courtesy Laurie Berkner
Longtime kindie rock queen Laurie Berkner buzz, buzz, buzzes through town on Sunday, Oct. 26 for a concert at Beth El Synagogue. JuiceBox asked Berkner, who is our child’s first “girlfriend”, about her illustrious music career with kids, and what kids get from music that they really, really need.
JuiceBox: Kids who were early fans of yours have now gone through puberty. (Including my son! Buzz Buzz was his first favorite song and you were his first ‘girlfriend’.) What’s that like?
Laurie Berkner: Weeellllllllll… It does make me feel like I'm a teeny bit older than I used to be. But let's move on from that. It's also amazing to watch kids grow up and to find out that I had a big influence on their lives. I love that they still remember me and the music, and that both hold a special place in their memories.
JB: You’re often touted as the woman who started the kindie rock music. Now that it’s “a thing” (and has been for almost two decades) can you reflect on what that means—to be the “queen of kindie rock”?
LB: It means I've been noticed for something I do well, and that's pretty awesome. It also means I have to work hard to top what I've been doing!
JB: You spent a lot of time working with kids before you began writing songs for them professionally. What did children teach you about songwriting?
LB: Everything. They taught me how to be direct and concise about what I was trying to say in my songs, they taught me about what they liked and didn't like, and how to sing and write songs in a way that they responded to, and they taught me that kids can be extremely open and flexible and ready to try lots of new things. They also taught me to trust my own instincts about what I remember being important from when I was a kid.
JB: Kids love your videos, and you also create a lot of multi-media projects that are extensions of your music. Do you like taking your musical energies into different mediums? How do they feed each other?
LB: I love it. I love exploring new ways of bringing a song to life and being creative. Everything new I take on just opens another door. Using song lyrics to create a book might inspire me to think of another book I could write, and that, in turn, might inspire me to write another song. It's all connected.
JB: What do kids need that music can give them?
LB: A safe place to express their feelings. A way to experience pleasure and joy, alone, or with their friends and families. A strong connection with their bodies. A way of exploring their own abilities to create. A great way of connecting and communicating with other people. FUN!