Tim Kubart steps out of Rockefeller Center in jeans and Stan Smith sneakers. With his cellphone in hand and an easy spring to his step, he could have been anyone. His approachable, every-guy personality almost masks the fact that Kubart, 32, is a Grammy-winner and Emmy-nominee at the height of his career with no signs of slowing down.
As Kubart glides through 30 Rock, with a quick greeting to almost everyone who walks by, his happy demeanor is inescapably contagious. That’s precisely what, we’re guessing, makes him such a great presence on the show that he co-hosts here—Sprout Network’s “Sunny Side Up,” a live educational show that Kubart describes as “the ‘TODAY’ show for kids.”
Kubart is also a prominent artist on the “kindie” (indie for kids) music scene. On any given day, you might find him playing original family songs at top venues like Lincoln Center. That is, if he’s not taking Tambourine Kids—the popular toddler music company that he created—to the
parties of lucky boys and girls throughout NYC.
So, how does one young musician come to fold so many fun ventures into one successful career? For Kubart, his good idea began during his time at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. When the director of the homeless shelter he was volunteering for asked him to play guitar songs for the kids there, Kubart admitted he didn’t know one kid-geared number.
“So, I taught myself ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ and I wrote a piece called ‘The Octopus Song,’” he remembers. “I played the song I wrote for the kids, and everybody was so happy and dancing. In that moment I knew this was something I loved to do—it was the easiest decision I ever made.”
For the next eight years, Kubart hardly missed a single day playing music for children—as a preschool music specialist during the week, and a mommy-and-me instructor and birthday party entertainer on weekends. As he worked, he put all the money he made toward producing children’s music videos and new albums.
“When I have a guitar in front of kids, I feel like I’m at home,” Kubart says of his love for performing. “I have a strong commitment to spreading kindness, joy, compassion, and empathy, and I put that in all the music and media I make. It’s an important message.”
Around the same time he was performing at birthday parties, he became an overnight international sensation known as “Tambourine Guy” (as part of Postmodern Jukebox), thanks to a hit YouTube video in which he plays the tambourine with abandon. And while Tambourine Guy garners a more grown-up audience, the energy and sunny outlook that Kubart embodies in this persona is the same that he’s been spreading to families and children since he first started playing for children.
As his fan base began to grow, he started to train local musicians whom he thought would be great in working with kids. Soon, he had an army of friends ready to teach kids the joy of music—and Tambourine Kids was born. A few years later, in 2013, he was asked to become one of the four human hosts—five total including Chica the chicken—of “Sunny Side Up.”
In the past two years, Kubart has reaped all the rewards that his hard work has sowed, and his career in family entertainment has reached an all-time high. His third album, “Home,” won a Grammy for best children’s album this year, and “Sunny Side Up”—which has hosted notable guests like First Lady Michelle Obama, Tim Gunn, and Julie Andrews—was nominated for an Emmy for “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series” this year as well.
His favorite moment of it all thus far comes from one of his biggest fans, Abigail (who appears in his popular music video “Breakfast Club”). During Kubart’s post-Grammy concert at Lincoln Center, Abigail presented him with a tambourine covered with photos of herself and her family at his concerts. “On the back she wrote: ‘Thanks for being my first superhero,’” Kubart says with a smile. “It sits right next to the Grammy on my bookshelf—it’s more meaningful than the Grammy.”
With such a multi-faceted career, it’s a wonder Kubart has the time to juggle so many projects—but he rises to the top of every children’s media front he takes on. His newest pursuit? “I’m going to be writing a picture book [to be published by HarperCollins] called “Oops-si-doo” about a preschooler’s regular day and the mistakes we all make throughout the day,” Kubart says.
Undoubtedly, his calling to the children’s entertainment industry has grown to become extremely versatile. But above all, it’s still his passion for spreading joy and kindness through music that acts as the driving force behind his career.
“Music is my favorite thing and I’m lucky to make it every day,” Kubart says. “And to share that joy at an early age is what my career with children and family entertainment is all about.”
To learn more, visit timkubart.com!