Here’s a question artists are asked all the time: Where do you get your ideas? Fair enough question, I suppose, but one I dread when it’s asked of me because I know the answer is going to disappoint. The truth is, I get ideas by working. Not through my dreams, not by meditating, not by taking long walks by the sea while I summon the muse. I get ideas when I’ve gotten some new information and I bring it into the studio and start splashing paint around. Making a mess is helpful. Frustration is unavoidable. Despair looms. But if you stick with it and stay on your toes, I promise something will happen.
In the case of Sing To Your Baby®, I got lucky. Not a lot of anguish on this one. I found that the lyrics for each song, no matter how simple, evoked a whole scene. This really speaks to Cathy and Marcy’s gifts as song writers. Take the first song Love Is What I Feel For You. It’s about the aspirations and pure feelings a parent has for his or her child. But it can also be read as a love song from one partner to another or, for that matter, from any person who cares deeply about another. I pictured a young couple in their slightly run-down, urban apartment. The mom-to-be is due any time now and she’s exhausted. Her husband is trying to make her laugh and get her through the last days or hours of pregnancy so he sings a song into her belly. But he’s a terrible singer and he makes the old dog howl. She can’t help but smile.
From there, it seemed like every song suggested another scene showing a different way of experiencing a baby–intimately, adventurously, playfully, educationally, rambunctiously, all of it. And here was the exciting part for me: whether it was intentional or subconscious, Cathy and Marcy had created a story arc with their songs. Now I knew that I should approach the book as a play with different actors playing each scene. In the end, the finale if you will, our young couple has moved into a comfortable, possibly suburban home and have evolved into a multi-racial, multi-generational family. The children are growing and moving into the world. Wherever You Go, I Love You.