We’re currently undergoing a turbulent period where artists are opting-out of Grammy nominations due to concerns about the Academy’s absence of multiculturalism. However, the vast majority of children’s musicians are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They pick and choose their spots to gently message their audiences, realizing that it’s parents who make the biggest difference in the pocketbook. That’s especially important during a pandemic, where every YouTube viewing theoretically translates into multiple sets of eyeballs.
Boston-based recording artist Stacey Peasley focused her fifth kids’ album, Make It Happen! on the simple pleasures of family time and common experiences (such as needing a band-aid, crying for joy, going to a parade) while stirring in a soothing undercurrent of empowerment (“What Girls Do”) and doing it yourself (the title track).
Stacey credits her evolution as a recording artist to producer Marty Beller (of They Might Be Giants fame). Their 10-year, five-CD collaboration (covering Together (2011), Lucky Day (2014), RSVP (2016), Under the Tree (2019), and Make It Happen!) has challenged her to step to the forefront of a changing social landscape. Stacey’s work demonstrates how children’s music shapes youthful perceptions of the Venn diagram circles where family, community, and the outside world meet.
Older listeners (not me, I don’t want to date myself here) will hear a Carole King influence on “Happy Tears,” a Brill Building power ballad. “What Girls Do” would not feel out of place in a Sheryl Crow setlist. With nearly 30 years of musical performing experience (and more than 10 years of parenting experience), Stacey knows how to structure her tunes to keep parents and children interested and entertained.
“I’ve been inspired by so many different things this past year,” Stacey remarked in the press release. “Looking at our social and political landscape and honing in on the experiences that kids have shared with me has really taken my writing to a new level.” Stacey translated her pandemic interactions into positive energy and pays it forward so children can also literally make it happen.
Here is the new video for Stacey Peasley’s title track, “Make It Happen!”: