By Kenneth Barilari
#HipNJ caught up with children’s recording artist and author, Laurie Berkner, to discuss her latest album, new book, and performing at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.
Laurie Berkner, a Princeton native, was named “The Queen of Children’s Music” by People Magazine. The singer-songwriter has released 11 best-selling albums over the course of 20 years. The Laurie Berkner Band’s latest, Superhero, is their first since 2008 to be comprised entirely of all-new, original songs.
In writing songs for Superhero, Berkner says that she was inspired by many things. Her childhood love for fireworks and bubble baths inspired songs “Fireworks” and “Bubbles.” Her desire to share ideas that she wishes she had thought more about when she was little was another inspiration. “For example, that doing something thoughtful is enough to make you a superhero, and that choosing to say “Yes” to something can make your life better, even if it scares you,” Berkner says. Her daughter also served as inspiration for a few tracks, including “Tea Party” and “Elephant In There.”
“I’m so excited about this,” Berkner says of her upcoming book, We Are The Dinosaurs, out March 21. “The text is the lyrics to my song, “We Are The Dinosaurs,” and the pictures bring the song together into a story,” she says. “There is also sheet music printed onto the back of the hardcover itself.”
“When I write a song, I usually start with one idea like a phrase, a theme, a rhythm I like, or a melody I’ve started to develop,” Berkner says of her songwriting process. “Then, I slowly bring in the other parts that are missing by playing with the words and the notes and thinking about what I’m trying to say or express. It’s a pretty thorough process that starts from nothing and ends up as a song.”
When it comes to her book, it was a very different experience, as the book consists of her song lyrics. “Writing a song is a creative process that comes directly from me, and working on the book was more about reacting to the creative process of a team of other people, and then helping to shape it.”
Laurie Berkner has seen many successes, such as performing at Carnegie Hall and the White House, as well as being featured on television. She also sang the opening credits for an episode of “Weeds.” So, what does she consider her greatest accomplishment? “I think my greatest accomplishment is just that I’ve actually made a living being creative and doing something that I love for the last twenty years. And that I’m still doing it,” she says.
Berkner is slated to perform at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington. “I’ll sing many of my best known songs, as well as some from my new album, Superhero. She urges fans to get ready to move and dance.
Through her music, Laurie Berkner wants children to see their own importance, and “that music is a powerful and fun way for them to express themselves, both physically and emotionally.”
To learn more about Laurie Berkner, and to purchase her latest album and book, head over to her website.