March 1969, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
Who knew that a cassette-only release of kids' songs back in 1997 would lead to becoming the top female performer for children in the new millennium?
Laurie Berkner grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where she was involved in typical musical endeavors such as chorus, theater, and neighborhood bands. In high school and at Rutgers University, Berkner toured with choirs and orchestras as a soloist and guitarist.
After college, she worked as a summer camp music counselor, and later as a children's music specialist at several New York area preschool and day care centers. Thus were planted the seeds for a full-time career in kids' music!
It's Only Rock and Roll:
During the early '90s, Berkner played in the all-female cover band Lois Lane, and later in Red Onion, a group that included future Laurie Berkner Band bassist Adam Bernstein. Berkner started adding children's music performances to her repoitoire, and in 1997 released Whaddaya Think of That?, available only as a cassette at the time.
A Star is Born:
With the 1998 release of her second set of songs for kids, Buzz Buzz, Berkner formed her own record company, Two Tomatoes Records. The follow up, 1999's Victor Vito, became a huge success and led to Berkner's first national TV appearance on the FX Network's American Baby Show. Victor Vito won a Parents' Guide to Children's Media Award and two Children's Music Web Awards.
First Video Collection:
Berkner released her first collection of songs in video form in 2001 with Laurie Berkner's Video Songbook. Filmed at a live concert, the video presents the band's performance framed within the pages of a book. The simple graphics and presentation perfectly fit Berkner's simple songs.
Berkner's fourth CD, Under a Shady Tree, was released in 2002 and garnered her even more awards, rave reviews, and commercial success. The album won a N.A.P.P.A. Gold Award, a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award, a Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award, a Children's Music Web Award, an iParenting Media Award, and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Several national magazines took notice of Berkner's success and she was featured in many articles about children's music. In 2004 a picture book-with-CD version of Victor Vito was published by Orchard Books, illustrated by Henry Cole.
Later in 2004 Berkner and band made their debut on The NOGGIN Channel, with videos of their most popular songs being played between programs as part of the network's Move to the Music series. The exposure caused a massive surge in sales and popularity for Berkner, her first four albums holding the #1 - #4 best-selling children's spots on Amazon.com at one point.
Jack's Big Music Show:
If appearing on NOGGIN made Berkner a superstar, performing on that channel's new Jack's Big Music Show in 2005 made her a superduperstar. The band's videos appeared in every episode of Jack's during its debut season, and only expanded her exposure to preschoolers and their families.
The Laurie Berkner Band DVD:
2006 saw the release of We Are...The Laurie Berkner Band, a collection of the band's biggest tunes lip-synched on a set. The DVD, a Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie Entertainment/Starbucks Hear Music production, hit #1 on Billboard's Top Music Video chart, and became a multi-platinum seller. The DVD was also the first time Starbucks co-released a family music product.
Rocket To the Top:
Berkner returned to the record charts the summer of 2008 with her first CD in six years. Rocketship Run was released by Two Tomatoes Records and distributed by Razor & Tie Entertainment in August, and, for the first time on a Berkner album, features collaborations with bandmates Susie Lampert and Adam Bernstein.