Singer/songwriter/percussionist/educator, Norman Jones is said to be ushering in a new era of children’s music with his family band and brand - Rhythm Child.
The project originally started as a collaboration between Jones and his brother whose own reggae band - Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band - is based in Cleveland, Ohio.
"It was going to represent the perfect blend of high-level roots reggae music with engaging and educational lyrics for children. The idea was that I was going to take some instrumental tracks from his latest album and re-interpret the music to write some new songs for kids," Jones recalled.
According to Jones, the first real indication that the project showed any promise was when Rhythm Child was invited to perform at The White House Easter Egg
Roll in 2011. The theme of the event was Get Up & Go and so Jones decided to pen a song about healthy living and exercise. The performance was a success and earned Jones a favorable appraisal from First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Rhythm Child is now a full-fledged family business with 10 years of experience under it's belt. Jones’s kids, Bailey (13) and Andre (8), frequently play in the band and his wife, Heather, manages the group.
The Los Angeles-based artist was a pioneering musician in the ska revival of the 1980s. Previous to Rhythm Child, Jones was best known for his work with the iconic band, General Public. Through Rhythm Child, Jones has released one EP, an instructional drumming CD, an illustrated lyric book and two full length albums - the latest of which is Kindie Reggae.
"As usual, I sang lead on all of the songs, but I thought it would be fun to have everyone in the family take part as well. Bailey has worked with me on an album before so he stepped in with confidence. Andre made his studio debut on this record and he handled it like a pro. Heather also made her album debut this time around and rocked the mic big-time," Jones revealed about his latest compilation.
Like the title suggests, Kindie Reggae stays true to Rhythm Child's particular brand of children oriented reggae music.
Jones explained: "Well this particular type of music has been an important part of my personal growth since I was a teenager. There is so much deep culture and lessons about life included in the music so I looked at this project as an introduction to the real story of where Reggae comes from. It’s kind of like a Reggae School. The music will definitely satisfy the adults while the lyrics talk about unity, family and love."
The album incorporates elements of calypso, soul, soca, rhythm & blues, African and folk music as well.
"The most fun aspect of the project was creating the lyrics. I would take long walks with the tracks running over and over. I’d try out different things and play around with various themes. I wrote these songs alone so no one heard them until the first day in the studio when it was time to record the vocals. Even I was unsure what the songs would sound like and if the new parts would actually blend with the music," Jones reminisced, adding that there was so much great material to work with he never got stuck.
The album's first track, "All You Need is Love", is a soulful spin on the classic Beatles tune while "Reggae School" is a tribute to the genre and its history. The album also includes interactive songs including a sing-a-long titled "Music Time" as well as songs for the entire family. Kindie Reggae will surely keep the young ones entertained while they learn about healthy living, family and even pirates. “Get Up & Go”, the song performed by Jones at the White House, is also included on the album.
"My intentions were to express ideas that can benefit and entertain families of every culture for years to come. It has been a long time since I actually felt like I had something relevant to say to the world. I interact with different kids and teachers every day and that work has given me a certain perspective on the next generation. I feel like this music will do its part to give spirit and hope to that future," Jones offered.