Choo Choo Soul’s Genevieve Goings talks about first solo children’s album “Do You Know”

Genevieve Goings is best known for her work with Disney Junior’s Choo Choo Soul. You might also know her as Miss Hugs from Fisher-Price’s Little People product line. She just released her first solo children’s album called “Do You Know” with amazing and fun new music for kids (and parents) to enjoy and learn from. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Genevieve (again) to discuss the album as well as her new role at Disney Junior.

Mike Gencarelli: This is your first solo children’s album; tell us about the evolution of “Do You Know”?
Genevieve Goings: Yes it is, I am just so happy that it is finally out! It started when I was working with Fisher Price. It sparked something inside me. When we came to the end of that project, I felt like I had more creativity left in me. It is more important with programming and corporations not to stuff the education aspect down kid’s throat, so to speak. There is more of a storyline with magic and the discovery. So none of my clients are looking for those straight educational songs but I have had so many ideas for these songs. I thought how about if I put out the educational album and I can stick with the magical storytelling songs for them. I think when I completed the song “How Many Fives Around The Clock?”, that was when I knew I had something special. That song is so cool, catchy and fun. So it all started with that.

MG: How does these songs differ from Choo Choo Soul?
GG: When I was working on the songs, I had a white board up jotting down ideas and putting different pictures up on a cork board. I was looking at photos for Choo Choo Soul and I was thinking who that person would be if is she wasn’t in that costume. I was making a list of my favorite parts of Choo Choo Soul, like the fact that I have a costume and not showing any skins. I wanted to find the places where I can push the boundaries. Some of those are just being really super silly and not following any of the rules for songwriting, especially in the song “Aeiou”, which is just completely ridiculous and I love it [laughs]. I think a lot more humor came out in this album as well. It still really pulls from my roots in R&B and soul music though. I discovered myself also while making this album. I have been and still am the train conductor, but I got to find out who is Genevieve by herself.

MG: “My Telephone Number is…” is one heck of catchy song and honestly can’t get it out of my head; tell us about how the song came to be?
GG: I thought it encompassed the idea of what “Do You Know” is. I couldn’t find any other songs like this out there. I did that with the whole album. I wanted to see what was needed out there. I also went out and asked parents what song topics they wanted. I feel like that melody is so catchy and fun. I even got responses already from parents that their kids were learning their own number due to it. So that is so amazing to hear.

MG: The video for “My Telephone Number is…” was very fun; what future videos do you have planned for this album?
GG: “Inside Voice” was just released, which I just love. It is such a fun video to shoot. I also have a video “How Many Fives Around The Clock?” and “Rainbow Colors” coming up but they were shot on a green screen and are just waiting to be animated. So that is very exciting.

MG: Congrats on being named the new host on the “Radio Disney Junior” hour on Radio Disney! Tell us about this new gig?
GG: Thanks! They are really pushing the new Watch Disney Junior app. They added a radio function to the app. I am hosting that whole radio station for that app. It is a loop that plays throughout the day. There is a “Pirate and Princess Hour”. There is a “Storybook Hour”. There is a “Magic of Disney Hour”. So it started with me working with the app and then I guess they thought, “Why we don’t bring her over to the real radio station”. So I have been recording for that as well now. I have been doing voice over so long that I expected a script but it is a free formed thing and I am able to talk with just the kids and it has been so amazing.

MG: Tell us about the PSA you recorded for Disney Junior as well?
GG: I love this PSA! When you purchase Disney Junior branded products that say “Give a book, Get a book” on it, you get a code and go online to enter it. You select a region you want to give a book to and they really are delivering actual book. Then you also get a digital copy of a book yourself. I have always been into literacy and teaching, so this is really great.

MG: With these two new Disney Junior projects; any plans for new videos or songs in the works for Choo Choo Soul?
GG: We don’t have any planned right now but I have been doing some other new songs with Disney Junior’s “The Power of Doing Good”, which is their new initiative now. I have been doing some commercial voice work for them. It is definitely promising that they are keeping me around and using my voice. It is such a production to put on for Choo Choo Soul with the cast of kids, the costumes and the animation. We are also trying to share Disney Junior with so countries around the world. So you take a show like “Sofia the First”, it is easy to translate into 36 different languages but not so much for myself and my voice. But I wouldn’t say the door is completely closed for Choo Choo Soul. Like the way that the PSA was, there could be more opportunities that way. I guess as long as I can fit into the costume [laughs].

Click here to purchase “Do You Know” on CD

Click here to download “Do You Know” on iTunes

Choo Choo Soul’s Genevieve Goings releases new song “My Telephone Number Is”

Hey parents!! Right off the press…Choo Choo Soul’s Genevieve Goings just released her first song from her upcoming independent Children’s Album “Do You Know?”, called “My Telephone Number Is”. The song helps teach kids their phone number with the help of the grownups in their life.

Click here to purchase the song on iTunes. Support learning for kids through music AND, your kids will learn their phone numbers in the process! Plus it is pretty darn catchy and I have found myself humming it constantly, so it is great for parents as well.

Choo Choo Soul’s Genevieve Goings talks about her work with Fisher-Price’s Little People

Genevieve Goings is known best for her role in the children’s music group Choo Choo Soul. They can be seen daily on Disney Junior with their catchy and fun yet educational kids songs. Choo Choo Soul released a CD of classic “Disney Favorites” earlier this year as well. She also started working with Fisher-Price and creating new music for their Little People brand. Genevieve took out some time to chat with Media Mikes again about her new gig at Fisher Price and her love for creating music.

FL Resident? Click here to enter to win tickets to an upcoming show for Choo Choo Soul in Miami, FL!

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us some background on how you got involved with Fisher-Price to write and produce brand new music for their Little People brand?
Genevieve Goings:  I was actually brought in by the incredibly smart and talented guy, Kevin Mowrer, who was consulting with Fisher Price on the re-branding of the iconic Fisher Price “Little People”. The Little People Brand has been around for 50 years, and is very well known, so they wanted to build on that by creating new characters with distinct personality traits. They put in a ton of work and are excited to introduce – Eddie, Tessa, Mia, Sofia and Koby! These wonderful characters are celebrated in their own ways, and all of us are sure to find a bit of ourselves in one, if not all of them! Fisher-Price really wanted music to be a big part of the re-branding, and that is where I came in. My first order of business was a to write a theme song for the overall brand. So we started from there and it sort of expanded into more work as we kept brainstorming and having a blast..

MG: Tell us a little bit about the characters?
GG: We decided to give each character their own song that explained their personality. Eddie want to run and jump and zoom everywhere. Tessa is the twirling ballerina, the girlie girl. Sofie loves art. Koby is super silly. Mia is shy and quite and likes to collect things. All these characters are really cool and have their own distinct personalities. I think that kids playing with them will find one that they relate to as well. They are on YouTube right now for everyone to enjoy and you can also visit Fisher Price’s website to learn more.

MG: What do you have planned next with Fisher Price?
GG: I am so excited to announce that The Fisher-Price “Little People” have their very own animated web-series on YouTube! I scored the episode as well as writing the original songs within the show. I am also the voice of the teacher, Miss Hugg! Miss Hugg is sweet and very fun. She is a super cool teacher and is in charge, but is so nice and has a little bit of magic to her. While the children go out on their discovery adventures, she is there to keep an eye on them. She is musical and definitely sings while creating some magic around their discoveries. I am working on other interactive media for them as well, more coming soon!

MG: You wrote, recorded and produced these new songs, what was your most challenging aspect?
GG:  We say if it is not broken, don’t fix it right? So with Little People they are already so iconic and Fisher Price is the epitome of children’s toys. So I just wanted to make sure that it was really something great. So I tried to think outside of the box but also remain true to the brand and the company’s values. There was a little pressure in finding that perfect blend. They have been so awesome to work with since they do want to push the envelope a little bit outside of what is “traditional” music. But as you know, that is kind of what I do, which is create contemporary kids music that is kid cool and parent approved [laughs].

MG: Do you tap into your inner child to create these songs?
GG: Oh yeah! Absolutely. My song writing process is hysterical. I have my two dogs with me that total about 30 pounds together. So I will start like I am just singing to them. Then I am dancing around and I have to think about if this would be fun to perform. I think if it is fun to listen to and also sing along to. When I write a song, I try and think about a child singing it. That is my goal to have that resonate with them and have them wanting to sing them after hearing it.

MG: I know you are touring with some shows this Fall, do you get to play your new Disney Favorite as well as your classic tracks from Choo Choo Soul?
GG: Yes, we do a mix of both. We do our Choo Choo tracks and also the Disney classics, since we don’t want to move too far from our train theme. We just did this great gig in Boston and we had backup dancers and we had these amazing big dance numbers to “Be Our Guest” and Under the Sea” and it was really fun! So keep an eye out on our “Events” tab on Facebook as we may be coming to a town by you.

MG: Tell us something cool about yourself that your fans may not know?
GG: Cool question! I actually write for Disney English, which is a school in China that teaches English as a second language. I have been writing for them for over four years and have done over 100 songs for them. This is like a whole other realm that I have been working on. It is so much easier to learn to speak another language if you can sing it. So that is something that has been a really amazing growing opportunity for me. It is such an interesting way to right songs. I am given a vocabulary and the words that I need to incorporate into the songs. I am also told that I am only able to use those words since its the only ones they know in English…and to make it song like a song from “Aladdin” [laughs]. So I get amazing assignments like that. I also wrote an entire phonics program for them to learn through sounds. I know they started airing these on Disney Junior France. So I am happy for others to get a chance to see these finally.

MG: Any more music projects in the works?
GG: I have thinking about doing my own project for a while. I have been doing this for other company, which has been absolutely amazing. I have covered tons of great topics ranging from vegetables to jumping to counting with Choo Choo Soul. We have the emotional expression songs about twirling, loving art and not being afraid to be shy with Little People. So there are a few other topics available [laughs]. I am going to be working on some songs and releasing them individually. I reached out a while ago on various social media sites and asked parents what were some of song topics that they wished we available and some great responses. That is the beauty of today’s media is that you can do stuff like this now without a big record label. So that will be coming up soon and I will definitely keep you posted Mike to share with your readers.

MG: I just wanted to close with saying “Thank You” because my daughter loves your music so much!
GG: Oh thank you, that’s so sweet. It’s amazing to just think how long it has gone. I do not think that Disney had in mind that it was going to last this long. Somehow though, with that combination of trains, the awesome animation and the music is really working out. We have such a blast performing and hope to continue for many more years to come.

Genevieve Goings talks about Disney Junior's Choo Choo Soul and new CD "Disney Favorites"

I have to admit, 9 months ago I did not know Genevieve Goings or the music of Choo Choo Soul.  But thanks to the birth of my daughter we discovered the wonderful thing known as Disney Junior, a 24 hour channel aimed at preschoolers. While watching this station, we heard the fun and exciting videos from Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve! These songs really captured the attention of my daughter from a very young age. Their take on the ABC’s brings a new and fun way to learning.  I have a feeling that as my daughter grows up these songs are going to be more and more helpful in learning. Choo Choo Soul recently released a new CD consisting of “Disney Favorites” with classics like “Hakuna Matata”, “Bare Necessities” and “When You Wish Upon A Star”, with a little extra soul added to them. I was lucky enough to be able to track down Genevieve in order to get the inside scoop on how Choo Choo Soul started and chat about the new album and their love of entertaining children.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you tell us about the birth of Choo Choo Soul and how you met Constantine “DC” Abramson?
Genevieve Goings: It is pretty crazy how things work out. DC and I were actually in a band together, which was this R&B/Soul sort of group. I was also doing a video game (“Toe Jam & Earl III”) voice over for a guy that has now become a good friend Greg Johnson, who also created the concept for Choo Choo Soul. We were doing this game and I was voicing these Gospel singers, except they weren’t singing they were just talking. I told Greg these characters should be singing their lines and getting down with some soul. So I ended up singing the lines and we had so much fun with that. He ended up writing like 10 pages of lines that had me singing and that sparked this little thing inside of him. He said he always had an idea for a children’s CD about trains [laughs]. So we did it and it ended up being “Choo Choo Soul”, our first album. It was great and caught on like wildfire. It is actually good funky music for kids. Our tagline was “Music for kids that will not drive parents crazy”.

MG: How did you then get involved with Disney?
GG: It worked out great. Disney Channel got a hold of it and liked it. They flew me out for a meeting, which actually ended up being an audition. We didn’t know this at the time, all we got an address to meet them and it turned out to be a classroom. There were these people in suits, cameras and 30 kids on the floor sitting Indian style. They just said “Alright go!” [laughs], but it worked out. DC and I both love what we do and we have been doing it for eight years, which is crazy. But we are still going strong.

MG: What is it that you enjoy most about entertaining children?
GG: They are just so genuine  I mean they will tell you like it is. If they don’t like it baby…they don’t like it [laughs]. If they love it…then they LOVE IT with their whole entire soul! It is just really amazing. I like to say they don’t care who I am dating, what I weight or who I am wearing [laughs], you know? It a polyester suit [laughs]. They are just so pure and to be able to entertain them at that young age is great. With the magic of Disney behind us, which is the greatest children company, it gives us this platform to succeed. It is just so amazing.

MG: Tell us about your latest CD “Disney Favorites”?
GG: That was actually brought to us by Disney. It was their idea to work with Disney Junior channel, which is 24 hours of programming for that young preschool age. I think the big point for them was to really marry the classic Disney with the new era and I think that is what the whole channel is doing. So having their fun little Choo Choo crew translate these old classics to the younger generation is what they were going for with that.

MG: I like how you guys take these wonderful songs and put your little twist on them, especially with “Hakuna Matata”! I love it.
GG: Thank you. We love that. Disney Records wanted us to put together these as a full album since we only had filmed eight of these songs as videos. They said “Gosh, we need to fill up a whole CD with more songs”. So that was a great day for us. We definitely had a blast with that.

MG: What is your all-time favorite Disney classic song?
GG: Oh…Oh my gosh! I would have to say “When You Wish Upon a Star”. I can’t even believe I got to do that song. It is just amazing and very special.

MG: Like you said you’ve been doing this for 8 years now, what has been your highlight?
GG: It is really the live interactions. DC and I are both live performers. Stage has always been our thing. So I think that ending up on television has been an added bonus for us, which of course is absolutely amazing. I mean getting to dress up like Cinderella and Prince Charming and dancing around was a great highlight [laughs]. The real peak for us though is live with actual kids, getting to meet and see them. Sometimes they come dressed as us, which is really fun. Plus we are using our actually names, it is not a character name. My name is really Genevieve. So when a parent tells their kids “There’s Genevieve” and I bend down to hug them…that is the best! I just am grateful to Disney since they really have embraced us. It is not like a lot of other kids music and I think that is why it is working.

MG: What in the cards next for Choo Choo Soul? Any touring?
GG: We are really hoping to come to the Disney parks but nothing is setup yet. We will be definitely touring this year. Disney will be posting our dates. We also have a Facebook page and we put up all of our stuff there and handle it personally. We love to keep in touch with our fans and see photos/videos. Right now we are working on getting feedback from our fans as which songs are their favorites. We are trying to build that into a tour which would be like a party-along and sing-along show. We are working on that for the Summer and Fall. So hopefully we will have some dates near everyone soon.