The conceit of Kid Pan Alley is sheer simplicity – why believe that only adults can write song lyrics with any level of depth or emotion? KPA founder Paul Reisler spent 18 months during the pandemic helping children work through their fears, concerns, and dreams to construct the songs on the project’s latest CD, Maybe By Next Year.
It’s not just coronavirus that affected kids over the past year-plus. They addressed climate change (“The Day the Stars Reached the Earth” featuring Natalie Zuckerman), celebrating our own lives (“Small Things Make a Difference” featuring Michael Lille), and even adoption (“I Think I Blinked” featuring Billy Jonas).
Kids’ favorite Randy Kaplan, a frequent KPA contributor, polished the quirky “Tear My Mask (To Pieces),” with a protagonist eager to get back some sense of normalcy. The heartbreaking “Staring Out My Window” is every child’s ballad of the lost year of companionship and routine. The aforementioned “I Think I Blinked” deals with adoption so quickly that you might miss the key lines on first listening:
I’ve known it all along
That’s why I wrote this song
I’ve seen the pictures on the wall
I knew I didn’t look like you at all
Kid Pan Alley is not just about granting children access to their feelings. The KPA project is intended to demonstrate that careers in the performing arts are a viable future (these are also welcome concepts to music, acting, and singing instructors around the country). With schools cutting aid to arts programs, KPA reinforces the necessity of educating well-rounded children by motivating all of their potential interests. Maybe By Next Year delivers songs written by kids for kids that can also teach their parents a lesson or two.
Here is the video for the song, “Staring Out My Window”: