The 2016 Childern’s Music Awards will be awarded in Auckland on August 9. Finalist for both Best Song and Best Album, Lake Hawea resident and mother of two, Anna Van Riel, kindly agreed to answer Silke Hartung‘s questions.
Don’t laugh. I remember sitting in the back bench set of Dad’s Holden Kingswood where the radio was perpetually playing, and Joe Cocker came on with that duet with Jennifer Warnes. I was in Invercargill and must have been almost 4, totally fist pumping and rocking it out in the back seat, hollering “love lifts us where belong”, while the smell of car vinyl and Dad’s tools permeated around me. I thought that song was gold!
I’m not really thinking of album sell-ability when I’m writing songs. I just write what comes, and what feels good. All of my grown up music, I now realise, have aspects of children’s music in them because it’s part of me. But it works – especially effective live.
My rule is to ensure I remind myself of what it felt like to be little and write accordingly.
When I wrote ‘Cooking Up A Song’ I thought it would be cool to create songs that inspired parents and carers to interact musically with their kids. I’ve had lots of feedback about it being the saviour in the car and the family “boogie in the lounge” album which makes me happy.
You do exactly that. You gig lots, and you do what you can to get your name out there and create a buzz. I network lots. Facebook is free and it’s got a broad reach. My local community, radio and papers are amazing too. I have some awesome friends who understand what being an independent artist entails and they’ve got my back. It’s hard work, especially with wee ones, but I love it. I’d love a great manager to share the load with though.
As far as I’m concerned NZ is leading by example. Not only do we have epic advocates like Suzy Cato who truly care, but APRA NZ and Recorded Music value music for our tamariki. I have full pride in our children’s music industry, and at this rate we can only grow and get better.
Stinky songs for kids, a funky pop single for grown ups, and Doodlebug TV, my YouTube channel for kids. I’ve just picked up a great instrument made by Seagull called the ‘Merlin‘, and am writing new material on that. I have 200 hours of footage from a North American tour that needs editing into music videos if anyone out there wants a project, and I really need to plant my garlic!