Interview with Laurie Berkner, Children’s Music Superstar

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Tell us a little about you (your background, your job, what makes you tick or anything else you think  our Mommybites moms will find interesting).

I am a musician who writes, records and performs songs for kids (both live and in video form). I’ve composed the music and lyrics for three family musicals, and I also write stories for kids incorporating the songs I’ve written.

Who or what inspires you?

I am forever inspired by the kids I meet. I love to hear what they say, watch their interactions, and try to imagine why they make the choices they do. So many of my songs have come directly from something I heard from a child.

What is your best piece of parenting advice?

Ahh. The best parenting advice I ever got was, “Don’t listen to any parenting advice.”

What’s the worst piece of parenting advice you have heard?

Get your kid into as many classes as possible as early as possible or they’ll be “behind.” I don’t even know what that means!

What’s the most common question you are asked by parents?

“Do you spend all of your time at home, walking around with your guitar, singing the songs you’ve written?”

They also ask how to incorporate music more in their kids’ lives.

What are some of your favorite T.V. shows? Books?  Foods?

I was pretty addicted to Game of Thrones, though I sometimes had a hard time with how violent it could be. I also love Blackish and A Chef’s Life.

What are some of your favorite parenting products?

The mac ’n cool! It’s like a manual version of the opposite of a microwave. It’s a little dish with water inside that you keep in the freezer and if your kid’s mac and cheese (or any other food) is too hot, you serve it to them on the mac ’n cool and it cools it down really fast so they can eat it.

I found it was indispensable when my daughter was little, and everything seemed to be too hot for her to eat! I also loved my Maya wrap to carry her around in. It’s a little bit of a steeper learning curve than some of the slings out there, but it’s incredibly versatile. I used it all the time, until she was just too big for me to carry around anymore!

If you could be someone else for a day who would it be and why?

My daughter. I would love to understand her perspective of the world better, see what she sees, feel what she feels. She’s almost 14 and growing so quickly that I would treasure any more insight into who she is that I could get.

And on a more selfish note, I’d love to know how she perceives the way I am with her, so I could learn about how the things I do (or don’t realize I do!) affect her.

What’s up next for you professionally?

I’m excited to be working on a new project for Audible that will be announced soon.  I’m also really looking forward to performing this fall in Derry, NH (Sept. 15); Manhattan (Oct. 20, a full-band Halloween show!); Modesto, CA (Oct. 28); and holiday shows with my band in Tarrytown, NY (Dec. 1) and Englewood, NJ (Dec. 9).

Your “Monster Boogie” song was recently published as a picture book by Simon & Schuster.  Could you tell us a little about that?

Monster Boogie is the third book Simon & Schuster has published that is based on one of my songs. (The others are We Are the Dinosaurs and Pillowland.) When we’re kids, monsters are scary things. But we all have feelings inside of ourselves that are kind of monstrous. We all want to be loud sometimes (even just to be heard), or get caught up in our big, angry feelings.

I wrote the words to this song (that have now been so wonderfully illustrated by Ben Clanton) so that kids could have the opportunity to “BE the monster” and enjoy it, even revel in it, in a safe way, and still feel loved.

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