MusicMusic Interviews

Multitalented Musician: Interview with Alastair Moock

Alastair Moock is a singer, songwriter, and “Boston Music Awards” nominated musical artist who is known for his lovely and beloved performers at school assemblies, concert halls, and other venues. His music is geared towards children but had proven popular with adults too and he was once even nominated for a Grammy for his album titled “Singing Our Way Through.” On February 3, 2018, Alastair will be performing at NYC’s Symphony Space.

Recently, Alastair discussed his career and his hopes for the future:

Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: How did you get interested in many music for kids?

Alastair Moock (AM): During my first ten years pursuing music, when I was just doing the singer-songwriter thing, I had always worked with kids on the side: afterschool programs, guitar lessons, etc. It was the only other work I’ve really loved. Then, having my own (twin) girls in 2006 inspired me in a whole new way. I couldn’t not make up songs for them. And, of course, those songs turned into my first album for kids.

MM: What’s the oddest thing that ever inspired a song and do you have any favorite songs?

AM: Ha. It was especially easy finding odd things to write about when my girls were younger. Young kids are an endless source of odd inspiration! My girls were fascinated with their belly buttons when they were little, so I wrote a song about that.When they got a little older, and I was occasionally on tour, they would send me emails from my wife’s computer. I’m paraphrasing, but the emails went something like this: e g eg4545t fs f gdsre u gewWEIO WU dy sedge puish8ehefiljm efk04ir8…So, I wrote about that.

MM: What does it feel like to be nominated for awards?

AM: Of course, it always feels nice to win or get nominated for something. A career in music can be a hard row to hoe, so a little validation now and then doesn’t hurt. But I’m also well aware how arbitrary and silly most awards are. What carries a lot more weight is hearing from someone that a song affected them or helped them through something in some way. That’s when making music actually feels important for a minute.

MM: What can people expect from your concerts?

AM: Well, for the family concerts, they can expect a lot of energy, songs that will make them laugh, and songs they’ll be singing with me on! They can expect to hear some original songs and some songs from our shared past. With just a sprinkle of history and a handful of social justice mixed in.

MM: How did you secure a place at Symphony Space?

AM: I think this is my third time at Symphony Space. Darren Critz, who runs this series, has been kind enough to invite me back. As a guy who grew up in New York before moving to Boston later in life, these shows always feel like coming home.

MM: How do you hope people are inspired by your music and what kind of feedback have you received?

AM: My first kids’ album was, as I said, largely concerned with important issues like belly buttons and nonsense emails, but it also included a song called “Two Mommies.” I was surprised how many parents reached out to tell me that song became important in their house: parents who told me it reflected their own family makeup, but also parents who said it opened up new conversations at home. That made an impression on me. I began to see the unique ways music for kids can impact people. It definitely had an effect on some of my subsequent writing.

And then, as you probably know, something dramatic happened in my own family: one of my twin girls was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, just before she was supposed to begin kindergarten. After a suitable period of shock and grief, we settled into some semblance of a new normal. And then my daughter and I began to sing, and then write, songs together in the hospital. Those songs became part of an album I released called “Singing Our Way Through,” which we’ve since shared with thousands of families at hospitals all over the country.

There’s a, perhaps, surprising amount of joy on the album, and a whole lot of real life. It’s an album that had a profound impact on my own family and one that we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about from families going through similar journeys. In many ways, that album reminded me for the first time in a long time why it was I wanted to play music in the first place. My daughter’s now 11 and doing great by the way (and so’s her sister)!

MM: What’s coming up next for you?

AM: Well, I recently released my first “grownup” album in several years. It feels good, and important, to give that part of myself some room to grow again. But I plan to keep making music for kids as long as I’m around. It’s something I absolutely love doing. And I feel like I still have more to say. I’ve been thinking about putting together a new project around civics and social justice. It’s a good time to remember what we’ve fought for, and all we have left to achieve.

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To learn more about Alastair Moock, visit his official website and official website of Symphony Space.

Meagan Meehan

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Examiner and AXS. She is also a stop motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature and a Masters of Communication. She is an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
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