Genevieve Goings is an expert children’s entertainer. Most families know her from Disney Junior’s Choo Choo Soul. But if you listen around you will hear her gift being sprinkled all over from radio to toys. Goings helped re brand Fisher Price Little People. She is your host as you tune into Radio Disney Junior. She created an English musical curriculum for Disney English. And she has released her own album of Do you Know? for preschoolers. She’s spreading the love of learning in a fresh and fun way. She makes learning the fundamentals easy and fun! She has soulful sound with a whimsy touch. A perfect combination. And she makes bow ties look way too cool.
Keyundra: Genevieve, you make learning the basics so fun! Your songs are fun for the whole family. Silliness is expected. And laughs, giggles, wiggles are appreciated. As a parent when I’m in the midst of singing and dancing with the kids I don’t realize how much they are learning until after the song has ended and they have retained valuable information. Part of our learning time was family time with mommy singing and being silly with the kids. Just perfect.
How do you tap into your inner child to make such age appropriate songs?
Genevieve: I always begin by thinking about what the child would want to be doing while listening to the song.
Do I want them to learn something? If so, then let’s get the message stuck in their heads with repetitive words and melodies that they can sing along to easily, by the second chorus!
Do I want them to move? Well then, let’s give them an awesome beat and keep the lyrics simple.
It is so important to me to not worry about sounding silly, and to accept my gift -which is to speak to children!
Keyundra: Awesome! I love it when someone taps into their gifts because I feel like magic happens. Your music is truly fun for the whole family. What music genre is it?
Genevieve: Well, the technical term is “Children’s Music,” as far as genres go. We haven’t really started breaking kid’s music up into mini-genres, but I do categorize my music as “Kids Music with Soul.” Choo Choo Soul was the first thing on Playhouse Disney that had an urban, or “hip-hop” sound to it, and we’ve been categorized as that as well. Hip-hop has a certain air about it that may make some people feel that they wouldn’t like my music, but I guarantee that they will!
Keyundra: You’ve written songs for Disney English Curriculum, Fisher Price Little People, and your album Do you Know? What is your writing process?
Genevieve: It depends on what I am writing the song for…
If I am hired by a client to write, or have a specific song request, then I write the phrases and messages on a board, and focus on the cadence of the words or phrases. “I go to bed on my own, cause I’m all grown up” reads like the song sounds, if you say it enough times 🙂
After I find a melody within the spoken word, I try to make it as catchy as possible!
Sometimes, a melody will come to me first, and I will add words later. Sometimes I hear a certain instrument melody and start from there!! But usually, I start with lyrics.
Keyundra: Do you play any instruments on any of your albums?
Genevieve: Actually I do! I played guitar on the song “Slide and Pinch” which is an instructional song about how to tie a necktie. I also programmed the drums for “All Grown Up.” I’m not an amazing musician at all however, I only know a few chords on the guitar but I can get my ideas across to the real musicians that help me in the studio. On other projects I have played keys and added some bass lines, string lines and others on the keyboard.
Keyundra: The quality of work that you produce is wonderful. A special attention to detail is applied to everything even though it’s for kids. So it’s no wonder you have some amazing collaborations.
Genevieve: Thank you so much!
Keyundra: You’re welcome! You created Do you know? Album. What were your collaborations?
Genevieve Goings: Well, I am so lucky to know such talented people that come work with me on children’s music even though they work in other genres such as Pop/Rock, EDM, Hip-Hop and more. They really have fun writing Children’s music and I am lucky to work with them.
Athena Marie Byrne has co-written many of the songs on my album with me, she is amazing. We call ourselves “The Thingalongs” when we write kids music! We work on music all the time and also write grown-up music for other artists.
Jean-Yves “JEEVE” Ducornet is an absolutely amazing producer who produced most of the songs on the album, and I have been working with him for years. We started working together on sessions for another artist that I was writing for when I came into her sessions. We began working together on the Disney English projects and I was thrilled to get to work on my own album, “Do You Know?” with him. Not only does he produce, mix and master, he also plays guitar and bass and does vocal production.
I also was lucky enough to get a track from my good friend and producer, Gennessee, whom I started my career with back in the SF Bay area in hip-hop music.
A very special collaboration for me was having my older brother, Dominic Johnson play voila and co-write with me. Dominic has been playing voila for over 25 years and is incredibly creative and talented!
I also had Alex “Feather” Akimov play guitar, DC from Choo Choo Soul beatbox, and a few adorable kids lend their voices to the album!
Keyundra: Simply amazing. You are known for Disney Junior’s Choo Choo Soul by so many families. How long have you been doing Choo Choo Soul?
Genevieve: Choo Choo Soul was born from the mind of Greg Johnson, who is a video game developer. I was doing voiceover work for his game “Toe Jam & Earl III, Mission to Earth,” and he came up with the idea, as well as the song melodies and lyrics in his head.
That was 10 years ago!
Since then we recorded an album, sold the property to Disney, filmed 21 music videos as well as another “Disney Classics” album, and DC and I have been touring for over 8 years!!
I am so very blessed to have this opportunity to tour and to still be able to the train conductor after all these years!
I love it so much.
Keyundra: Many people may not know but you wrote the English musical curriculum for Disney English School. Disney English is English learning centers throughout China.
Genevieve: A little over six years ago, I began writing musical curriculum for “Disney English.” At the time, there was one school opening, and now there are over 20!
I use the target vocabulary for the lesson, paired with a Disney Property to write a song that sounds like a fun, American pop song!
When Disney gives me a song request, or “Brief,” It will say something like “The target vocabulary is ‘First, Next, After Then” and the lesson is set in a Peter Pan Theme.”
To date I have written over 100 songs for the initiative, and also wrote and produced a Phonics program!
Keyundra: You’re also part of the Disney Junior Radio as a host.
Genevieve: I love it and am excited to grow with the new station!!
Keyundra: You’re also a part of the re branding of Fisher Price the Little People.
Genevieve: I am so excited to have been a part of the re-branding of the iconic toy brand “The Little People” with Fisher-Price. I was hired to create a new theme song, and ended up being a part of the brainstorming group that created the five new characters; Eddie, Tessa, Mia, Sofie and Koby.
I got to write original songs for each character, as well as score the opening Webisodes for “Little People Place” also voicing the teacher character “Miss Hugg.”
I also wrote the songs within the episodes, and had a blast with all of them!
My voice also appears in the new toy based on the series, as well as the “Lil Movers” toys!
Keyundra: What was your inspiration for your album Do you Know?
Genevieve: I released my independent album” Do You Know?” as a ten-year anniversary gift to myself and my fans!
I wanted my own brand to be about learning, and this album teaches key fundamentals that all preschoolers need to know.
I have begun a nation-wide tour of Elementary Schools, where I visit and share my songs, as well as my inspirational story of my work.
It’s great because I get to meet kids that have been watching me on Disney Junior for a while!
I also have options to fund raise the entire visit.
More info is on the website: http://www.singwithgenevieve.com.
Keyundra: What will parents find on Do you Know?
Genevieve: Parents will find a journey through some of the most important Fundamentals that kids need to learn. But rather that someone singing down to the kids, or telling them what to learn, this album helps kids learn these things on their own, with a good role model and excellent songs that they will be singing along to in no time!
I can just about guarantee that your kids can learn their phone number in a couple of days, and will definitely show you the difference between and ‘Outside Voice” and an “Inside Voice!”
Keyundra: Your energy is contagious! It’s pure giggles and fun. Your songs and shows are encouraging kids to learn.
And you get to take this on the road!
How do handle the being a role model to kids?
Genevieve: I take my role very seriously. In my early career days, I was doing R&B and Hip-hop, and some of my images still show up when I’m googled. Ha!
Now I am very conscious of every photo, of how I dress, the things I post, and the things I say.
Kids are little sponges!! I love it!
My new music with “Do You Know?” is very soulful, and I love wearing my new sweaters, collared shirts, and bowties.
I never show skin when I perform and think that is pretty cool.
Keyundra: Do you have any performing rituals that you have before you go on stage?
Genevieve: Hmm… COFFEE!! Ha-ha!
And of course a vocal warmup.
And lots of water!
We always hug before a show too.
My dad comes on the road to most of my shows, as my manager, and also as the audio engineer!
Keyundra: What’s one of the awesome things about taking your performances on the road?
Genevieve: I love seeing the families. I have grown close to many families across the country, and I get a chance to watch them grow.
Each region is different and special in their own way.
East Coast kiddos have great haircuts, and the Southern kids say “yes ma’am… Ha!
I could go on and on!
Find Genevieve Goings on tour
Keyundra: It seems that you’ve taken a path to follow your dream. What message would you like to tell kids about going for their dreams?
Genevieve: You would be amazed at how much you can do. But you would be even more amazed at all the resources that you already have right by you!
Your parents are so smart, your grandparents are so smart… All the people that love you have so many ideas and contacts in the world, and you have so much to learn from them.
Show everyone how creative you are by making your dreams begin, no matter how small!
Don’t wait for someone to discover you, start at your first idea and make your own path!
It will get better and people will invest in your vision if you can show it to them!
Also, be thankful, every day!
And if people make you feel bad, give yourself a little time to dwell, and then get over it. 🙂
More From This Issue
Meet Disney Jr.’s Choo Choo Soul Genevieve Goings
Award winning Author and Illustrator Taeeun Yoo shares her process of the book You Are A Lion!
Awesome tips from Meteorologist
Meet the illustrator and author living her dream
Learn Awesome Tips For the Weary Math Student
Welcome to the first issue of Sprinkled with Fun™ Magazine!