Laurie Berkner Plays the Boulder Theater, 2/2
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by BWW News Desk
Z2 Entertainment will present Laurie Berkner to the Boulder Theater on Saturday, February 2 , 2013. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, November 16th, 2012 at 10:00 am for $25 general admission seated, $30 reserved & $50 VIP.
Laurie Berkner has been a professional musician since 1992, but her success as a children's recording artist was a surprise to her. "It was so unexpected," says Laurie. "I'd been performing in rock bands (including Lois Lane, an all-female cover band, as well as her own original rock band, Red Onion) and struggling to write original music. Writing music for kids has not been a struggle at all. The more I started working on material for children, the more I realized that it opened up creativity in me that I never knew I had."
These days critics widely acknowledge Laurie's major contribution toward launching what is now dubbed the progressive "kindie rock" movement - that is, less saccharine, more rocking music that is not dumbed down for children. But it wasn't simply an enormous amount of talent that helped create an entire genre and skyrocketed Laurie to her current position as "the queen of children's music" (People Magazine). It was an ability to gain parents' enthusiasm for the songs too. According to Laurie, "When I'm writing a song, I'm thinking about whether the kids will like it and whether I'm going to connect to them through it. I'm also thinking about whether I want to sing it over and over again, so I guess that's the part that connects with adults. 'Old MacDonald Had A Farm' is a great song for kids, but I couldn't sing it 100 times!"
Laurie's first release in 1997, Whaddaya Think Of That? (only available on cassette at the time) was inspired by the parents of her young students. "The children were really responding to the music we created together," explains Laurie. Many of the songs involve movement, and all of them invite children's participation.
Laurie's third release, Victor Vito (1999) drew her first stellar reviews in the national media. Laurie began performing live with Susie Lampert on keyboards, later adding Laurie's husband Brian Mueller on bass, and thus the first incarnation of The Laurie Berkner Band was born. The trio began performing high-energy live shows that inspired tots to form kiddie mosh pits and throw stuffed animals on the stage. After their national TV debut on the "Today Show" in 2001, the band's fan base grew so much that Laurie was able to move Two Tomatoes Records out of her one-bedroom apartment into a real office.
Laurie's fourth studio CD, Under A Shady Tree (2002), garnered multiple awards, and critics singled out the recording as one of the best of the year. 2004 marked a major turning point for the band. Laurie, Brian and Susie made their debut on the Nick Jr. TV channel (then called NOGGIN) with a series of six music videos. Laurie admits, "I didn't really anticipate the impact being on TV would have." Indeed, the exposure on national television made her a household hit to millions.
The network then asked Laurie to guest star in its' new original half-hour series "Jack's Big Music Show." Laurie is featured in nearly every episode. "The accessibility and the combination of the visual with the music is a positive way to connect with kids and their parents," says Laurie. "The kids really love it, and the parents go from thinking 'Please be something I can tolerate' to being moved by it themselves."
In June 2010, Laurie released her first-ever compilation of songs, The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band. July 2011 marked the release of the band's first new DVD of original videos since 2006, Party Day! (Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie). The DVD is packaged with a bonus CD that includes a new, acoustic version of the band’s hit song "My Family."
2011 ended with the December release of Barnes & Noble's first-ever original NOOK Kids™ Read and Play™ NOOK Kids™ Book, based on the title track from Party Day!. The Party Day e-book is a musical adventure featuring animation and interactive games.
Laurie continues to be inspired by her audience. "I want to create songs that matter for children," she says. "I was singing once and saw a four-year-old girl shut her eyes and start swaying to the music. I thought, 'That's the reason I got into music.' It keeps me wanting to do more."
When she's not making music, Laurie enjoys visiting The Farmer's market for organic produce, knitting, biking and spending time with Brian and their daughter Lucy. They live in New York City.