Interview with Pool Safely songwriter and performer Laurie Berkner
October 31, 2016
The Pool Safely song is on your new album – when did it come out?
The new album is called Superhero and it was released on September 23rd of this year. I was so happy to be able to put “Pool Safely” on the album because I hope it will be a song that has a positive impact on the kids who hear it and absorb the information in it.
Will we be able to hear the song at any of your upcoming concerts?
I am slowly adding songs from Superhero to my already overflowing set lists. It will definitely be part of the shows once the weather gets warmer.
How did you first get started in children’s music?
I was a music specialist in a pre-school a year out of college. While I was learning (or rather re-learning from my own childhood!) how to communicate with these kids, I started to make up songs with them. Honestly I did it because it was easier than researching and finding songs they liked that already existed. I would just ask them what they wanted to sing about and then make it up. Luckily, they loved it!
Tell us about when you learned to swim and when you taught your daughter Lucy how to swim.
I don’t actually remember ever NOT being able to swim, although I do remember taking swimming lessons at my local community pool every summer growing up. Eventually I went through all the levels and ended up taking Lifesaving two summers in a row before I got to high school. I’ve always loved swimming, and – this might sound silly – I think I identified myself as being a person who loved water because I’m a Pisces.
Lucy started taking swimming lessons when she was about 6 years old. Before that she didn’t want to put her head under water. Since then though, she has become quite a strong swimmer who really loves the water. Just last week she reported to me that she swam 1000 meters at once with a friend of hers at a local pool!
What was the process like writing the Pool Safely song?
When I was first approached to write the Pool Safely song, I felt that my biggest task would be to share all the information necessary to get the message of 4 simple steps across clearly – and still have the song be fun. As soon as I started working on it, I realized that I really loved the challenge of coming up with a kid-friendly way of sharing how to be safer in and around the pool. I played around with some beats and enlisted the help of my daughter Lucy to make sure it made sense and was still fun. But she was older than my target audience so I was happy and relieved to see that once I had even younger kids sing it in the studio, that it had turned out to be a song they could learn easily and would love singing over and over.
Laurie teaches the four simple steps to Pool Safely.
What was the process like shooting the video for the Pool Safely song?
Shooting the video for Pool Safely was a real treat! It was done very professionally; the kids were AMAZING and I loved getting to meet some of the people in person that I had only been emailing with about the campaign up until that point. I’m really happy with how the video came out as well. I hope if you’re reading this that you’ll take a few minutes to watch it!
Have you written other songs that address safety?
Hmm … I don’t think I had written anything that was specifically about staying safe, before the Pool Safely Song. It feels good to have written this one!
What are you currently working on? Anything new you can share with blog readers?
Besides having just released Superhero, I also have two picture books coming out in 2017. We Are the Dinosaurs will be available in March and Pillowland will be released in the fall. I am also working on the songs for a new musical, based on another picture book by Deborah Underwood called Interstellar Cinderella.