When my daughter was younger (up to about six years old) her favourite musicians were the Canadian children’s performers Bobs & LoLo. The Vancouver-based duo caught the “ear” of my daughter one afternoon when she was a toddler watching Treehouse. Their music video for “Raindrop Pop” came on and from that moment on, my daughter was hooked.
Music by Bobs & Lolo is always easy on adult-ears and upbeat and fun for young ears. When no one is looking, my now 9-year old daughter can still be found singing and dancing along to Bobs & LoLo with her four- and two-year old cousins. My daughter loves that she has passed on her love of Bobs & LoLo to her cousins. Her four-year old cousin, Aubrey, loves dancing to their newest album and when asked her favourite song, she eagerly replied, "Blue Skies!" She likes it because it's a long song and has lots of blue skies in it! ;)
Bobs & Lolo’s catchy songs often carry a life lesson or environmental message (I still catch myself singing “R-E-C-Y-C-L-E – Recycle, Recycle with me” when I ask my daughter to put something in the recycle bins (much to her embarrassment).
Bobs & Lolo’s newest album, Blue Skies, is filled with familiar beats their fans have come to adore, this time celebrating “sunshine and laughter, individuality and creative expression, big feelings and bigger hearts, special days, special places and the special little people that fill our lives with love, hope and happiness.”
It comes as no surprise that Blue Skies is nominated for a 2018 Juno Children’s Album of the Year Award. Their music is memorable, fun and is a perfect introduction into music for young kids.
Robin Hardy and Lorraine Pond are the creative geniuses behind Bobs & Lolo. They met as Girl Guides and have been making music together since they were teenagers. I recently asked them a few “behind the scenes” questions and here is what they had to say:
1) How did you get started together?
We've been Bobs & LoLo far longer than we have been songwriters, performers or business partners. We actually first met as kids at a Girl Guides camp on Vancouver Island. Years later we ended up at the same high-school where "Bobs" and "LoLo" were our childhood nicknames nearly a decade prior to becoming our stage names.
2) What made you decide to create children’s music together?
The whole project evolved quite organically from our friendship and a mutual interest in music and working with kids. While we first met singing around a campfire, we later studied classical piano with the same music teacher and also sang in a choir and self-directed a cappella quartet. Before we started our musical adventures as Bobs & LoLo, Robyn (Bobs) was teaching elementary school and Lorraine (LoLo) was working in environmental education for the non-profit sector. Songwriting and live performing started out as a fun side project to create support materials for our separate jobs working with children. We never dreamed those early days would lead to running our own business, touring or national television!
3) What are the inspirations behind your newest songs?
Blue Skies is probably our most personal writing project to date. We've always written songs inspired by our own childhoods and a shared love of the outdoors, nature and active living. Blue Skies definitely champions these values but we also found ourselves writing more personal pieces for our own kids, families and all of the longtime fans who have become friends over the years. This album has such a mix of influences and inspiration from family love songs like "We Love You" and "Sunshine" to upbeat kiddie-mosh tunes like "Jump With Me", "Ran To The Park" and "We Can Go Anywhere" to our signature blend of folky jazz in "Whatever the Weather" and "Scrub Scrub". We're really proud of all 14 songs on this album and hope the music and messages resonate with families everywhere.
4) Both of you have families of your own now – how do you find a balance between family and your music?
Probably the biggest bonus of our industry (next to the obvious fun factor!) is that for the most part, we can include our families. Whether on tour or simply as creative inspiration, we try to bring the crew of minis along. That said, with 5 little ones between the two of us all aged 6 and under, life on the road has gotten a little more complex in recent years, but we still try to make it a family adventure whenever possible. Away from the stage, we find balance by spending time with our families in nature, weaving music and laughter into our daily lives and celebrating both parenting wins and struggles with our close network.
5) What does a typical weekday look like for you?
Like all working parents, each day is pretty much a feat of multi-tasking craziness. A typical day starts with an ambitious list of what we want to get through which often includes a number of work-related items, play dates, extracurricular kiddie activities, school drop-offs and pick-ups, meal planning and subsequent grocery runs, quick walks for the dog, park play, meetings in the minivan and conference calls in the bathroom so we don't wake the babies, of course. We can also usually count on some sibling mediation, preschooler negotiations and a ridiculous amount of potty time too. The combo of parenting and professional life definitely has it’s share of challenges, but we feel fortunate to be able to do both. Some days hold big wins for work and family and some days are better left in the fog of motherhood and caffeine.
6) What is one thing fans would be surprised to know about each of you?
The first thing that came to mind is that Bobs' favourite food is bacon and LoLo is a vegetarian. We're not always matchy-match!
7) What is one piece of advice you have for kids looking to get started in the music/performance industry?
Success in the arts definitely takes a certain level of business acumen. This is something we learned along our journey. If there are areas that you lack expertise, ask questions, do the research, forge your path and never stop believing in yourself and the value of your creative. There have been many times in our careers where we pondered whether the personal investment was worth the return. As an artist or entrepreneur, you will always put in more hours than you might at any other job. Usually for less pay. The pay off will come. Seeing something you love and believe in thrive and grow is so incredibly rewarding. When you find something you are truly passionate about, the drive to see it succeed provides the fuel and stamina to get through the long hours and hard work. Let your light shine. It is a gift to the world and yourself!
If you have never heard of Bobs & Lolo before, be sure to check them out online. You will be singing along to their music in no time! When my daughter was younger, I had a hard copy of their albums in my car and a digital copy on my iPod. They are quickly loved by young ears and I have no doubt that their music will become iconic, much like other beloved Canadian children’s performers before them.
WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF BLUE SKIES
Or you can enter to win an autographed copy of Blue Skies as well as an autographed postcard! To enter, simply leave a comment letting us know your favourite Bobs & Lolo song of all time. Contest closes March 30th.
Disclosure: KITC was provided with a copy of "Blue Skies" for the purpose of this review however, as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.