second language. After some months we realized we had more than an album worth of songs so that was when we got serious about recording the music and making videos and other educational support materials to accompany the songs. We are both educators and musicians and are very enthusiastic about the power music and song has in teaching language. Now we have this great new album out called “Will et Seeka – Amis avec tout le monde.”
Do you speak French with your family at home? Does your family help you write your music?
I speak in French with my kids sometimes. They are both in French immersion (at the same school where I went for French immersion as a kid!) My youngest is very motivated right now to use her French so we speak French quite a bit. I love hearing my kids speak French. It always amazes me how much they already know. Learning things when you are young is definitely easier than when you’re an adult with a million things on your plate.
For the second part of your question, they don’t often help me write songs, though they do provide a ton of inspiration. One exception is “The Real Prize is a Compromise” from my last album “Big Shiny Spoons.” June did help with lyrics on that one, and she sings it with me on the recording as a duet. I do call on my kids often to sing on my recordings. The fact that they are bilingual means I can have them sing in both English and French songs.
You have released 11 albums so far (is it 12 now?)! Out of your entire repertoire what is your favorite song to perform live and why?
Yep, 12 albums now! My favourite song to perform live changes for me all the time. Currently I love playing “Sushi Roll.” On my last tour up in the Yukon in October the bandmates I had could both sing, so in addition to really rockin’ on this song we had 3-part harmonies going. This song has fun actions for the audience, and as a bonus it has a super fun music video done by my friend Kenji at Gamomo Creative Labs. The only problem with singing this song at concerts is it always makes me hungry for my favourite food, SUSHI!!!
We all want to know if you have any new projects in the works. What does 2023 have in store for you?
In 2023, Seeka and I will be releasing singles and videos for the English version of “Will et Seeka – Amis avec tout le monde,” then the full album will come out in the fall. I’m also back on the road with tours in BC, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and possibly Saskatchewan. In terms of performance highlights coming up in 2023, I’ll be doing my Symphony Show with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra on March 26 and then with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on April 30. Seeka and I will also be debuting our live show at Festival du Bois in BC as well as the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Finally, this year one of my focus areas is around spreading the words about our teaching materials (this year for French teachers, next year English as well) via my wife and partner Kim Thé’s new website ArtsIQ.ca. Find our page here.
One of my favorite songs off of your new album is 'Les jours de la semaine' (The Days of the Week). What is your favorite day of the week?
Friday. I play floor hockey with my pals on Friday night. Always a fun time because hockey’s just really cool!
Check out Will's new album! Streaming everywhere now:
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