What a Beautiful Day by BENNY TIME is an album that has recently been released by PreSchool Teacher, Benny. The album is terrific and we are now play listing it on Little Rockers Radio! We caught up with Benny to find out more...
LRR: Your new album 'BENNY TIME: What a beautiful day' is brilliant. When we listened to it at Little Rockers Radio we knew we wanted to Playlist it straight away. Tell us a little about the album and how it came about.
BT: I’m a preschool teacher and quite a lot of these songs have been written or honed in the classroom over several years. I would love to say their genesis was to provide a rich educational environment for children in my care, but truth be told, they came from the need to quiet a rioting mass of kids. After encouragement from fellow teachers and friends, I went the next step and structured the songs into something a bit more definitive and less, "lets pack away the room" type teacher deal, and before I new it I had a whole collection of songs to record. So I did. I handed out the demo to the kids and staff at the centre, for their feedback and thankfully (and possibly out of politeness) feedback was good. And that’s a pretty much how the album stayed.
LRR: What can people expect when they listen?
BT: I like to think there is a healthy does of variation in musical styles, without it being too confusing, but I also feel the subject matter is pretty respectful to kids. Children are clever and hopefully the album pays homage to that
LRR: You work in early childhood education, how did your knowledge in this area help influence the development of this album?
BT: I feel there’s a great divide between what people think kids can cope with and what kids can actually cope with and I think this is the biggest thing that influenced the album. As adults we have a lifetime of different influences that shape an opinion, which children simply haven't had so their perspective is often very different to ours. The Family Song is a good example of this. From the outside it looks like an adult driven song but the lyrics are taken directly from a conversation I had with a group of 4 yr old boys talking about families. (Did I just confess to owing them royalties)
One other aspect, which was inspired by a Childcare director of mine, was the concept of perfection. I was once building a fence at a daycare I worked at and it came time to trim the fence palings to the same size in length, looking neat and tidy. My director asked that I left them, suggesting that not everything has to be perfect. Where's the interest for a child if everything looks the same. That really stuck with me both as a teacher and a musician. The production on 'What a beautiful Day' could be easily termed, Low-Fi (Basically an arty way of saying, it sounds a little rough around the edges) and I'm quite proud of that as it presents the notion of imperfection. I suspect half the parents in the world probably don't sing to their kids after a certain age, as they are afraid of how their voice sounds out loud. I’m hoping that’s just an assumption, but if not, perhaps listening to the album might encourage them to throw the self-consciousness aside and join in.
LRR: You're a Dad, with another one the way, due very soon. Careers and enterprises start for many when they become a Mum or Dad, did becoming a Dad drive you to create children's music, or was it always on the cards?
BT: I think it was always on the cards. I’m a diploma-trained teacher and have a Bachelor in Music so I think mashing the two together made sense. Having my daughter perhaps made it easier to test songs out and certainly having her at a show makes me want to do more. Anyone on television singing or with a guitar she now assumes are my friends and asks if she can meet them. I met Murray (wiggle) Cook recently and showed her a picture. She’s still waiting for him to come over and play some songs for her.
LRR: On your site you mention you share, knowledge, thoughts, interviews and more. What are your plans with both the site and your music?
BT: I enjoy the site. I don't put to much pressure on it in terms of constant content; rather just put things up when I have something I feel is worth sharing. I’ve always felt that as childcare workers we are privy to information about child development that most people wouldn't really know about or know where to find and I like the idea of being able to share some of that where I can.
The interviews are mainly about shining a light on the things and people that influence our children. It’s about giving these artists a chance to discuss what they do as artists. They have enormous impact and influence on our children so its nice to hear them talk about it as professionals. When I started out on the idea I thought it would be hard to get in touch with them, but by and large it’s been really simple. They have all been quite willing to be involved. I suspect not many people have taken the time to ask them about their work and they seem very grateful to talk about it without there having to be a puppet involved.
Music? I’m currently working on two new albums. One in the same vein as 'What a beautiful Day' and one which is a collection of original songs for 1-2 yr olds that parents can sing to their kids, but as you mentioned, my second child is due in only a few short weeks, so with two kids and working full time, fingers crossed they both happen in the next 6 to 12 months.
LRR: Can you sum up BENNY TIME in just 3 words?
BT: Little. Bit. Cheeky
LRR: What's your number 1 parenting hack (tip or trick)?
BT: When getting books for your kids, read them on your own first and get the one you really enjoy. That way, when you’re asked to read it for the 100th time, you’ll be happy to. Also, Kids remember EVERYTHING, so speak wisely when promising ice-cream.
LRR: Anything else you would like to add?
BT: I just want to say thank you to Little Rockers Radio for taking the time for giving us kid performers a voice. Its always hard to get something like this off the ground so its nice to know support and encouragement is out there. Thanks a Million.
LRR: Aww, thanks Benny! Thanks for making great kids music!! :-)