Imagine getting paid to engage and entertain kids through music and dance. Sound too good to be true? Nope — so is the life (errr…shall we say enviable life) of Andy Zamenes, a children’s performer and singer-songwriter whose original songs, albums and videos will get even the most ornery kid up and dancing. Andy’s performances incorporate character voices and puppets, as well as genres that include folk, jazz, hip hop and blues.
Andy recently sat down with us to talk about his love of music, summer plans, and favorite neighborhood haunts.
What are the last five songs/albums you downloaded on your iPod/MP3 player?
1. The Beatles- Revolver (don’t know how I never got this album before. I’m a Beatles nut!)
2. John Lithgow- Singin’ In The Bathtub
It’s his kids’ music album and a masterfully done one at that. I featured his song “Big Kids” on my guest DJ set for the Internet Radio Show “Spare The Rock, Spoil The Child”, and wanted to have a good sounding version of the song and the whole album, so I got it.
3. Danny Kaye- Danny Kaye Sings “Hans Christian Andersen” and Other Favourites. I featured the song “Tongue Twisters” on the same show, and again decided to download the whole album.
I am a HUGE Danny Kaye fan in general, but I’ve been particularly influenced and inspired by his masterful use of rhyming and word play.
4. The Killers- Hot Fuss
One of my favorite new(er) bands. Waited until the songs got somewhat out of rotation to buy this one, and put my gift card to good use!
5. The Police- Ghost In The Machine
Another classic album that I somehow never bought. Gift card to the rescue again!
Describe a perfect Sunday with your family.
It’s all about getting outside ideally- maybe hitting our favorite farmer’s market, and a garage sale that catches our eye(s). Then hitting the coast, maybe staying there until sundown, eating dinner and heading back.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
Playing for more families at repeat and brand new venues (I LOVE my job!), playing some tunes on the new Halloween album, going to Lake Tahoe, and maybe Virginia City, NV while we’re out that way (our sentimental favorite destination). Not too much vacation time nowadays as I’m booked just about every weekend (no complaints!), but we’ll get out when we can! Monterey, Carmel and Capitola are favorite “Indian” summer destinations as well.
What is the last big risk that you’ve taken and how did it turn out?
Taking out a big loan to fund my 5th album. It’s the first one however for older kids (8 to 12) although it will still be accessible to my young fans. This is new territory for me in the realm of kids music, so that’s a risk in itself. But I just work with what the muse brings to me. Also, I’m fortunate enough to be working with Grammy-moninated producer Tor Hyams, and national family music publicist Elizabeth Waldman Frazier this time around. When they agreed to take on this project with me, I HAD to take the risk! I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have a feeling it’s going to be REALLY good!
Tell us about your favorite date night spot.
When we do get a chance to get out, we like to go to the Symphony at Davies Hall in San Francisco. That’s quite a date night, and it doesn’t happen very often, but it feeds the soul for sure. Speaking of feed, we like to go to our favorite Greek Restaurant Kokkari when we’re in SF on a date night. It’s the ambience as much as it is the food.
Tell us about a hidden gem in your neighborhood — a place that the locals love.
Well it’s not such a “hidden” gem per say, but it might be for those outside of Redwood City and the mid-peninsula. We love “Courthouse Square” in front of the old County Courthouse, which is now the San Mateo County History Museum- not only because it’s pretty (which it is) but because there is a different event going on there more often than not. Whether it’s a concert, outdoor salsa dance-off and presentation, a family movie on the square (summer nights, kinda like a drive-in movie without the cars), or ice skating (the city puts up an ice skating rink in the square) there is much more to do downtown than when I was a kid. The hometown I’ve found myself living in again has come a LONG way!
Thanks, Andy for speaking to Red Tricycle! We can’t wait to catch your next show.