Monday, January 14, 2013

My Interview with Mr. Steve About His New CD, Orangutan Van and More...

If you have young children and tune into PBS Kids daily, like we do, then you probably know Steve Roslonek from "Music Time with SteveSongs. Every morning, my daughters can't wait to start their day with some of their favorite animated PBS Kids characters. But, before they do, they always watch "Music Time with SteveSongs" and get and get moving to SteveSongs interactive and fun songs and music.  Here is must one of the girls' favorite songs from Mr. Steve's new album:

When I was asked if I wanted to interview Steve, how could I say, "No."  Even though my daughters are too young to go crazy like young girls would if they found out their parent would be interviewing one of their favorite musicians, I know they will think I am "pretty cool" down the road when they get older and  I share my post with them.  Even though Mr. Steve as he is known by many is not as big as some of the boy bands or teeny bopper singers out there, he is huge for PBS Kids fans, ages 3-7 yrs. (and younger)   I even know a few moms in my playgroups who love Steve -- don't worry ladies, I will not disclose your names. :--)  In my interview with Mr. Steve, he shares more about his upcoming release, Orangutan Van (which you can order now), as well as some fun things you may not have known about it, like his musical inspirations, past jobs, etc.
So, please enjoy my interview with Mr. Steve, and make sure you head on over to his website afterwards to pick up a copy of his new CD, .  You can learn more about his CD and read my personal review here:

Interview with Mr. Steve of "Music with SteveSongs" Seen on PBS Kids

1) What inspired you to write this album?

"Well, almost every song has it’s own inspiration. For the last 5 years, my writing partner, Anand Nayak, and I have been having fun writing a bunch of songs for the PBS KIDS interstitial music videos that play every morning. PBS KIDS usually provides a topic assignment, which we then write a song about.  We’ve created and recorded over 70 one minute long songs (59 seconds to be exact). For the Orangutan Van album, being able to write new songs about anything we wanted and make the songs as long as we wanted was liberating. 

I’m working with a program called Soar with Reading that is aimed at getting kids excited about reading during the summer months and so I wanted to write an interactive spelling song – that’s where Soaring with Reading came from. 

My son and I were walking home from lunch one afternoon and a man in a wheel chair was having trouble getting up the hill. Josh and I helped push the man to his house and Josh said we were like Batman.  That gave me the idea for Superhero You and Me.  The following week I visited The Absolutely Mindy show on Sirius/XM Kids Place Live and we asked the listeners to call in with examples of how they had helped other people. All of those kids’ names and helping examples made it into the song. 

For ‘Someday I…’, I just started writing down phrases that I heard Josh say about what he wanted to be or do “someday”.  All of the words in that song (except the bridge) are verbatim from him as a 3 year old (to give credit where it is due, we signed up Josh as a registered ASCAP songwriter).  

Orangutan Van was actually a song idea that Anand came up with for one of the PBS KIDS Interstitials.  The song was too long to fit into one minute so it didn’t work for TV, but we loved it so much that we still wanted to record it and share it with people – so we found a place for it as the title track of the album."

2) What topic do you love singing about the most?

"It’s hard to pick one - I really love creating an eclectic album- writing about a lot of different topics, as opposed to one theme for a whole set of songs.  I like to sing about something that has meaning to me, like We’re All in This Together and Superhero You and Me, but then following that up with a song about Opposites or Bubbles. I am having the most amount of fun now singing our new song called Song without a Rhyme, which Anand and I perform like a game.  I try to get him to rhyme and he tries to get me to rhyme – the first one to rhyme loses.  That’s how we recorded it for the album too.  Recently a mom told me that her daughter likes listening to that song on the CD, she keeps listening over and over in the hopes that I’ll finally win the game. "

3) What topic haven't you covered in your songs, but would love to? 

"Hotel Pools --- What is it about the Hotel pool that excites kids beyond containment? “There’s a hotel pool!?  Yes!!!” It’s like the sky has opened up and God has laid the gift of gifts down – Hallelujah! That would be a fun topic to write about."

4) What does your son, Josh, think about your being "Mr. Steve":

"I started filming my first PBS spots when Josh was just three weeks old (he and my wife Lori actually came with me to New York for the filming), so he doesn't really know any different.  He's normally a pretty talkative kid but whenever anyone asks him "what do you think of your dad on tv?" he simply answers "good".  It was only last year that he came home from preschool and said, as if he had discovered something interesting, "You know what Dad? Alex's dad is not on tv". "

5) Do you think your son will follow in your footsteps musically?

"There’s a line in one of the new songs from my son, “Someday I’ll be a good drum man in a band with you.” What a dream that would be for me.  Who knows what will catch his long term interest?  Right now, he does love putting words together for poems and we write little ditties together.  He does the rap on the new Flat Stanley song on the album and live too.  He’s got great rhythm and sings out enthusiastically, though he doesn’t usually stay in the same key for very long. He’s avant garde that way. J"

6) Who are your musical inspirations?

"For kids music: School House Rock, Sesame Street and the Muppet Show.  I have a number of super talented friends making music that amazes me – just to name a few: Daisy Mayhem Band, Brandon Patton, Don Dilego, Gaby Alter, Sam Bigelow, Joachim Horsely, Five Oclock Shadow, Gustafer Yellowgold, Matt Steckler.:

7) What is next for 2013?

"2013 is going to be a big busy year.  We’ll be touring the new Orangutan Van album and doing PBS Member Station appearances across the country.  I’m working on a new book with NBA star Glen “Big Baby” Davis. He’s a great guy who started a foundation dedicated to helping kids through literacy and healthy life choices. I’m working on a new song/video for the Recess Rocks program aimed at combating the childhood obesity epidemic by helping teachers to get kids moving in class while they learn.  And the biggest, potentially most exciting project of all - I can’t mention just yet.  But if your readers want to sign up for my mailing list at, I’ll be sharing info about and looking for a lot of feedback/ideas from kids and parents about it throughout the year."

8) If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?

"I used to be a business and technology consultant so I already did "quit my day job". But if I had to quit this day job maybe I’d join the circus.  I'll tell you what I would not be...A taxicab driver.  I'm terrible with directions and I even get lost driving around my hometown where I’ve lived, off and on, since I was 5."

9) Fun fun -- What hidden talent do you have?

"I can speak pretty clearly with my mouth closed.  It's like ventriloquism  but weirder."

---Get Mr. Steve's New CD, Orangutan Van Now---

Even though the album doesn't official arrive in stores until January 29th, you can pick it up at Steve's website right now.  If you go to,  you'll see a splash page, with a link, at the front of the site.  The link goes to Steve's online store:, where you can purchase the CD for only $14.99, or the digital copy for $9.99.

If you love Mr. Steve's previous albums or his morning music spots on PBS Kids, then you will love his new album.  My girls and I can't get enough of it, and love have mini dance parties in the living room, as we listen to it. :-)

And, once you do buy and listen to the CD, head back here and let me know which song your child(ren) like best. Enjoy!

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