Published on November 8th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
A Look At How Laurie Berkner Became & Continues To Be The Long-Term “Queen Of Kids’ Music”
Best-selling children’s music artist Laurie Berkner has been called the “queen of kids’ music” by People Magazine and the “Adele of the preschool crowd” by the New York Times. Yet not everyone realizes that in addition to being the singer and songwriter of the music she helms, Berkner is also the founder of the Two Tomatoes Records label that put out most of her music. Berkner not only garners an average of nine million monthly streams — she has already surpassed 100 million streams in 2019 alone — but Berkner has also authored multiple books, created music that has been featured in Off-Broadway plays produced by New York City Children’s Theater and created an Audible Original Series.
Back in July, it was announced that Laurie Berkner struck a deal with the Concord Music Group – a company whose catalog includes work related to Pink Floyd, Common, Iggy Pop and KIDZ BOP alike – for the partial acquisition of her recording and publishing catalogs. Previously just distributed by Concord, Berkner is now bringing her full back catalog to the still-independent Concord, forming a long-term partnership with the company. Her 13th studio album, Waiting For The Elevator, was subsequently released last month to both strong sales commercially and rave reviews critically.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Laurie Berkner by phone on August 21, 2019, and below are a few of the inspiring and thought-provoking quotes she provided within that exclusive interview.
On always being interested in melody-driven music:
Laurie Berkner: “My parents always thought I was going to go into advertising because I would listen to commercials and jingles and I would sing them… I just felt there was sort of a real art to that. In a way that’s kind of what kids music is. You have to be able to just get one really good idea across in a way that captures somebody pretty quickly that can be repeated over and over and easily.”
On how a friend helped turn her musical passion into a proper career:
Laurie Berkner: “The only reason I even ever started my own business was because I had a good friend who was freelancing at the time, she was a writer. We knew each other actually since elementary school, but we kind of reconnected in college and then stayed friends right out of college. I made this album and she was freelancing and I called her, ‘I don’t know what to do, I am so bad at promoting myself, but I feel like if people heard this music maybe they would buy it. I don’t know how to get them to hear it.’ She said, ‘I’m going to come over once a week and on Friday afternoons we’ll just meet for a couple of hours.’ I was like, ‘I can pay you $50 a week to do that… and give you a to-do list…’
One weird thing is that a lot of the people who have been helping me, none of them studied business either… It’s been only within the last four or five years I really have gotten some direct business help, which has made an enormous difference in my life. I recommend everybody do that much earlier, but it’s possible without it, I guess.”
On what her 2020 is shaping up to look like:
Laurie Berkner: “It’s very open right now… I do have more songs already finished and that I’m working on… I certainly want to keep putting out music, but there’s also this project with Audible where I wrote chapters or stories that incorporate my music in them. I would love to do more of that. So that may happen…
Hopefully I’ll actually be doing some more traveling and performing outside of the United States as well as more inside the United States. So I kind of feel like I’m seeing what starts to grow, and continue to write my music. I just have a lot of different ideas that are also much bigger fantasies, things that I don’t know if they would still happen or not, but I would love to work on another musical and I’m hoping that will be part of the future. Then I’m sure there are things I can’t even imagine.”
On her last words for the kids:
Laurie Berkner: “Mine would be: “Follow what you love.” I think that’s for any kid or any adult who is still connected to that kid inside the adults or any kids. I think that’s just a good way to think about life.”