With the sunshine-y first track, “Brand New Day,” this new CD of original songs by Kira Willey promises to be something special. It doesn’t disappoint. Willey’s vocals have a delicate, confiding musicality; her harmonies shimmer and her ace rock rhythms are surprisingly muscular. But there’s something deeper going on here. With a light but sure touch, Willey addresses older children’s uncertainties and fears through inventive, uplifting lyrics that affirm, reassure, and soothe. “Real Girl” (“you don’t have to be a cool girl/you don’t have to be a fool girl/you can be a real girl”) is a stunning anthem aimed at resisting peer pressure and asking growing girls to remember their younger selves when “You didn’t care what anybody else thought,” Willey sings, adding, “Let that girl show up.” The compelling “Everybody’s Got a Heartbeat” embraces universality. “Hello Hope” is a reminder to remember the “good people ? who won’t let us fall”; and anything can happen with a paint brush and imagination in “Dream It Up,” featuring Willey’s ukulele strum and vocals with noted children’s artist Laurie Berkner. (Willey’s “Music You Can Move To” series with Berkner airs on SiriusXM Radio’s Kids Place Live; Willey is also the host of her own musical “Fireflies Yoga” PBS program for children). The album ends with a lovely, well-worth repeating “Kindness Mantra”: “I can breathe in light and breathe out love?.”
Lynne Heffley ©2018 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.