For a generation of kids born in the 1980s, the soundtracks to “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” were inescapable.
“A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” won a Grammy for Song of the Year — the only Disney tune to ever win that award — and half the soundtrack for “The Lion King” was penned by none other than pop superstar Elton John.
This year, Disney re-made both films, introducing a whole new generation to these classic storylines. And on Saturday, two groups of Baltimore musicians are coming together to play the songs from both “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” live in concert at WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes Movie Soundtrack Show.
Black Root Underground (starring Jamaal Collier, one half of Baby Beats) with special guests will take on “The Lion King,” and Matt Hutchison and Kristen Toedtman and their band are performing songs from “Aladdin.”
Hutchison spent a decade as the singer and songwriter for the popular Baltimore rock band Fools & Horses before becoming a stay at home dad for two boys. Toedtman, who splits her time between Baltimore and Los Angeles, has sung on the soundtracks to “Frozen,” “Minions” and other films. This is their first time performing together.
Matt, what’s it like going from playing for an audience of adult groupies a few years ago to playing for an audience of skeptical babies now?
MH: [Laughs] Kids are way more receptive to music, and don’t judge you as much. They’re just happy to be there. Playing to adults, there are preconceived notions about what the music is going to be. You had to fight with that. With kids, it’s a blank canvas. They love seeing music. Being a father of two boys myself, I know they just eat that stuff right up.
What do you play for your kids at home?
MH: I play the Beatles, the soundtrack to “Despicable Me” — they’re into Pharrell and they’re learning some Bill Withers. They can recognize a Beatles song even if it’s being covered by someone else. They’re also my gatekeepers for what songs of my own will work.
What did your wife say when she found out you’d be singing Aladdin’s parts for this show?
MH: She got really excited. She may have been the first ticket sold for this show. To see her prince charming take on the prince charming of “Aladdin” is going to blow her world. [Laughs]
Kristen, you’ve sung on the soundtracks to “Frozen” and “Minions” and some other kids’ movie soundtracks too. How’d that come about?
KT: I lived in Los Angeles, and one of the things you try to do is get to know the people who put together choirs for movies. I’m on that list, and you get an email that’s very vague — you don’t know what the project is until you talk to your colleagues. When we did “Frozen,” they said, “I hear this is the next big Disney thing,” so that was cool.
Kristen do you have childhood memories of “Aladdin?”
KT: Sure! Robin Williams, right? He’s amazing. I re-watched the movie and definitely teared up a bit. I was like, ‘Aw, what’s happening?!?’
How much performing for children and families have you done?
KT: I had a short-lived children’s band with Mike Smith called Howdy Doo.
Really? How’d it do?
KT: It did well. We sold out a children’s party. They weren’t paying. [Laughs] “Howdy Doo” is the name of a song by Woody Guthrie, and he wrote some children’s songs. Performing for kids is the best. One time I did this in-class performance for these high school girls, and high school girls are difficult to perform for. It was this very tender renaissance music. My friend who I was playing with, his child was sitting behind them and she was picking her nose. I mean like, finger-all-the-way-up, searching. [Laughs] And it just made it for me. It just made everything fall into place for me. Her finger. Way up her nose. But you know, kids are so honest! And they’re into it or they’re not, and they follow you or they don’t. And it’s just the best.
WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes Movie Soundtrack Show
WTMD’s Saturday Morning Tunes Movie Soundtrack Show is Saturday Sept. 21 at Power Plant Live, 34 Market Place in Baltimore. Doors open at 10 a.m. and the music starts at 10:30 a.m. Admission includes organic snacks and bicycle rides (for kids) and coffee (for adults). Validated parking is $5 at the Pier V Garage. Tickets are available here: https://wtmd.org/radio/wtmd-saturday-morning-tunes/