There isn’t one path to becoming a children’s musician. But often, an established musician starts a family of their own, and it changes the way they think of music.
The Austin rapper and singer-songwriter SaulPaul began making music for younger audiences because of his love for kids. While he’s been married for more than a decade, he doesn’t have any of his own yet. But he realized the power music can have in young people’s lives.
“It’s pretty amazing to see a kid have that “aha” moment – especially the black and brown ones” SaulPaul said. “I have a heart for those young black and brown students, because I was one of those and I didn’t have positive influences helping me to make the best decisions when I was very young.”
SaulPaul was named Austinite of the Year in 2017, and his new song “Rise (Remix)” became one of the top songs on SiriusXM radio. He has hosted two TED talks, and headlines WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes concert for kids this Saturday, April 6, in Towson.
Chatting Kindie Music with SaulPaul
So in your early years, you didn’t get many opportunities?
My mom died when I was three years old – she died in a car accident. My father was just absent. I’ve never met him or seen him in my life. My mom died, my dad left, but I had an awesome grandmother. She swooped in, she adopted me and raised me as her own. She was 65 years old raising a three year old. She had already raised a dozen kids of her own. She was an empty nester, but she took me in and raised me. I called her “momma.” She was the only mom I knew.
Let’s talk about the title of your new record, “We Dream in 3D.” What does that mean?”
“Dream in 3D” is my way of saying, make your dreams a reality. Dream in 3D. Make it real. Don’t just dream it. When I talk to young people, I like to inspire and encourage them. Be a dreamer. Dream big. When they still have that youthfulness and that faith like, ‘this could happen.’
One of my favorite songs on this new album is “Rise.” Do you want to tell us a little about that?
“Rise” is the epitome of what this album is about. I took one of my popular songs, it was an acoustic song, just me and my acoustic guitar and some beatboxing. At one of my shows I discovered this young girl named Alexia Finney, 11 years old. I invited her to the studio. It was her first time in the studio. We recorded her, and the song “Rise” says “Rise, rise and open your eyes, now is the time for you to shine.” That’s what the song was about and it’s cool because this whole experience kind of caught that.
So you have done 2 TED talks, one specifically for youths.
Yes! The TEDEX youth talk I did was titled, “Restart Your Life.” It’s about the order of operation, and how that applies to life.
Talking to young people, they totally understand because they’re learning math and the order. The way the order of operation works is, you do what’s in parenthesis first and you do multiplication and division before you do addition. There’s a certain order you solve the problem in. And we all know, if you do it out of order, even though your calculations may be right, the answer’s going to be wrong.
So I have more than one dream. Which dream should I do? That’s when it comes to the order of operations. There’s a certain order. They were more in the ‘either-or’ mindset. Like, ‘do I do this? I want to be an artist but I also like to write. I want to be a dancer but I also like engineering. I like teaching but I also like sports. So then the question I pose is, what order?
Snoop Dogg has acted in films, but he was a rapper first. There are people whose sole dream is to be a thespian – to be an actor. But Snoop Dogg, because he started off acting, he became successful at that, he was able to make the transition and get into acting. But it’s all about the order.
Tickets for SaulPaul live at WTMD are available now. The opener, Bomani, goes on at 9:30 AM and SaulPaul will be on from 10 AM – 11 AM.
Don’t miss the next concert in WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes series! The first spectrum-friendly WTMD family show is April 6 with Scotty P, the Voice of Jah Works. Concerts are held in WTMD’s kid-friendly space, at 1 Olympic Place in Towson. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the music runs from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Each performance has an opening act as well as a headliner. Snacks (organic fig bars and fruit strips) as well as drinks (Horizon milk and Honest juice) are included for all kids. The series is sponsored by Live Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, Garrison Forest School, Eddie’s of Roland Park, Race Pace Bicycles, THB Bagelry and Deli, MD Excels, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, LokalPhoto and (cool) progeny. Kids under 2 are free!