I learned about The Laurie Berkner Band less than three years ago when my friend gifted my daughter with The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band CD. We’ve been hooked on her music ever since. Laurie Berkner’s music is categorized as “Kindie Rock” – music that appeals to adults and children with family-friendly lyrics. Her latest album, Superhero does not disappoint. Like a superhero, it transcends above and beyond the norm. Superhero is Laurie’s first album in eight years to be comprised entirely of brand new, original songs. Superhero features special guests in the eclectic mix of songs. One of my favorite songs is the duet “My Marisol” with Ziggy Marley, which is about a tall girl and short guy who find a happiness by helping each out.
“Superhero” is a family affair, with Laurie Berkner’s daughter singing on the track Elephant In There. It is a story-song that offers a cure for imaginary internal elephant, which in itself is a superhero feat.
The album begins and ends on upbeat, positive notes. It starts with the song Superhero, which helps everyone believe in themselves; and ends with Yes, which confirms the belief with a statement.
There are 23 tracks on the album. Here are some of our favorites:
This song helps kids understand how you can learn how to anything by trying and practicing
This Is How I Do It
This is an upbeat song with pizazz that will help kids to take pride and show off their style, singing about things they learn.
I’ve Got So Much To Give
Giving is better than receiving, and it feels great to do it.
Kids love bubbles. Bubbles in the bathtub are even better. Play this song to preempt bubble bath-time, and you won’t have to say a word to get your kid to the tub.
It doesn’t rain much in L.A., but when it does, my kid loves it. I gave my daughter an umbrella for Christmas last year, and it’s one of her favorite things. She can’t wait for it to rain so she can use it. My daughter loves singing this song, hoping it will rain!
Face To Face
This is a cute, fun song to sing to, or with, your little one. It’s very sweet will help you bond.
I admit, pajama time is my favorite time of the day and wish it could be all day!
Swing Me [feat. Kira Willey]
This is a nicely composed, sweet sounding song featuring Kira Willey’s violin and vocals. It’s one of the tracks on the album that appeals more to adults.
We Are The Dinosaurs (Dance Remix)
I was pleasantly surprised and mildly amused to hear this remix of We Are The Dinosaurs. My daughter prefers the original version, but I think when she gets older, she will appreciate this one!
CD Details: Superhero
Release date: September 23, 2016
For ages 1 – 7
Label: Two Tomatoes Records; distributed by Razor & Tie
Run time: 59 minutes
Purchase The Laurie Berkner Band Superhero
About Laurie Berkner
Laurie Berkner has been a professional musician since 1992, but her success as a children’s recording artist was a surprise to her. “It was so unexpected,” says Laurie. “I’d been performing in rock bands and struggling to write original music. Writing music for kids has not been a struggle at all. The more I started working on material for children, the more I realized that it opened up creativity in me that I never knew I had.”
These days critics widely acknowledge Laurie’s major contribution toward launching what is now dubbed the progressive “kindie rock” movement – i.e. less saccharine, more rocking music that is not dumbed down for children. But it wasn’t simply an enormous amount of talent that helped create an entire genre and skyrocketed Laurie to her current position as “the queen of children’s music” (People Magazine). It was an ability to gain parents’ enthusiasm for the songs as well. According to Laurie, “When I’m writing a song, I’m thinking about whether the kids will like it and whether I’m going to connect to them through it. I’m also thinking about whether I want to sing it over and over again, so I guess that’s the part that connects with adults. Old MacDonald Had A Farm is a great song for kids, but I couldn’t sing it 100 times!”
While Laurie never planned to be a children’s performer, looking back on her career it almost seems inevitable. While growing up in Princeton, New Jersey, Laurie was always involved in music, whether singing in choirs, playing in bands, or performing in musical theater. In high school and throughout college (at Rutgers University), she toured Europe with several choirs and orchestras as a soloist and guitarist. After graduation, Laurie spent several years as a children’s music specialist at New York area preschool and day care centers. Working with children became the perfect creative outlet for Laurie to express her talents and create something that, she says, “has turned out to be incredibly rewarding.”
Laurie was the first recording artist ever to perform in music videos on Nick Jr. and appeared regularly on the network’s series Jack’s Big Music Show. She currently stars in the animated musical short-form series Sing It, Laurie! on the Sprout preschool channel. Sing It, Laurie! features Laurie’s voice and her original music written for the series. Laurie has also been a frequent guest on Sprout’s Sunny Side Up morning show. Laurie is a familiar presence on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live, where her The Music in Me Minute, featuring tips about incorporating music into family life, is heard daily.
Laurie has released ten bestselling, award-winning albums: Whaddaya Think Of That (1997); Buzz Buzz (1998); Victor Vito (1999); Under A Shady Tree (2002); Rocketship Run (2008); The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band (2010); A Laurie Berkner Christmas (2012); Laurie Berkner Lullabies (2014); The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection (2014); and a two-disc album, Laurie Berkner’s Favorite Classic Kids’ Songs (2015). 2015 also saw the release of six digital collections of favorite Laurie Berkner songs: Laurie Berkner’s Food Songs, Laurie Berkner’s Animal Songs, Laurie Berkner’s Transportation Songs, Laurie Berkner’s Classroom Favorites, Laurie Berkner’s Movement Songs, and Laurie Berkner’s Nature Songs. Released for Valentine’s Day 2016 was Love, a digital collection of Laurie Berkner songs about all kinds of love. Laurie’s eleventh album, Superhero, was released September 2016.
Laurie has authored four books based on her songs, including two Barnes & Noble NOOK Kids™ e-books. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, recently announced that it will publish three picture books with Laurie. We Are the Dinosaurs will release in Spring 2017. Pillowland is due out in Fall 2017, and Monster Boogie is scheduled for Summer 2018.
Venturing into the world of the theater Laurie has written music and lyrics for two Off-Broadway children’s musicals produced by New York City Children’s Theater: Wanda’s Monster (2013) and The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess (2014)
2014 saw the launch of Laurie Berkner’s The Music in Me, a “Me and My Grown-up” style program of preschool music classes designed by Laurie Berkner, with teachers personally trained by Laurie.
Laurie continues to be inspired by her audience. “I want to create songs that matter for children,” she says. “I was singing once and saw a four-year-old girl shut her eyes and start swaying to the music. I thought, ‘That’s the reason I got into music.’ It keeps me wanting to do more.”
When she’s not making music, Laurie enjoys visiting the farmers’ market for organic produce, knitting, biking and spending time with her husband, Brian, and their daughter, Lucy. They live in New York City.
(bio courtesy of Waldmania PR)
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. Waldmania PR sent a copy of “Superhero” and images to help facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.