As I write this, Mother’s Day is fast approaching.
This year is different than any previous year for me because this year, I am a mother. As a mom, or as a parent, you have many hopes and dreams for your child.
As a music journalist and a mom, many of my hopes for my daughter are music related. Very early on in my pregnancy, I swore that my child would be exposed to music I love.
I was a firm believer that kids’ music doesn’t have to be “kids’ music.” “Let It Go” is fine and great, but there is so much more out there that both kids and adults can enjoy.
Also, as a woman, it’s important to me that she is familiar with women who are paving the way for other women. I want her to know the joy in music, the art, the genius, the sheer power of a great song.
These may seem trivial for some parents when it comes to developmental goals for kids, but in my mind these things are just as important as rolling over, learning to count or tie your shoes. With that, here is a list of artists I plan to ensure my daughter knows.
Dolly Parton – Songwriter of one of the most successful songs of all time (“I Will Always Love You”) and queen of kitsch and country glamour, Dolly is a must-know for any respectable music lover. Her success and longevity as an artist, as well as her kindness and her fearless tenacity to remain true to her roots and herself, make her a great role model.
Kid friendly songs: majority of her catalogue is rated “G”,” but fun ones include “9 to 5”, “Islands in the Stream,” and “Coat of Many Colors.”
Tom Waits – Tom is the antithesis of conforming to the status quo. His avant garde approach to music is a lesson in creativity that every child should learn. He regularly breaks the rules of music, literally marching to the beat of his own drummer creating material unlike anything else out there.
Kid friendly songs: “Big In Japan”, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”, “Clap hands.”
Johnny Cash – My grandpa loved Johnny Cash and rightfully so. His deep straight arrow voice and firm delivery are a molasses cookie for the ears. Johnny is essential, unforgettable and legendary.
Kid friendly songs: The best thing about old country songs are most of them are “G-rated” but here’s a couple fun ones of Johnny’s. “Big River”, “Ring of Fire”, “Jackson.”
Beyonce – A true powerhouse of our time, Beyonce is a prime example of what strong determined women can accomplish. She makes smart, savvy business choices and creates music ripe for our current climate. She sings the songs of the everywoman, her voice representative of our collective. I won’t even live to see the full effect she has on our culture, but my daughter might.
Kid friendly songs – “Irreplaceable”, “Run the World (Girls)”,”Radio”, “Countdown.”
Prince – Hometown hero, musical genius and almost mythical man, Prince was a 4-foot-11 giant among men. His reach and influence stretch far and wide. He was an expert songwriter, singer and musician. He was a secret philanthropist who gave back to his community and put his town on the map. Most of his songs may not be appropriate for her ears until later, but better be damn sure my daughter will know Prince and his legendary status.
Kid friendly songs – “1999”, “Red Corvette”,”Purple Rain”, “Raspberry Beret.”
Bon Iver – Mama’s favorite band, my daughter probably recognizes his songs from hearing them in the womb. Bon Iver wrote the greatest break up album of all time and continues to bend and break the rules of music. Every aspect of what Bon Iver puts out for the listener is well-thought out and intentional. The length of his genius cannot be measured.
Kid friendly songs – “Woods”, “Skinny Love”, “Holocene.”
Stevie Wonder – To know Stevie’s music is to know joy. His songs are infectious, classic and expertly written. These songs are made for living room dance parties.
Kid friendly songs – “Isn’t She Lovely”, “Superstition”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).”
Adele – To know Adele is to know flawless delivery, heartbreaking songs that speak to the human condition and a queen in pop music. Her quirky self-deprecating personality and ability to charm audiences add shine to her star. Her songs will never be dated.
Kid friendly songs – “Chasing Pavement”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Water Under the Bridge.”
Now Playing – The Sister edition
Joseph – This Oregon trio of sisters use harmony to infuse their indie pop songs with richness. Where a group like the Staves make it clear they’re a trio, Joseph likes to play as a single artist, switching up leads and keeping harmonies in the background.
The Secret Sisters – This duo delivers gorgeous dirt road harmonies in their sweet country melodies. They are lend complimentary background vocals on John Paul White’s album Beulah, but stand perfectly well on their own.
Please refer to the giant festival preview
The Purple One – One year past the harrowing loss of our purple shining star, saw countless celebrations across the city. Paisley Park threw down with a weekend of star-studded dance parties to honor him. First Ave did the same complete with a block party. Many other clubs featured DJs and cover bands playing his hits. The fact that he’s gone from this earth is still a hard pill to swallow. Thank goodness his music lives eternal. He even managed to release a posthumous song “Electrical Intercourse.”
Sarah Osterbauer is a die-hard music lover. When she does her budget each month, food comes after concert tickets. Find her on twitter @SarahOwrites.