Brooklyn singer/songwriter Lucy Kalantari loves to belt it out for her noisy but appreciative fans at her weekly gig at the Brooklyn Farmacy cafe.
"I make jazz age music for kids and families,” says Kalantari. “There's sort of a natural perkiness and they associate that sound with something joyful."
Kalantari grew up on Staten Island and later in Brooklyn. She studied at the Purchase Conservatory of Music. She's worked in many genres, yet when you perform kid's music, even when you infuse it with the swing of the jazz age, people don't always take you as seriously. But now, no one questions her music cred, because Lucy and the Jazz Cats' "All the Sounds" won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Children's album.
"I've been making music my whole life, all my life, and it was just the highest honor you can get for a musician," she says.
Kalantari's move into kid's music started when her son Darius was born in 2013. She started writing a song a week.
"As it turned out, every time I wrote a song on the ukulele it would be this bright thing that would make Darius really lighten up, and that's how I made my first family album," she recounts.
Darius now plays cello on some songs and went with his mom to the ceremony. She remembers every moment.
"He enjoyed every single moment. He came up on stage with me and I handed him the gramophone and he told me later I was a little nervous and I was like, 'you did great,'" Kalantari says.
Lucy likes to call it "family music" not "kids music" and when you see the parents’ reaction it makes sense.
"This is all fun songs that the kids can sing along to and then the parents can sing along too," they all say.
Kalantari’s work shows how kid’s music has evolved to include everything from hard rock and electropop to world beat and hip-hop. You'll see a lot of strollers out front, but Kalantari's music really is for young and old.