Today our Spotlight – Jeremy Fisher Junior. This multi Juno nominated artists has been spending his time on lockdown providing relief in the form of weekly livestream concerts for kids and families. We got to spend some time talking with Jeremy about his music and what it’s like doing music for kids versus adults.
Spring 2018 you released a children’s album, Highway to Spell, which is a major depart from your previous music. What made you decide to go and try this?
I became a dad in 2016 and my life changed in the way that it does for parents, like flicking a switch. I no longer had long hours to find the muse to help me write songs, I was spending all that time with my young daughter teaching her about life and learning to be a dad. The way I process everything in my life is with music, so I started writing songs about that. I thought I’d record them as a nice little side project. Fast forward two years later and this is all I want to do.
Was it challenging to write lyrics and melodies that were worlds apart from your previous body of work?
I tried writing some kids songs before I became a parent, and that was a challenge. None of them ended up on Highway To Spell. Once I started telling the story of this new life I’d been living it came very naturally.
Your Saturday Morning show has drawn quite a crowd both nationally and internationally, did you expect to have such a huge reach and positive reaction?
It’s been really positive for me and my family too, it gives us a shared experience with families like ours all over the world. I can’t say I expected it, but after I did the first one I knew I wanted to keep going because the interactivity of a live weekly concert has been great for me as well as the audience. I love seeing the art that kids make for the drawing activity and hearing from teachers and parents using my educational packages.
Vancouver’s Said The Whale are one major Canadian name that have been attached to the project, any other friends we can expect along the way?
Yes, I have Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies joining on May 23 to sing a song off their acclaimed family album Snacktime! More guests to follow.
How do your children feel being thrust in the entertainment spotlight alongside you and your wife?
We are careful to maintain privacy for the rest of the family. I try to share my family life from my own perspective, but limit the exposure of my wife and kids. If they want to find the spotlight when they grow up that’s just fine with me!
You have an animated show in the works called Jeremy and the Junebug coming out soon as well, to fully embrace the nostalgia of Saturday Morning Cartoons, can you tell us about that?
I can give you a couple of small nuggets of news on this, but I’ve been told to keep most of it TOP secret. It’s a fully-animated series called Jeremy Fisher Junior and it’s about the stories in songs. I want to bring music, joy and a sense of well-being to kids and families. It’s been so much fun. Beyond that I’m sworn to secrecy until fall 2020 when it will be ready to share with the public!
Was the transition from performing songs to doing voice-overs easy or did it pose some unique challenges?
I felt really shy at first stepping up to the voice-over mic! Luckily I have my own studio. I spent a lot of time playing around to find my voice for storytelling in this way. I definitely have newfound love and respect for the greats.
Previously you’ve travelled and performed with a wide gamut of artists from Jakalope, Xavier Rudd, to the Proclaimers and Great Big Sea, are you enjoying the change of pace or was there an adjustment period?
I am enjoying the change of pace very much. I’ve always been an early riser, so doing these earlier shows and working daytimes on the series is very much in line with my lifestyle. There are things I miss about the rock n roll touring lifestyle, but there are even more things that I don’t!
Back in the early 2000’s you did a cross country tour on bicycle, and simultaneously raised funds for “Tour des“, promoting access to bicycle transport and to education for girls in Africa. What made you get involved with that cause, and are you still involved with them or other philanthropic initiatives?
I was inspired by people who had taken up a long journey for a cause and Tour Des Femmes was a project to help girls in Ghana gain access to education by giving them bicycles. It dovetailed perfectly with what I saw myself doing; riding my bike to work…across the continent! I was only affiliated with them for that one tour in 2002. My focus and passion is still education-related and I’m using the Saturday Morning Special to raise awareness and funds for MusiCounts, a non-profit that is working to ensure all Canadian children have access to a quality music education.
You and your dogs are avid runners, how has recent events changed that? Have you still been able to get out?
It’s tough right now. I don’t have the time to go for a long run and in all likelihood my ultimate frisbee league won’t be running this summer. My poor dog has a knee injury right now and the dog parks closed! It’s not all doom and gloom, I do get about 16k steps each day chasing my 4 year old around.
Is it more daunting to play for children, or adults?
At first I would have a bit of stage fright before playing for kids. Now I don’t find either daunting. I just love playing music!
What would you like to say to your fans?
To quote the Golden Girls theme song, “Thank you for being a friend.”
Our Spotlight – Jeremy Fisher Junior is at an end. We want to take the time to thank Jeremy for having a chat with us. This talented artist is doing his part. He is lighten the moods for as many people as he can during this lockdown lifestyle we have been living in.
Make sure to check out this weeks special guest
Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies.
Get yourself a Spotlight and lets showcase you to the world!