Friday, April 08, 2011

Joanie Leeds Unleashes Her Inner Animal

Surprisingly, It's Eight Years Old

Joanie Leeds has been singing since she was two years old. While her career has taken her into the adult music realm, Joanie kept in touch with her inner kindie spirit. Her fourth children's CD, What A Zoo!, invigorates that concept.

While growing up on the mean streets of Miami, Florida, Joanie developed a love and appreciation for the outdoors. "Whether I was relaxing by the ocean with my mom, camping or hiking with my dad, or taking class trips to the Florida Everglades, nature and beauty surrounded me," Joanie says in the liner notes. Her brother Jonathan became an environmentalist. Inspired by his actions, she spent several years writing a collection of animal tunes. "I hope the content also encompasses and encourages a larger message, for both children and adults," she adds.

The menagerie starts with "All the Animals," an accountant's dream that tracks the appendages of various creatures. Listeners then travel to the waterfront for "Mosquitoes" and a hiphop take on "Froggy Went A'Courtin'" featuring kidhop funkmaster Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

Joanie stays in the water for "Big Blue Whale" ("The biggest animal to ever live on the Earth"), "Happy as a Clam," and "See Cow." She ventures onto higher ground and covers Phish on "Possum," as well as "Pony Boy" and "Wimoweh" (otherwise known as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"). Two ballads, "Hummingbird" and "My Butterfly" are pleasant but cover the same melodic ground. It's a tribute to the animal kingdom and Joanie Leeds (and her band, the Nightlights) trek from the mountains to the seas to make sure no reptile or amphibian is shorted in the journey.

I'm interested in what's coming next from Joanie - a kindie "supergroup" project in the vein of "We Are the World." Joanie and superproducer Tor Hyams are recording a new version of his song, "A World of Happiness" with a bevy of artists including herself, Frances England, Caspar Babypants, Billy Kelly, Billy Jonas, Ralph Covert, Recess Monkey, and many more. Fingers are crossed and hoping for a great success on their part.
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