Today we’re talking with the Queen of Children’s Music, Laurie Berkner. Laurie has been a professional musician since 1992, but found her niche when she began writing songs for children. After years of birthday parties, establishment of a home-based record label (Two Tomatoes) and three independent albums, Berkner exploded into the national consciousness in 2001 with an appearance on Good Morning America. She has been one of the top-selling children’s artists ever since.
Berkner, who is based out of New York City, has upcoming shows in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. She also has a new album in the works entitled Lullabies, with a KickStarter campaign to fund the making of the album.
WW Laurie, thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with our readers today. Can you tell us how the idea for the Lullabies album came to be?
LB I've been thinking about making one for years. It's actually been the most requested theme for an album from fans for a long time, and I always thought it would be a beautiful project to work on. But I never felt like it was quite the right time for me. Having sung lullabies to my own daughter for some time now, I finally felt ready to record these songs myself. I really want to make something special for that incredibly special time - just before falling asleep.
WW You have a KickStarter campaign going on with 11 days to go. How is that going so far?
LB It's been amazing! I can't believe how excited people have been to be a part of getting this album made. I get wonderful ideas from fans and it has been the inspiration for me to start filming a weekly Video Journal to catalog the making of the album and share the process.
WW What sort of benefits do fans receive fo contributing to the KickStarter campaign?
LB Everyone who donates, even if it's only $1 gets access to the Video Journal (which I am having so much fun making - and getting great feedback that families are really enjoying!). There are many different kinds of rewards: being able to download the album before it's released, signed CDs and posters, a chance for a child to make some of the artwork on the album cover, or actually sing on the album itself! I'm also offering visits in person (or by Skype) to people's homes or schools and personalized videos for families!
WW The goal set for the KickStarter campaign is $35,000.00. This might seem like a lot of money to folks reading at home who have never made an album. Can you tell our readers what sort of expenses this will cover?
LB It covers weeks of full days in the studio paying for the engineer, the use of the space and the equipment, rental of instruments, paying the band members for their recording time and many hours of rehearsal. It also pays for the photographer, the illustrator and the graphic designer to make the album cover; the couple of weeks of mixing the tracks in the studio and the final mastering of the album to make it ready to release. It still does NOT cover marketing, publicity, manufacturing of the albums themselves or distributing them to stores, online etc. or making any videos to accompany the songs. It can be quite an involved and costly process.
WW And what happens to the nearly $20,000.00 already pledged if you don’t ultimately make your goal?
LB We don't get any of it. The people who have pledged so far will never have their credit cards charged. That's why it's so important for us to meet our goal by October 28th!
WW I notice you’re doing some shows in various spots across the country this fall (including the fabulous show in Ithaca, NY this past weekend). Will there be more of a formal tour once the Lullabies album is released?
LB Yes, but we're still in the planning stages.
WW Is there anything else new and interesting on the horizon for you and the band?
LB Keep an eye out for more of me on the Sprout network! I'll be making a bunch more appearances before the year is over.
WW Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today!
LB Thank you so much! I'm really excited to be making this album. I hope that it becomes a special group of songs that parents want to sing to their kids over and over and that kids want to sing themselves. I'd love it to feel like a warm blanket for them as they listen and fall asleep.
Laurie Berkner’s KickStarter campaign runs through Monday, October 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM EDT. Even a $1 pledge will help, but she’s offered some great inducements to contribute. Please check out her campaign and consider supporting great independent children’s music! To see upcoming concert dates, check out Berkner’s concert schedule.