Published on November 14th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Trombone Shorty On The 10th Annual Benefit Concert Of Little Kids Rock & Upcoming Projects
Founded by David Wish, Little Kids Rock has presented more than 850,000 underserved schoolchildren with access to instruments and music education. Working on this mission since 2002, Little Kids Rock founder David Wish has made an impact in over 5,000 schools across 45 states. According to Way, the goal is for it to have served over 1 million students by the year 2020.
As music education is a cause that speaks to many high-profile people, the annual Little Kids Rock benefit in New York City is known to be a star-studded event. This year’s event, which took place at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, was no exception. Paul Shaffer served as host, while the evening’s honorees were Trombone Shorty and Lake Street Dive. Other attendees included actor Bernie Williams, Grace Kelly, Jon Batiste and Will Lee. Honorees and guests for the annual benefit through the years have included Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Smokey Robinson, Steve Miller, Steven Van Zandt, Graham Nash, Joan Jett, Mike Myers, and David Letterman.
This year’s event raised over $1 million and I had the pleasure of interviewing some of its celebrity attendees. Below are highlights from Q&A with Trombone Shorty. More information on the worthwhile organization, including how to get involved and where to donate, can be found at www.littlekidsrock.org, while Trombone Shorty can be visited online at www.tromboneshorty.com.
How did you first get involved with Little Kids Rock?
Trombone Shorty: Giving kids the opportunity to learn about and fall in love with music is a big deal to me. I have my own foundation supporting music education in New Orleans, so when I heard about Little Kids Rock, it felt like a natural fit. It’s an honor to be recognized by such a wonderful organization.
What do you like most about the Little Kids Rock cause?
Trombone Shorty: I like that it was started by a teacher, someone who knows the challenges kids and educators face in keeping music and arts relevant in the schools. Just the dedication to the cause and to the kids is what stands out to me most.
Little Kids Rock aside, what are you currently working on?
Trombone Shorty: I’m currently working on my next record, and also producing a record on a band I work with called New Breed Brass Band. Some of the players in that band are instructors at my Foundation’s Music Academy, where we help keep traditional New Orleans brass band music alive and passing on that knowledge to the kids. We want to do our part keep the music alive for American and for New Orleans, to keep the heritage and the legacy of New Orleans going.
Is there a career accomplishment you are most proud of?
Trombone Shorty: The tour I did this summer, The Voodoo Threauxdown, was a historic moment for me in my career. We put the tour together to help celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, and it was a lot of fun but also something that had never really happened before. It was a blast to be on the road with so many musicians and artists I had grown up with and learned from — Cyril Neville, Preservation Hall, Galactic, Kermit Ruffins, Walter Wolfman Washington… Cyril took me on the road with him when I was 12, so to have him come out and tour with me was a very proud moment. I was proud of the event and to represent my city across the country for so many people. We did about 30 dates from coast to coast.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
Trombone Shorty: I feel like I’m almost always working, pushing my craft and my music forward. But I love to spend time in New Orleans with my family.
As Little Kids Rock is a music-related cause, I must ask: What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Trombone Shorty: I saw Drake when he came to New Orleans at the end of September; it worked out perfect because it was a rare off day for me so I got to go home for a minute to see the show at the arena. It was incredible — the stage was in the middle of the floor, and it was just him all alone on stage performing. It was powerful and inspiring, both artistically and from a production and show presentation standpoint.
Do you have a favorite album of 2018?
Trombone Shorty: That’s a tough one, I listen to Spotify a lot, different playlists like the Global Top 50 and I am also always listening to different tracks people send me, producers and collaborators, so I haven’t spent much time with one album this year.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Trombone Shorty: The kids are the future of our music — and I think that future is in good hands. I’m trusting them to keep pushing the boundaries and bringing new influences and new energy to their music. And that way, we can learn from them.