“Into the Little Blue House” is the latest album by Wendy and DB. This is their fifth album and it is scheduled for release on September 23, 2022. Rooted in blues and jazz, this album is a celebration of life from the multicultural, award-winning, Chicago-based kindie duo.
Wendy and DB recently discussed this album via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in music and songwriting? Did you always gravitate towards the children’s genre?
Wendy (W): My grandfather was a pianist/songwriter and he owned a music store in NYC. My mother encouraged me at a young age to be a musician and an artist. I always knew I wanted to be a singer and have been writing songs my whole life.
DB: I was originally a music composition major in college. Always loved writing music. Especially big band and orchestra pieces. Did many instrumental arrangements for band and music groups. Writing lyrics came later. I moved to the children’s genre after Wendy approached me to write some songs.
MM: How did you meet?
W: DB and I both started in the adult world. We met on a gig. In 2013 we released our first children’s album. DB was working in the public school system as a band director who later worked with kindergarteners and first-graders, and I was teaching young children early childhood music. We collaborated and found magic in our writing and working together.
DB: I met Wendy doing some gigs in the adult music world.
MM: How did you break into the industry and how would you describe your style?
W: I have always loved the publicity side of the business and find it challenging. I make it into a game. The gatekeepers thought I was just “kid”ding, so they let me in and now I wouldn’t leave even if they kick me out. Children’s music for me is a place where I can demonstrate all my talents and skills. Our style is a little folk and a little R & B. In our latest project, “Into the Little Blue House,” we went way back to our roots and the Chicago influence by writing and producing a true blues album for kids.
DB: I got into the industry by writing some spiritual songs. Always loved the business of music, but because I was a teacher, I didn’t have the time to pursue it. Our style is an every-person style. It’s every style of music that is, because playing in the adult world, you are influenced by it all.
MM: Out of all the songs on the new album, do you have a personal favorite? If so which one and why?
W: I actually do …“Little Blue House,” featuring Billy Branch on harmonica. DB and I wrote this one song differently than the others, as we were not together, but for me the song and the story are what we all need in this world … more love … more unity … a safe comforting place in these rough times we are going through.
DB: Yeah. It’s called “In the Neighborhood.” It reminds me so much of being that little boy playing with his friends on the streets of Chicago. Love that guitar solo by Mike Wheeler on that one.
MM: How would you describe you live performances?
W: Interactive, energetic, connecting through movement, props, and puppets, which kids love, and of course the music – the great connector! I am always encouraging kids and parents to sing and move, as that way they become part of the show.
MM: How do you envision music videos for these songs looking?
W: I have already started on two of the songs and have two more in my mind. That is for me the creative and fun part of this children’s music world. I can use my background in art to work with other creative people to make fun and engaging videos. The “Gonna Dance Out the Blues” animation should be released by the time this article is out and can be found on our YouTube kid’s page.
MM: How do you hope your career evolves in the next five years?
W: We are working on the next album with four-time Grammy nominated and Grammy-winning producer Dean Jones and are very excited, as it will be another collaboration with some of our friends. Both of us are late bloomers, so we are hoping to host a kids’ radio show for NPR, have a weekly TV spot on Saturday morning or early evening when kids can watch, write some children’s books that include music. I would like to release another album of adult music. And lastly, if all else fails, I am thinking I will train to be a race car driving granny!
DB: Wendy said exactly what our plans are. But also, I would like to release an album of music standards that cover some pop, R & B and jazz tunes that are rarely heard. And a CD of original songs.
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else you would like to mention?
W: I think this album of blues songs is a very important album for our times. It exposes children and families to diverse and historical music in the blues style. A history that was not talked about for years and led to rock and roll and safer genres of music. There are components of blues that are a natural when it comes to teaching children. This leads to mentioning my bigger desire to help expose injustices and teach what hasn’t been taught through my lyrics and music.
CB: Since we have made an album of blues songs for children and families, in the future it seems like a jazz CD for children and families would be appropriate!
* * * * *