Dear Heart: Interview with Musicians Stefani Rose and Daniel Martin

Dear Heart
“Dear Heart” is the latest album by award-winning husband-and-wife musicians Stefani Rose and Daniel Martin.

“Dear Heart” is the latest album by award-winning husband-and-wife musicians Stefani Rose and Daniel Martin who encompass Martin and Rose Music. Together they blend their exceptional vocal and songwriting talents to create music for today’s kids and families. “Dear Heart” is their sixth album and it will be released on September 23, 2022.

The songs on this album celebrate loving and responsible relationships and living in the moment including sharing, forgiving mistakes, celebrating differences, making the best of what life brings, viewing the entire world as community, and much more.

Stefani Rose and Daniel Martin recently discussed this album and more via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in music and songwriting and did you always gravitate towards the children’s genre?

D: I used to play in punk rock bands as a kid, and that turned into touring with metal bands for a couple of years doing really big shows with bands like “Korn,” but ultimately, producing and being in the studio is where I found my happy place.  After meeting and eventually marrying Stefani, we developed the children’s music as a way to be creative together while providing our own kids with something we thought was valuable.

S: I started performing when I was 2 years old.  I was that kid, the one who always wanted to sing you a song or show you a dance. I started writing songs in middle school. I have always loved performing and writing for kids.  One of my biggest dreams as a performer, since I was a kid, is to one day be on Sesame Street. When I started working with Daniel, one of our very first big projects together was writing and producing a VBS project called “Built To Last”.  That was nearly 10 years ago.

MM: How did you meet and what’s it like to create music with your spouse?

D: I had a studio in Anaheim where Stefani came to me as a client. She was making country music, and at the time I didn’t know a lot about the genre, but she opened my ears up to something I’m now really into and create on a daily basis.  We work great together, but just like anything else we do have creative differences once in a while and do our best to make sure it doesn’t spill over into our personal lives.

S: Creating music with anyone has its challenges because art is subjective.  We have our creative differences as Daniel said, but at the end of the day we respect each other’s talent. We have learned that we need to know what our goals are as we begin to know how to create together.  Dear Heart is different than the rest of our “kids” music because we approached this album first as two parents who are artists creating art for art’s sake.  We were unified in our goal that we wanted create something worthy of a Grammy, not just a million views on YouTube.  So we focused in a different way.  We love our YouTube community, but how we create on YouTube is video first.  This record is all about the music and storytelling through song.   Understanding each other and being on the same page is what allows us to be creative together and still balance our home.

MM: What comes to you first, the lyrics or the melodies?

D: Depends.  For me, I get the most random melodies in the worst possible place … the shower.  Sometimes I have to jump out and grab my phone to record it before I forget.  Usually, I prefer to sit with words first and see how many different ways I can sing them.

S: I start with lyrics because I love putting words together with thoughts and images.  I then find the melody.  Daniel is a genius! I can sing him some 3 note random melody line, and the next thing I know we have the foundation for a song.

MM: How did you break into the industry and how would you describe your style?

Dear HeartD & S:  Perseverance mostly. We just never give up. We are always kind to the people we meet along the way and we just keep working to make better music.  With Daniel coming from the Punk Rock world and Stefani coming from a Country Music and Musical Theater background, our style now is more of an Americana/Folk similar to The Lumineers, but with a kid-friendly/playful twist.

MM: How long did it take you to complete this recent album?

D & S: We started the writing process in March 2020 during the initial Covid lockdowns. From there, it took about a year to write and another year to produce.  With the help of our good friend and co-producer Ryan Straw, we were able to nail down some foundations and bring it to life.  We took our time because we wanted to make something really special that spoke to our hearts.

MM: Out of all songs on the album, do you have any personal favorites? If so, which ones and why?

D: Mine are probably “Duck Boots,” “Goodnights Aren’t Goodbyes,” and “Cool As You.”  “Duck Boots” because our 4-year-old refused to take off his own pair of yellow, rubber duck boots for about 6 months.  It inspired the song and still makes me smile.  “Goodnights Aren’t Goodbyes” just really resonates with my own inner child and personal reflection about nighttime fears and morning relief.  And “Cool As You” because it’s just an anthem for people that are different, but ultimately way cooler as a result.

S: “Duck Boots” is a personal favorite because our son just seemed to be happier when he had those silly things on. During a time when we were all stuck at home seeing the kids find fun in silly situation gave me strength.  “Half Righ”t is also a favorite because it is a motto to live by.  A motto both my dad and Daniel’s dad instilled in us.

MM: What are you thinking music-video-wise for these songs?

D & S: Because of our YouTube channel we will be creating video content for all the songs. Our previous videos have been kind of crazy and super high energy.  In the world of educational kids’ music, you have to grab the attention of young learners and keep them interested.  This album has a different feel and focuses on social emotional learning through story telling rather than using repetition to learn letter, numbers, and basic concepts like the days of the week.  As a result, we think the video content needs to be slightly more sophisticated and still super kid friendly with lots of quick cuts and fun visuals. “Duck Boots” will definitely be the first video.  We are in production for it now.  Our shot list is mostly performance style, with some really cool choreographed dance sections, bright colored duck boot, rain jackets, umbrella toting dancers a vintage guitar and, of course, our little dudes will have to make a cameo.  We will see where we go with the next few songs.

MM: You have won awards, so what were those experiences like?

D:  Honestly, kind of weird.  There are a lot of politics in awards, even smaller ones, which takes out some of the excitement, however, we are always grateful and honored to receive them.  We will be going for Best Children’s Album at the Grammy Awards next year!  Fingers crossed!

S: I started performing very early in my life, and my parents loved the idea of me being a star so they put me in pageants and my goodness do I have some great photos of me with all of my crowns and “most talented” award trophies.  As I got older, the crowns and trophies turned into scholarships and grants for college.  Then recognition in college.  I graduated Summa Cum Laude and was one of six women to get into the very prestigious Yale School Of Drama, now called the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. After graduation I submitted for songwriter competitions and a few country music awards because winning awards to me was a measure of how hard I worked and how great my performance was.  It was weird to see that, in the adult world, awards were won not just by talent but by who you know and how connected you are.  Regardless of seeing this firsthand I still put my name and Daniel’s name in the hat for a few awards and surprisingly we won a few.  Winning a Grammy is on our list of awards to submit for so, as we wrote this record, we poured our talent and our heart into every lyric and riff.  There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the children’s genre at the Grammys  and I am hopeful that voting members will be searching for talent and an amazing album to honor not just a name they recognize or vote based on a unconscious bias.

MM: What’s the best fan feedback you’ve gotten about your music?

S: I think the most amazing feedback I ever got was when I did a Zoom live session with a school for special needs in Boston.  The kids loved our music and one of the teachers during our set said, “This is so amazing, we listen to you every day, so this is like meeting Coldplay, you are a rock star to these kids.”  I even got an email from them saying they played our songs at their prom. Getting feedback like that makes it all mean so much more.  I do love the funny comments too!! We used to get some of the greatest comments on YouTube like “this song makes me so happy,” “I love unicorns and you remind me of a unicorn,” or “my teacher plays this song all the time, but I like gummy bears.”   The feedback on this album so far has been super positive.

Dear HeartD: We’ve had people cry after hearing our songs, and while that might sound odd, it’s really the highest compliment a songwriter can receive.  It means we really did what we intended to do.

MM: How would you describe your live performances?

S: Daniel and I have been performing for so long it’s like second nature.  I am a bit of a circus clown while Daniel is grounded and keeps us focused.  Each performance is unique and tailored to the needs of the event and situation.  We have not done a lot of live shows as Martin and Rose Music mostly because of circumstances, like having small children at home and a global pandemic. Now, however with our youngest being a super independent 4 years old and everything opening up again we are hoping to do more live shows as we share this new album.

MM: How do you hope your career evolves over the next five years?

D: It would just be great to still be doing it.  I’ve always promised myself to be happy and satisfied with my career as a long as it allows me to pay my bills, spend time with my family and help artists create amazing things.

S: The most valuable lesson I learned while at Yale was creative people will alway create work for themselves. This was not something I read in a book or some great professor told me.  I realized this because I saw it in action.  The more you work, the more work you get.  Maybe I should put those little quotes of mine on a T-shirt! Over the next 5 year I just want to continue to create and share.  I hope we win a Grammy; I hope we make a living, but more than anything I hope we never give up.

MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

D & S: The end-all, be-all would be to win that Grammy and continue to write bigger or more prestigious bodies of work.  We are really proud of our growing fan base but want to reach all the little ears we can because we make all of this stuff with purpose and want it to be impactful for as many people as possible.

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To learn more visit their official websiteFacebook, InstagramTwitter, and YouTube.