All the people involved in the children’s music industry deserve a relaxing summer experience. However, Joanie Leeds is definitely at the front of the line. The New York singer/songwriter had the keen timing to release All the Ladies, her gender-affirming CD, right as the pandemic shut the world in spring 2020. But wait, there’s more. Her Grammy nomination (and eventual win) occurred during a controversy about the seeming exclusion of artists of color. (In protest, three of the other five nominees withdrew their music from consideration.)
For her first post-pandemic project, Leeds turned to the sunny side, literally, in “Endless Summer,” a collaboration with British musician Rachel Walker Mason, who was named a 2020 “Woman of the Year” and was called “an inspiration” by Prince Harry. A mental health advocate in the United Kingdom, Mason serves as a Maternal Mental Health Ambassador. She wrote a book, Not the Only One, to address parents who are suffering from post-natal depression, which affects 1 in 7 mothers (and 1 in 10 fathers) from all races, ethnicities, cultures, and educational and economic backgrounds. Mason also created Unlock Your Talent, an international arts festival that garnered worldwide acclaim for its support and fundraising for mental health.
Mason reached out to Leeds earlier this year, and the duo bonded over a plethora of mutual interests, related to both music and social justice. Not to be confused with the classic Beach Boys greatest hits compilation, the Leeds/Mason “Endless Summer” is on-pitch dance-pop, produced by Los Angeles kids’ music duo Andrew and Polly. Leeds had been looking for the right opportunity to work with animator Elli Schäffter and the timing came together in perfect synchronicity. The song (which works on another level as a pandemic metaphor) is all about coming out of a dark place and beginning a new day in the sunlight. “Endless Summer” crosses Dee-Lite with Vitamin D, delivering on the eternal promise that anything is possible “once you kick off your shoes with the doors open wide.”
Here is the video for “Endless Summer”: