2018 GRAMMY Nominations: Best Children's Album Roundup
Though the 60th GRAMMY Awards aren't just for kids, the Best Children's Album category certainly celebrates music made for the youngest budding minds among us.
Comprising a diverse class of nominees bringing the best of music for kids around the world, including Gustafer Yellowgold, Lisa Loeb, Justin Roberts, Alphabet Rockers, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, this year's GRAMMY nominees in the Best Children's Album category are worth a closer look.
(Editor's Note: Best Children's Album is awarded for albums containing at least 51 percent playing time of new musical or spoken word recordings that are created and intended specifically for children.)
Nominated for Brighter Side
If the name Gustafer Yellowgold sounds out of this world, you wouldn't be wrong. Yellowgold is a little yellow alien who has come to earth from the sun to explore life here in the United States. The brainchild of singer/songwriter/illustrator Morgan Taylor, Yellowgold made his earth landing in 2005 and has been cranking out catchy tunes and engaging storylines for curious children ever since.
Brighter Side is Taylor's first all-music release, which continues to highlight Yellowgold's life on the sun versus life on earth, complete with a new nemesis, Baconstein. The fun story has a bigger purpose, with themes exploring independence and the consequences of making both good and bad choices.
"[Childhood is] a whirlwind of emotions that turn drastically on a dime," Taylor said, according to Broadway World. "Gustafer's evolutional journey of self-awareness mirrors the development of the child at around the age of 8–9, when we realize our point of view is our own and we exist separately from our parents and the world."
This is Taylor's second GRAMMY nomination in the Best Children's Album category. He was previously nominated for Dark Pie Concerns at the 58th GRAMMY Awards.
Nominated for Feel What U Feel
You may remember Lisa Loeb as the singer/songwriter behind the '90s smash hit "Stay (I Missed You)," for which she earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals at the 37th GRAMMY Awards. But did you also know she's created several children's albums? Her fourth release for kids, Feel What U Feel, has earned Loeb her second career GRAMMY nomination.
"[The album is] what I'd like to pass along to my kids and kids in general," Loeb told Entertainment Weekly. "It's going back to basic values and recognizing that we all go through similar things, but that your world is also unique to you and you should be able to take pride in that."
The 12-track LP highlights this sentiment with tunes such as "Say Hello," "You Can Count On Me," "It's Alright To Cry," and "You Have It In You." The album also features a variety of guest stars, including Craig Robinson of "The Office" fame along with Ed Helms, Kyler England and Renee Stahl.
Nominated for Lemonade
Now a three-time nominee in this category, Justin Roberts offers up some fresh Lemonade on his 13th family album comprised of 12 tasty new tracks such as "Must Be This Tall," "Me And My Kangaroo," "Tree Home," and "If I Were." Whether you're trying to set up a lemonade stand, longing to be tall enough to go on the big kid rides or hiding out in a treehouse, Roberts is dialed in to what kids are thinking.
"It's the musical equivalent of an impromptu lemonade stand popping up in the summer heat," said Roberts, according to Broadway World.
This album is unique for Roberts in that he departs from his power pop sound and goes all acoustic, enlisting Chicago-based musicians Robbie Fulks, Gerald Dowd, John Abbey, and Nora O'Connor who cover ukuleles, banjos, upright bass, and handmade percussion such as cardboard boxes and paint cans.
Nominated for Rise Shine #Woke
In case you're not dialed in on the terminology, #woke is the hippest term for being "aware of current affairs and social issues." First-time GRAMMY nominees Alphabet Rockers have taken this one step further with Rise Shine #Woke, asking families to wake up and make a change in the world.
Full of catchy dance singles created by hip-hop/kids music aficionados Genevieve Goings and Blackalicious with production by Street Symphony, the album cultivates both a kid-friendly appreciation for hip-hop music while bringing social justice language into households across the nation.
"This album reflects 1000s of conversations we hosted with children and our partners: educators, activists, artists, radical librarians, and woke parents," Alphabet Rockers wrote on their campaign to raise money to make the album. "The lyrics reflect messages of hope and resilience for our children of color, and messages of how to be a true ally for our white children — a model of working together for justice."
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Nominated for Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World
Known for their rich tenor/alto/bass harmonies, which they lent to Paul Simon's GRAMMY-winning album Graceland in 1986, South African men's choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo is now bringing their five-plus decades of experience and world view to a younger generation with their latest children's album, Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World.
As the title suggests, the album is all about celebrating community, diversity and cross-cultural understanding. Sung in both Zulu and English, tracks such as "All Women Are Beautiful," "Different Colors Mean Nothing To Me," "Love Your Neighbor," and "Long Walk To Freedom," embody this message.
"With our new album, we want to share our songs of peace and love with the little ones," group member Albert Mazibuko said. "We want parents to have a collection of songs to listen with their kids, songs that hold important messages."
Ladysmith Black Mambazo are four-time GRAMMY winners in the world music category. In addition to their nomination for Best Children's Album, the group is also nominated for Best World Music Album for Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration at the 60th GRAMMY Awards.
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.