10 Questions for Laurie Berkner
We are getting geared up for the Life is good Festival this weekend, and if you’re going to be there, chances are you’re excited to see Laurie Berkner perform. I remember the first time I saw her in concert, at First Night 2004 in Boston. I was a mom of one, pregnant with my second daughter, and writing a business plan for this crazy idea I had for a toy and baby store.
A lot has changed since then, but Laurie Berkner still puts on an amazing show. I had the opportunity to chat with her last week about life, family, her career, and optimism.
1. How does optimism play a role in your life? In your music?
When I’m writing music, I’m always remembering what it felt like as a kid to have my whole life ahead of me and how important it is to love myself and feel so happy and fulfilled. Kids are so full of possibilities, and that’s what optimism is all about.
2. What attracted you to children’s music?
I had gotten a job about a year out of college as the music teacher at a preschool in Manhattan. I loved music, and I loved being around kids. I loved their immediacy. When I would play a song for a kid, I would know right away if they liked it or not. They respond so physically and joyfully when they like something, and they’ll tell you straight out when they don’t! I love that honesty.
3. What inspires you as an artist?
Other people’s creativity. Anything that makes me feel, and a lot of times that’s from art, music, or movies. But sometimes, it’s walking down the street and hearing someone say something interesting.
4. What music did you listen to as a child?
5. What is your favorite instrument?
This question is so hard, but I guess I have to say guitar. I just think it’s possible to make such a beautiful sound on it. But the human voice can be so incredibly moving, too. Also, when I was a kid I had a fantasy of being a drummer. Even though I never did learn, I really admire people who can play the drums well, and I imagine it must be really fun.
6. If you could meet any musician, alive or dead, who would it be?
John Lennon. How could I not meet John Lennon?
7. What was your most memorable concert?
I played a free outdoor show for Earth Day in Central Park a few years back, and it was so much fun because it was a few blocks from my home, and I saw people there who I knew from the neighborhood. There were 15,000 people there, and still I really felt the community that New York can be. I felt for weeks afterwards like I was surrounded by friends.
8. What do you think music does for children?
I feel like it gives them a way to connect to their feelings, express themselves, enjoy their bodies. I really feel like music is SO connected to love and family. Sharing music as a family, you feel the love through the music, and you’re reminded what it feels like to be loved when you listen to music.
9. As a mom, why do you think play is important for children?
When kids play, that’s when they get to be kids. They practice things, they explore and learn new things. My daughter is constantly imagining things, even just as she walks down the street. She works out everything through her play: difficult things, and simple things. Life can be busy, but I always try to make sure she has time to play.
10. What music do you listen to now?
I’ve been listening to Pandora a lot. Right now, my favorite stations are Yael Naim, Jack Johnson, and Beck radio.
We’re excited to see Laurie perform again this weekend. Come see her at the Life is good Festival, both Saturday and Sunday at 2:15. When you purchase your tickets now, through this link, your kids can go to the Festival for free! You can feel good about your purchase because all ticket sales go to the Life is good Playmakers Foundation.
Magic Beans will be there with a tent full of toys, a tattoo parlor, raffles, and more goodies! And we’ll be raising more money for the Playmakers Foundation with a Play-A-Thon – click here to find out more. See you at the show!