The soundtrack of our lives is littered with musical memories. When I hear music, I am instantly transported to a memorable time and place. Now that I'm a mom, I'm making new musical memories with my two little chaotic cherubs. So when I found myself in a coffee shop, with my headphones on, listening to “We Can All Share” by Kyler England and Lalo Crane of Freckleland, I knew this musical mommy-duo from Los Angeles was something special. I contacted them to learn more about their music, inspirations, and converse all-stars.
Polka Dots and Converse? (Which I LOVE) How did that come about?
Kyler: We were hoping to capture both the look and the spirit of freckles, (which we both have). Polka dots seemed like the most literal representation of freckles as fellow dots, and they also have a whimsical, childlike feel to them which we love. And Converse was an easy...after years of wearing heels for the grownup music I do; I adore slipping on my chucks for Freckleland!
How do you write your music? Does it start with a message, a melody, or do the lyrics come first?
Lalo: We usually start with a topic or a message either inspired by what’s going on in our kids’ lives or the challenges they’re going to face. Not only does including positive messages come naturally to Kyler and me, but we’ve seen firsthand how influential these songs can be. Soon after Kyler and I wrote “We Can All Share,” while picking up my four-year-old from camp...I overheard the counselor tell my daughter that the color she’d chosen to use in her artwork was a “boy” color and that she should pick a “girl” color. My four year old answered her by calmly quoting the lyrics from “We Can All Share”: “There’s no such thing as a girl thing, there’s no such thing as a boy thing, there’s just a bunch of fun things, and we can all share.”
What are your musical inspirations for Freckleland?
Lalo: When we’re writing, Kyler and I are inspired by anything from New Orleans brass bands to Top 10 pop. Our families love Elizabeth Mitchell, so she's influenced Freckleland's approach. We also admire the organic lushness of Edie Carey's and Sarah Sample’s “’Til the Morning.” I’ve always loved listening to signer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles and Jonatha Brooke, but my background is in jazz and world music. Milt Jackson and Mike Mainieri were my favorite jazz vibraphonists growing up, and I still often start my day with Ella Fitzgerald or Sonny Stitt. I also like geeking out to percussion tracks and chilling with classical music.
When did you decide to use your musical talents to create family-friendly songs and entertainment?
Kyler: I never planned to make children's music. I had been a full-time singer-songwriter since leaving college many years ago, working on various grownup projects from my solo project to my band The Rescues, to dance music. When my daughter was born, it was the most natural thing in the world to write her a lullaby. Lalo heard me sing the lullaby that I started for my daughter and loved it. She asked if I would sing it into my phone and send it to her and the next day she sent it back with a gorgeous shimmering vibraphone part. After that, we started writing more songs for fun for our kids. Initially, we wrote songs that we wanted to sing and play for our kids and one day we realized we had started a band :)
What are your biggest parenting pet peeves?
Kyler: Parenting is such a huge, complex and difficult job. I'm trying to be kind about it and not be too hard on myself or others about the choices I/we make. I think most of us are doing the best we can and are coming from a place of love and wanting the best for our kids.
Lalo: Kindness is the most important thing. Honesty is paramount. And my kids know (but often have to be reminded) that they have to listen to me. I love for them to ask questions and will explain the reasoning for my decisions, but in the end, it’s my job to keep them safe and teach them how to grow up to be good people.
You’ve recently received the 2016 Parent’s Choice Gold Award and the 2016 National Parenting Products Award, how does that feel?
Kyler: It's such an honor to be validated by great organizations like Parents' Choice and NAPPA. They do their homework to recommend high quality, educational and meaningful toys and products of all kinds for children. I'm super proud that they have recognized our work!
Lalo: Freckleland is a work of the heart. The songs we write contain the ideas that I want to pass onto my children, and when I see them singing along or quoting the choruses, then I know that what I’m doing is meaningful. I am incredibly honored to be recognized by parenting and songwriting organizations, and my hope is that these awards will help Freckleland pass on our messages about kindness and imagination to more of my kids’ generation.
What's your top 5 playlist for families in the new year? (either Freckleland originals or not).
1. "Feel What U Feel" by Lisa Loeb featuring Craig Robinson (from The Office)
2."Right Here Now "by Renee and Friends
3."We Can All Share" by Freckleland
4."Take You To Rio" by Ester Dean from the Rio Soundtrack
5."Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift
1. “Little Liza Jane” sung by Elizabeth Mitchell
2. “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King
3.Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
4. "Try Everything” by Shakira
5.“Part of the Band” by The Verve Pipe
What's up next for Freckleland?
Kyler: We're so excited for the world to hear our new EP "I Can Be Anything!" which is officially released in January. It's close to our hearts and has what we believe is a really important message for kids.
Lalo: I’m proud of this music, and it’s so relevant to what’s going on in the world today. Right now we’re having a blast writing and recording more GYWOs (aka “Get Your Wiggles Out” songs), and we’re finishing a Freckleland lullaby album. So we’re busy!
Freckland is currently working on more fun and exciting videos for their YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgzqaC_A8KsJCdovF9HUPFQ