It is time once again for Ask Away Friday. This weekly link up is hosted by Penny of The Real Housewife Of Caroline Country and Amber from Bold Fab Mom. Typically for Ask Away Friday, bloggers pair up, swap 10 questions, and then answer them on their blogs. This week, I’m doing things just a hair differently. I asked Mister G, a children’s musician, a few questions and am hosting his answers here, interview style.
I don’t know about you, but I listen to A LOT of children’s music. There are a lot of great artists out there making music for kids. I don’t have a technical ear, but I can spot passion a mile away. I am thrilled to have recently discovered Mister G, someone who radiates passion for children, education, and music when he’s performing. His music is thoughtful, his catchy rhythms make me want to dance, and the way he weaves Spanish/English vocabulary is into his songs is so flawless Malone doesn’t even know he’s learning. On top of all of this, Mister G is also a excellent guitar player. If I had to describe his musical “style” (and please keep in mind here that I am NOT a trained musical ANYTHING), I would say it was singer songwriter rock with a smidge of folk and a strong Latin undertone.
I approached Mister G about participating in an Ask Away Friday here because he is genuinely 100% someone YOU NEED TO KNOW. This is not a sponsored post. Mister G has offered a copy of his latest CD, ABC Fiesta, for me to giveaway (see the bottom of this post) to one lucky reader.
Welcome Mister G!
You are fluent in Spanish, a former teacher with a Masters Degree, and studied songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Your seamlessly weave Spanish/English vocabulary through your songs. Was combining your passion for education and music always your end goal? Or, did it evolve over time?
Mister G: For many years I wrote and performed exclusively for grown-ups. It wasn’t until I went back to school and became a teacher that I became interested in combining music and education. Everything about the Mister G project has evolved organically (and surprisingly) over time.
There are certain songs that are written on my heart because I heard them so much throughout my childhood. My mother loved the Beach Boys and whenever I hear Help Me Rhonda, I am immediately taken back to riding in her yellow Buick. What song(s) are written on your heart?
Mister G: Pretty much everything that played on FM radio between 1977-1983! “Message in a Bottle” by The Police has some particularly strong childhood associations as does “Look Sharp” by Joe Jackson. And, somewhat embarrassingly, The Carptenters greatest hits album which was the first record I ever owned.
You are very approachable during your concerts and often invite children on stage to dance while you perform. What is the craziest thing that has ever happened during one of those moments?
Mister G: I love getting the kids up on stage and letting them become part of the show. Part of the fun is that no two shows are ever the same and I never know what’s going to happen. The craziest moment was probably a show in Mexico City where every kid in the audience ended up coming up to sing and dance. The stage was shaking!
On your new album ABC Fiesta, you collaborated with a husband and wife animation team in Argentina to produce the music videos for Cocodrilo and ABC Fiesta. Can you briefly describe how that collaboration worked?
Mister G: Cocodrilo is a collaboration with an amazing Leandro Antolini and Andrea Cingolani who are based in Argentina. I had worked with Leandro originally when he illustrated my song “Sneaky Chihuahua.” We met on Skype and became fast friends. I sent them the song and some video clips of us performing in the US and Latin America and they did the rest.
Two interesting facts: In the original version of the video, Mister G is eaten by the cocodrilo and that’s the end. Leandro and Andrea adopted a dog in Buenos Aires who looks exactly like our dog Josie.
This is a reader question from Jennifer. She’s wondering what your favorite song to perform is and why?
Mister G: Favorite songs seem to change with the seasons for me. These days, it’s “Bailamos” from the Chocolalala album, because it gets everyone in the theater up and dancing.
You have a great educational series called Under The Hat on your website where you combine music and science facts. How did this series get it’s start?
Mister G: Originally, the “Under the Hat” series was designed to teach kids about songwriting. Before I started touring, I was an elementary school teacher and I’ve always been interested in combining music and education . The videos grew out of my desire to share interesting facts about music, science and creativity.
What albums are you listening to right now?
Mister G: Too many to list! Last year I got a turntable, so I’m listening to vinyl albums for the first time in years (kids, ask your parents to explain what I’m talking about!). There’s nothing like that sound when the needle touches down! But to answer your question, some recent albums include: Miles Davis “Sketches of Spain,” Buck Owens “Tiger by the Tail,” Joni Mitchell “Wild Things Run Fast,” Mongo Santamaria “El Pussy Cat,” and Elvis Costello “Punch the Clock.”
This is another reader question. Swansea is wondering how old you were when you wrote your first song.
Mister G: I wrote my first song soon after I started taking guitar lessons when I was nine years old.
This one is for Missus G. My son, Malone (age 4) is wondering what hair color is her favorite?
Missus G: I actually don’t have a favorite hair color, but our dog Josie has very strong opinions on this subject. If she howls when I put my wig on, I know that’s the right one for the show that day.
How did you and Missus G meet?
Mister G: That’s one of my favorite stories. The short answer is that Missus G came up to me in a crowded bar in New York City and asked me to dance.
What has been your favorite place to visit internationally and why?
Mister G: We’ve had amazing experiences performing in Mexico, from big public concerts in Mexico City to small schools in little villages. The audiences are always incredible; kids, parents and grandparents singing and dancing together along with us. We can’t wait to go back next year!
I am a parent who cannot carry a tune in a bucket or play an instrument to save my life. I love music and want to gift my kids with a childhood of music. Do you have any advice for me?
Mister G: Love of music is, by far, the most important thing to share with your kids. Whether you can carry a tune or not (and I bet you can), it’s a great gift to kids to create an environment in the house where music and creativity are a natural part of everyday life. Dancing too!
As I said before, Mister G has offered a copy of his latest CD, ABC Fiesta for me to give away to a reader. To enter to win, click below. This giveaway did not influence today’s post at all. Mister G is amazing, and I am so grateful to get to share him with you today!