Strong Lovin' & Fun
Showing what kids can do. These all American kids sing hooky, catchy, feel good tunes that will get anyone up and dancing. Fronted by a host of talented tweens, the group's songs contain messages of friendship, perseverance, and encouragement. 'We Can Do Anything!' declares one of their songs. The group's aim is simple: Produce catchy, meaningful music while showcasing the talent and potential of kids. And as Dean Laterra, the group's writer and creator will tell you, it's not just about singing: 'It's about singing, and performing, but it's also about building confidence. It's about maturing and growing, and developing a voice. Not a physical voice, but an emotional one.' It's music for kids. It's music for parents. It's music for people. Fresh out of the studio finishing up their sophmore CD- Strong, Lovin', and Fun, the group plays regularly throughout the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area. The group began as a recording project back in 2005. 'I was teaching some songs I had written to a second grade class, and one kid really stood out. It was like everyone had a kazoo, and she had a trumpet. It occurred to me then that perhaps kids could sing these tunes that I had been stock piling. How many other talented kids were out there?' Laterra began writing more and decided to produce a CD of his tunes. 'There are so many good bands out there that disqualify kids as a listening group. I love Green Day, but when you listen to their music, be prepared, they get kind of 'colorful.' But musically, I love the style...and the Ramones, Beatles, Rolling Stones and a host of others. I made a decision to keep the lyrics positive and encouraging so that I could share with anyone. I didn't want to raise any eyebrows with parents, or disqualify my music from a great group of listeners.' Laterra began 'recruiting ' other singers, who along with their parents were on board with the idea, and over the course of a year (on Saturdays after soccer games), Groovy Ruby- Cool Like That was recorded at his home studio. 'It was a good first effort. None of us really knew what we were doing, but we just had to get the ball rolling. It's not perfect, and listening to it now you can hear just how far the group has come, but it was a lot of fun to do and it definitely set the stage for things to come.' Cool like That (now out of print) contains 14 breezy numbers with a bluesy twang. Hooky melodies and bouncy rhythms give the tunes stickiness. The singers (then ages 8-10) are remarkable for their age. You can tell that at this young age these kids have it. Since the release of Cool Like That in 2006 the group has been playing regularly throughout Northern New Jersey. 'We finished the CD and were still having fun so we thought, 'let's play a show' That was the start of a whole new element- The Live Show. 'The live show is what really started building the buzz. People got a kick out of seeing these kids up there rockin out and taking control of an audience. We did a bunch of libraries and schools to get experience and then before long we started to get booking requests. It may be the most fun to see how the girls are growing and developing as performers. It's a whole other skill set as compared to just singing tunes. There's something impressive about seeing an eleven year old take control of a large crowd....and have them hang on every word. It's an art in and of itself.' Three years from the beginning, the group has now released their second CD. Strong, Lovin', and Fun. 'It's on a whole new level. The songs, the vocals, the recording...everything! We've all grown so much since then, not to mention that this one is being done in a professional recording studio. We've taken the step from amateur to pro.' The group has evolved in other ways too. 'We've expanded our focus to talk more about the song themes and message a bit. Now in middle school, the singers bring a slew of meaningful and relevant experience to the table. At any level, these kids are good role models in that they are just regular kids, who go to regular school, who happen to be well mannered, respectful, smart, polite, friendly, strong, fun, and all of those other things that parents want their kids to be. These are kids that have learned to make good decisions in life, and that is more important today than ever. As for Groovy Ruby's future? 'I'm excited and encouraged. We have a great group of singers and musicians and it's still a ton of fun, and I'm always on the lookout for new young talent. Kids keep things fresh. It's one of life's little secrets...to maintain that kid like outlook and enthusiasm on things. This project is just getting started.