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Rocking Out With Laurie Berkner

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Laurie Berkner. Photo by Jayme Thornton

One of the most popular performers of the “Kindie Rock” genre, Laurie Berkner’s career as a children’s music specialist, has spanned almost 20 years. Singer, songwriter, author, and highly acclaimed children’s recording artist (and mother) – she truly is, what the New York Times calls “the Adele of the preschool crowd.”

Berkner’s latest album of all-new, original songs is the first of its kind in eight years. Aptly titled “Superhero,” it is a tribute to what Berkner calls the “wonderful possibilities” that exist inside all of us. She says, by “being our best selves” and “understanding the value of what we hold inside of us,” we can be self-empowered to discover the Superhero within.

Intended for children ages 1-7, “Superhero” features 21 songs with two bonus tracks, and explores a range of musical styles from lullabies to 60’s rock. Berkner writes and sings about all things fun for kids; be it “Bubbles” where she croons about bathtub fun or the very special “Elephant In There,” where her 10-year old daughter sings an adorable duet with her. An album highlight would be five-time Grammy winner Ziggy Marley lending his soulful voice to the Caribbean flavored “My My Carisol.”

The catchy melodies and the album’s silly, lovable lyrics reflect Berkner’s philosophy that music for children can be fun, light and relatable. Her concerts are like family outings with parents and children dancing and singing along. Berkner strongly believes music can connect families in a very special way. “Don’t try to be perfect,” she says as she urges parents to be silly and goofy with their kids as they act out her songs.

Berkner’s vast experience as a music specialist for young children led her to create “The Music in Me” program two years ago. This child-centered music curriculum is aimed at children between 12 months and 4Rock years and focuses on connecting children through music. Musicians who love kids and share Laurie’ philosophy can get licensed to teach classes featuring Laurie’s music and songs. Class locations currently include New York City and Alameda, CA, and Berkner has plans on expanding to other cities.

Nine best-selling, award-winning albums later, Berkner continues to be inspired by the love and encouragement given by her audience and is constantly amazed by the letters and emails written to her, especially by parents whose kids have benefited from her music.

Wanting to reach out to the larger community, to connect and help many more children, Berknerdecided to launch the “Be a Superhero” Kickstarter campaign. The funds raised will bring five Laurie Berkner concerts to hospitals and special needs schools in 2017. “I want as many people involved in the process to build a grassroots connection,” she says of her campaigning effort.

How does one balance a busy, atypical work schedule, while also being a mom? “If I let myself be the total perfectionist, I will never finish anything,” Berkner says. Whether it’s home or at work, she constantly reminds herself that she is doing her best.

The career mom’s constant struggle “should I be spending more time with my family?” never really goes away. But, you can be comforted by the thought that you are giving it your all, whether at home or at work. As Berkner sums it up: “that is good enough!”

Laurie Berkner is performing at the Concert Hall in New York on December 3rd 2016. For details on her other upcoming concerts, visit laurieberkner.com.

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