Brady Rymer – Joyful, rootsy rock ‘n’ roll for kids and families are the hallmarks of this twice GRAMMY nominated performer. The Long Island, NY, based artist has a trademark smile that lights up The Little Band That Could’s live performances, and it shines just as brightly in his recordings, expressing the warmth and positive spirit he finds in the family experience. Brady’s infectious, happy grin comes through on his hit, “Jump Up!” Visit Brady at www.bradyrymer.com
The Okee Dokee Brothers – These Minneapolis based Grammy® Award and three-time Parents' Choice Gold Award winners carry listeners along on a journey into the great outdoors with their series of “Adventure Albums.” The two childhood friends, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, aim to inspire people to get outside and experience the natural world. “Walking with Spring” was composed as they traveled down the Applachian Trail. Visit the Okee Dokee Brothers at www.okeedokee.org
Katydid – Kansas based Katydid (Catherine Hollyer) makes her first foray into family music with the jaunty “The Together Song,” a sweet celebration of friendship. The New Jersey native began making music at age two while head-banging along to rock songs. She loves finding music in everything—including the katydids in the meadow behind her childhood home, whose call and response used to lull her to sleep on warm summer nights.
The Pop Ups – Hip electro-pop music and an engaging preschool web series have built an international fan base for this two-time GRAMMY nominated duo from Brooklyn, NY. The dreamboat songwriting team has won several other awards and national radio play for their modern pop sounds and magical musical puppet shows. The song “Box of Crayons” exemplifies the celebration of craftiness and freedom in their songwriting. Visit the Pop Ups at www.thepopups.com
Frances England – This mellifluous singer-songwriter from San Francisco can claim legions of fans for her smart lyrics and indie-folk infused melodies.” Frances is a master at capturing “ gorgeously capturing those little moments in time” (Cool Mom Picks). Her creative and slightly offbeat take on family life is completely evident in the encouraging song “The Sun Will Shine Again. Visit Frances at www.francesengland.com
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Even though it speaks to kids, Skidoo’s straight-up funk and “kid hop” is never dumbed down. Based in Northern California, the GRAMMY nominated band has performed nationwide, from Lollapalooza and the Smithsonian to NPR and Symphony Space. The track “You’re It” provides a life-enhancing, musically sophisticated and lyrically intelligent half-pint dance party. Visit Skidoo at www.secretagent23skidoo.com
The Verve Pipe – This multiplatinum selling indie rock band from Michigan now makes music intended for the entire family, with fun and inventive lyrics set to memorable melodies. While adult fans will remember this band for their 90s alt-rock hits, a new generation digs the anthemic and sweet sounds and lyrics of their new kid-friendly tunes. The band wrote the song “Get Happy” just for Smiles Ahead. Visit The Verve Pipe at www.thevervepipe.com
Rissi Palmer – The first African-American woman to have a song on the country music charts in 20 years has recorded an exclusive EP for Starbucks, and she is a frequent performer at the White House and the Grand Ole Opry. Rissi’s songs appear on television shows such as “Saving Grace,” “Army Wives,” and “Heartland” and in the feature film The Woodsman starring Kevin Bacon. “Best Day Ever” is the title song from this North Carolina based star’s first family music album. Visit Rissi at www.rissipalmermusic.com
Kira Willey – A nationally recognized musician and acclaimed children’s yoga teacher, Kira has won numerous awards for her songs, and her “Back Seat Yoga Breaks” series airs on SiriusXM Kids Place Live radio. Sweet vocals, catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics are the hallmarks of this Pennsylvania based artist’s style. “Gotta Lotta Happy” is a jaunty tune that invites singing along. Visit Kira at www.kirawilley.com
Johnny Bregar – Johnny’s songs, including his hit “Dragonfly,” reach across cultural and geographic boundaries with rootsy and comfy tunes to spark children’s imaginations. The Seattle-based artist aims to strike a chord with kids by providing vignettes that echo the way they think about the world around them, while at the same time remaining fun and accessible. Visit Johnny at www.johnnybregar.com
Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew) – This two time GRAMMY nominee and front man for the Seattle band The Presidents of the United States of America takes a simple and endearingly quirky approach with his family-friendly persona in his song “Happy Heart.” The prolific Seattle-based star says, "I want to make music for the very young because I admire their associative inventive imaginations. As an adult I nurture that same creativity in myself." Visit Caspar Babypants at www.babypantsmusic.com
Mista Cookie Jar – This Los Angeles based family band has toured all over the country promoting their blend of “Urban-Island-Folky-Rock & Roll for the Inner Child.” Fusing a funky audio style and visual lyricism, tradition and innovation, Mista Cookie Jar unites a rock star excitement with the warmth of family music. The song “Gratitude” is a great example of their “ultra-magnetic universal love revolution.” Visit the band at www.mistacookiejar.com
Grenadilla – Multi-layered voices and Kwela flavored rhythms are drawn from Grenadilla founder Debbie Lan’s Cape Town roots. Now based in New York’s Hudson River Valley, Lan writes lyrics celebrating life, friendship, connection and joyfulness. The band’s underlying themes of unity, diversity, community and tolerance are at the forefront of the tune “Sitting on Top of the World.” Visit Grenadilla at www.grenadillasings.com
Ratboy, Jr. – This Hudson River Valley-based rocking duo consists of guitarist Timmy, and multi-tasker extraordinaire Matty (who manages to play drums and keyboards at the same time). Together they perform energetic, catchy tunes evoking the spirit of 90’s alternative rock, with hooks and stories that will get stuck in your head. With songs about rocks that slide up hills, guitar-playing chickens, and instructions on eating clouds, the music is every bit as quirky, offbeat and fun as the band’s name suggests. Whether it's playing in a park or releasing a split album with the singer of the Dead Milkmen, Ratboy Jr. likes to provide a soundtrack for a space focused on creativity and imagination. Visit www.ratboyjr.com for news about their latest music and shows.
Danny Weinkauf – A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, and Grammy-winner, Danny Weinkauf is not only the bassist with They Might Be Giants and leader of the kid-friendly Red PantsBand, he also writes for television and film, including music for "Malcolm in the Middle,” "Sex and the City,” “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” ESPN, and CBS Sports. Danny has recorded with Fountains of Wayne, Candy Butchers, David Mead, and Lincoln. Children’s music superstar Laurie Berkner sings with Danny on the sweet and catchy “Our Love Fits,” which was co-written with Ellen Degeneres Show director Suzanne Luna. Visit www.dannyweinkauf.com.
Andrew and Polly – This married duo makes fun and smart music for children and families in Los Angeles and across the country. They’ve written songs for Wallykazam!, the score to Welcome To The Wayne, The Outsiders, as well as music for commercials and films. Their album Odds & Ends received a Parents' Choice Award and was named one of the Fids & Kamily Top 10 Albums of 2015. The duo also received the ASCAP Foundation Joe Raposo Children's Music Award in 2012. Check out their very cool podcast “Ear Snacks” by visiting www.andrewandpolly.com .
Josh and the Jamtones – Josh & the Jamtones are not pushing an agenda of indoor voices, brushing your teeth or getting to bed on time. The Boston-based outfit is an interactive/ultra-powered live band musical explosion guaranteed to get crowds of any age moving their bodies and singing along. Josh — backed by drummer/producer Pat Hanlin and their home-grown record label Jamhouse Records — manages to seamlessly blend roots/reggae/ska stylings, feel-good pop, folk punk, country ballads, New Orleans-style street music & family-friendly improv comedy all into a frenetic ball of kids music awesomeness, culminating in two critically–acclaimed family records: “Jump Up,” & the recently released “Bear Hunt!” album. Learn more at www.JoshandtheJamtones.com.
Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove and Jazzy Ash – A nationally touring and multi-award-winning artist known for his “free-range family rock,” as well as the Chief Groove Officer at Mighty Mo Productions, Jim Cosgrove wrote this Stray Cats style tune about the magical power of sharing love. For nearly two decades, he has delighted audiences throughout North America and Europe with high-energy, interactive performances, including two appearances at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Jim’s down-to-earth approach and authenticity add to his appeal, and help make his music and concerts a hit with kids and parents alike. Jazzy Ash is a rising star in family music, whose strong, Crescent City style vocals add a cool counterpoint to Mr. Stinky Feet’s friendly voice for this swingy duet. Visit the artists at www.jimcosgrove.com and www.jazzyash.com.
Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights – Multi-award winning Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Joanie Leeds has won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, an Independent Music Award, a Gold Parents' Choice Award, NAPPA Gold Award, Family Choice Award among others. She has performed in dozens of cities across the country at venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, CMAs, Hang Out Festival, Skirball Center in LA and had been featured in People magazine, Parents, the New York Times and Washington Post. Joanie’s seven albums and two DVDs for families and her tunes charted at #1 on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live and WXPN's Kids Corner radio. For more information, please visit www.joanieleeds.com.