Armed with a repertoire of lively and upbeat pop songs that cover just about everything from shapes to eating healthy, Alphabet Rockers are rocking their way into kids’ lives across the country. You’d be hard-pressed to attend an Alphabet Rockers‘ show and not see the audience jumping to their feet and boogey-ing down with members Kaitlin, Stefanie, and Tommy. Red Tricycle was lucky enough to catch this super-talented three piece in between shows and ask them a few questions about what it’s like to be a kids’ music icon and why they love their job.
How did Alphabet Rockers come about?
KAITLIN: I started to write songs for kids in 2005, and found that all the songs that came to me were rap/hip hop beats and grooves like what I was listening to on the radio. When I finished the first album, I instantly got calls for live shows – and turned to my high school friend Stefanie to beatbox and create a live show for families. We quickly realized there was a missing piece, and scouted Tommy to join us, after seeing him perform in plays and in great live bands. It feels like the year we played 35 shows in libraries, schools, communities, and family venues – we found our own beat, rhythm and humor and truly became the Alphabet Rockers.
What is your favorite venue to play so far?
K: You would think the biggest crowds are the MOST fun to perform for – and they can be! But sometimes we will have just as much fun in a library, or singing for kids in a shelter. It’s the connection between the parents and kids and the community that is created that makes it the most fun. On the road, our Video Release party in Brookline, MA was really a blast.
STEFANIE: I love school shows best, but as far as public venues, I like Freight & Salvage. Its big and bustling, yet still feels intimate and the kids can be right at the edge of the stage singing along.
TOMMY: My favorite venues so far are Ashkenaz and Freight & Salvage – both in Berkeley. We’ll see though, we have a long road ahead where we are going to play a ton more shows!
With kids as your audience, anything can happen…any particularly funny moments?
K: When we were teaching our rainbow handshake, and Tommy came in and improvised— “wait, it’s a double rainbow!” (ala “double rainbow” video from YouTube). Still makes me giggle.
S: When someone yelled “lemur!” when we asked for an animal to add to our rap and we had no idea how to move like one…
T: When at the end of a library show all the kids went up to our merchandise table and just started taking stuff, Kazoos, tattoos, pencils and what not and walking away. The situation wasn’t too funny but the look on Kaitlin’s face was hilarious!!!
How do you rally yourselves to rock the morning stage when you’ve had a late night with your own kids?
S: Our first song helps, when we sing “I stretch real tall, real tall, real tall” — then I feed off the energy of my awesome costars and the kids in the audience!
T: Kaitlin and I are always in competition about who can out “Happy” who. Who will come through with the most energy?!! Then the two of us rally Stef.
K: I love the energy contest, even when I’m faking it! Of course Tommy is the only one of us with a son right now – and sometimes he comes along and gets us running around before the show!
What are the next coming up concerts?
We are performing Saturday, April 27 at Museum of Chinese in America in New York City, May 3 & 4 in Boston at the Children’s Museum and Coolidge Corner Theater. We’ll be touring schools and libraries throughout the rest of the school year and then presenting our Family Hip Hop Music Festival in the Bay Area on June 16! We’ll be sure to send invitations and ticket giveaways to our Red Tricycle. Red Tricycle’s Totally Awesome Award for us meant the world to us as Best Kids Artist — we’ll always love working with you coast-to-coast!
What is your little one’s favorite Alphabet Rockers song?
photos courtesy of Alphabet Rockers