When I was expecting my oldest, many people asked me if I was going to switch over and do lullaby albums from then on. Other people told me I would soon be writing nothing but songs about my baby. I knew that people were just happy for me, and that some of their comments were an extension of that expression that follows every songwriter; whenever you say or do anything, someone says with a wink, “Hey, that sounds like a song!” But I always had to hide how these new remarks made me bristle. I was a little insulted. Did people think I would cease to be a normal human with a brain, and that it would melt somehow to the point that I could only write “tra la la’s” or record half a dozen covers of Ring Around the Rosey?
Well, then my kids came. I learned a few things. Number one, I learned that indeed, I couldn’t help but write songs about them. I still wrote other songs, but sprinkled all over them were songs like “Already a Butterfly” or “Invincible” or “Walk You Through The Night” or “Sweet, Sweet Dreams”. On some very long, sleep deprived days, my brain did feel a little mushy, but normally, if I was really paying attention, my kids really inspired me and made me a better writer because of the pieces of my heart that they opened. Next, I learned that there is a whole lot of horrible music written and recorded for kids. A lot. There really are countless covers of the most mind numbing nursery rhymes, recorded with shrill sounding robo-children. People give you these CD’s when you have a kid. I usually found that my kids, when faced with the choice, would normally rather listen to grown up pop songs instead, thank goodness. But I also learned that there actually is some great children’s music. My mother-in-law gave us a Sandra Boynton CD called “Blue Moo” that we all love. We’re also fans of They Might Be Giant’s “No!” There are a lot of classic Disney songs that have come back into my life since having kids. You have to admit that The Little Mermaid soundtrack is catchy. And all those songs from Mary Poppins! And don’t even get me started on the music from Phineas and Ferb. I love it so much. As I listened to these songs as a songwriter, and watched how my kids reacted to them, I came to see that kids are really smart. They know when you’re singing down to them or assuming they aren’t as smart as you are. Usually lullaby albums don’t have this problem, but a lot of “fun” kid’s albums do. I filed away all this info into my songwriting research brain and then went on with life.
About a year ago, my friend Ryan Tilby told me about a singer-songwriter down in his musical neighborhood in St. George, named Lyndy Butler. He thought we might enjoy collaborating on songwriting for a project for her. I have a lot on my plate with four kids, a husband who travels a lot for work, and a fairly demanding music career. I didn’t think I would have time to get involved in a project for another artist at that time. But I looked her up, and when I heard her music, she seemed like a kindred spirit of sorts. I contacted her and asked if she wanted to do some co-writing. She immediately sent me a song she was working on, about a little red wagon. A children’s song. Again, something I normally didn’t jump at the chance to do, but it was a really cute song, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. So we started working on it from afar. Emailing lyrics, recording voice memos with melody scraps. It was a lot of fun. After a few weeks I had the distinct feeling that Lyndy was going to ask me to do a children’s album with her. It was like a voice outside of myself telling me this. Maybe a voice that knew that my knee jerk reaction would have been to say that I didn’t have time. But when the thought took root in my heart, it seemed right. I figured I was probably insane, and I set those thoughts aside. But then I got an email from her, asking me if I wanted to do a whole album of children’s music with her. The angels in my mind kind of sang, and after talking it over with my husband, it felt really right to say yes. Am I now only a kid’s artist? No, and neither is Lyndy. This is a special project, one of those projects that kind of finds you when you have an open heart.
For the past year, Lyndy and I have been writing songs for this project, and I really love them. My kids love them, too. And they don’t love everything I do, so I know they’re being honest. Playing a song for your kid is almost the polar opposite of playing a song for your mom in that way. I think if we get the chance to record these songs, this album will really be a treasure, with songs that people pass down. It has that kind of feeling to me. We’re hoping to record down in St. George this June with our friend Ryan Tilby, who originally got us together. We’ve been planning out the artwork for the CD jacket, too. My dear friend, Heather Solomon, who is a real, honest to goodness children’s book illustrator has been working on a beautiful painting for us. Everything looks, sounds, and feels so right. The only thing left for us to do is find the money to pay for recording, mixing, mastering, and printing. Lyndy and I are both indie artists, so for us, the best option was to launch a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. We’ve had it going for a little less than a week and we’re about a third of the way to our goal. If we don’t reach our goal, we won’t be able to do the project. I’ve been praying a lot, cheerleading a lot, and hoping a lot that we can make it happen before our fundraising time is up in mid May. If you’re here visiting my website, maybe you’re a fan. Maybe you have kids or know people who do, who might love this album when we get it done. It’s going to be called, “The Buddy System”. You can click on this link to see the rewards we are offering for your pledge, and you can watch a video where you can get to know Lyndy a little, and you can see us singing snippets of four of our songs. We also keep posting rough clips of the other songs on our Facebook pages. Follow along, and help if you can. You’d be my hero if you do.
I’m excited to keep you posted on things. The cover art is almost done, and there’s a really fun story behind it. That will be my next blog post. Stay tuned!