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.

Related Content

DVD Review “Rankin/Bass TV Holiday Favorites Collection”

Created by: Rankin/Bass
Studio: Warner Archive
DVD Release Date: August 31, 2012
Run Time: 148 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Rankin/Bass, they are the Christmas special gods! I always think about their specials when the holiday season comes around. This TV Holiday Favorite Collections includes some of the lesser popular titles like “The Little Drummer Boy: Book II”, “Pinocchio’s Christmas”, “The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold” and “The Stingiest Man in Town” (which is the only one not using stop-motion “animagic”). I watch these specials every year on ABC Family. They are not the best of the best but they are still Rankin/Bass and they are classics.

Official Premise: Four family classics from the studio that helped make the holidays magic!: The Little Drummer Boy Book II: Starting where the original left off, Book II sends Aaron, the little drummer boy, off on a quest to aid Simeon, crafter of the silver bells. With Greer Garson and Zero Mostel. The Stingiest Man in Town: Rankin/Bass departs from its usual stop-motion “Animagic” process for this line animation adaptation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. With Walter Matthau, and Tom Bosley. Pinocchio’s Christmas: After Fox tricks him out of a gift for Geppetto, Pinocchio sets out on an adventure to reclaim Christmas. Along the way he meets up with a beautiful marionette and a jolly old man in a flying sleigh. With Alan King. The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold: A sailor and a leprechaun join forces to reclaim the Christmas gold after a wailing banshee makes off with it, thanks to the sailor’s blunder. With Art Carney and Peggy Cass.

If I am not mistaken, this release is the first time that “The Little Drummer Boy: Book II” has been released on DVD, so that is the main draw here. The other specials have been previously released before on DVD, but it is nice to have them in the spotlight for once. The specials look nice on DVD but like some Warner Archive releases have not been remastered but taken from the best quality master that is currently available. So they could use a little touching up but for me that has always been the charm of these films, which is their imperfections. I look forward to sharing these episodes with my daughter and revisiting these each year.

 

Related ContentABC

DVD Review “The Dick Van Dyke Show: Carl Reiner’s Favorites”

Directors: Alan Rafkin, Jerry Paris, John Rich, Robert Butler, Sheldon Leonard
Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Carl Reiner
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Image Entertainment
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Running Time: 500 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.  They both have such natural comedy timing.  This volume of 20 episodes are personal favorites of series creator Carl Reiner.  This seems to be a tradition with Image Entertainment, who released “The Dick Van Dyke Show: 50th Anniversary Edition: Fan Favorites” last year.  Overall great travel back to a special time in our TV history. If you are a fan of the series, and who isn’t, pick this up, sit back and enjoy.  It is also a good start for new fans because what is a better way to watch the series than with the favorites from the creator himself.

Since Image did “Fan Favorites” last year and Carl Reiner’s picks this year, I am curious what will be next.  I just hope that they try a different box cover since they only changed the color from blue to red on these releases.  There are also no special features included like the last release. The episodes though are said to be in pristine quality and they definitely looks great.  For a show that aired over 50 years ago they look especially well.  If we are traveling back to 60’s comedies on TV though, I would most likely prefer 1962’s short-lived “I’m Dickens…He’s Fenster” with Marty Ingels and John Astin.

Episodes: Never Name a Duck, The Attempted Marriage, Hustling the Hustler, A Bird in the Head Hurts, Gesundheit, Darling, Will You Two Be My Wife?, Ray Murdock’s X-Ray, Don’t Trip Over That Mountain, The Sam Pomerantz Scandals, Divorce, Laura’s Little Lie, Very Old Shoes Very Old Rice, The Life and Love of Joe Coogan, The Plots Thicken, The Return of Edwin Carp, Pink Pills for Purple Patients, Baby Fat, No Rice at My Wedding, A Day in the Life of Alan Brady, Obnoxious Offensive Egomaniac Etc.

Disney and Disney•Pixar Favorites Poised to Return to Theaters in 3D

DISNEY AND DISNEYPIXAR FAVORITES POISED TO RETURN TO THEATERS IN 3D

‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ Will Make 3D Theatrical Debut in 2012 and 2013 

BURBANK, Calif. – October 4, 2011 – On the heels of the phenomenal success of The Lion King 3D – which will cross the $80 million mark at the domestic box office today – The Walt Disney Studios has announced limited theatrical engagements for four of its classic films for the first time in 3D. The following titles from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios will be released in 2012 and 2013:

  • Beauty and the Beast – January 13, 2012
  • Disney•Pixar’s Finding Nemo – September 14, 2012
  • Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. – January 18, 2013 (Monsters University, a prequel to the original film, arrives in theaters in Disney Digital 3D on June 21, 2013)
  • The Little Mermaid – September 13, 2013

“Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both,” said Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios. “We’re thrilled to give audiences of all ages the chance to experience these beloved tales in an exciting new way with 3D – and in the case of younger generations, for the first time on the big screen.”

Originally released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast is a classic “tale as old as time” that follows the adventures of Belle, a bright young woman imprisoned in the castle of a mysterious beast and his enchanted staff, who must learn the most important lesson of all – that true beauty comes from within. Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film ever nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture, earning an additional five Oscar® nominations and winning two. It has grossed $380.4 million worldwide.

First released in 2003, Disney•Pixar’s Finding Nemo takes audiences into a whole new world in this undersea adventure about family, courage and challenges. When Marlin, an overly cautious clownfish living in the Great Barrier Reef, helplessly watches his son get scooped up by a diver, he must put aside his fears of the ocean and leave the safety of his coral enclave to find Nemo. Buoyed by the companionship of Dory, a forgetful but relentlessly optimistic fish, Marlin finds himself the unlikely hero in a seemingly impossible land-and-sea rescue. Finding Nemo won an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for three others. With a total of $867.6 million worldwide, it was the second highest-grossing film of 2003.

In 2001, Disney•Pixar released Monsters, Inc. Lovable Sulley and his wisecracking sidekick Mike Wazowski are the top scare team at Monsters, Inc., the scream-processing factory in Monstropolis. But when a little girl named Boo wanders into their world, it’s up to Sulley and Mike to keep her out of sight and get her back home. Monsters, Inc. shattered every DVD-era home entertainment sales record when 11 million DVD/VHS copies were sold during its first week of release. It won an Academy Award® for Best Song and has grossed $526.9 million worldwide.

Released in 1989, The Little Mermaid, stars Ariel, a fun-loving and mischievous mermaid, off on the adventure of a lifetime with her best friend, the adorable Flounder, and the reggae-singing Caribbean crab Sebastian. But it will take all of her courage and determination to make her dreams come true and save her father’s beloved kingdom from the sneaky sea witch Ursula. One of the most celebrated animated films of all time, The Little Mermaid was nominated for three Academy Awards®, winning two. It has grossed $228.9 million worldwide.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

For more than 85 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under four banners: Walt Disney Pictures, which includes Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel; and Touchstone Pictures, which includes the distribution of live-action films from DreamWorks Studios. Original music and motion picture soundtracks are produced under Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records, while Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Broadway theatrical productions, Disney on Ice and Disney LIVE!.  For more information, visit www.waltdisneystudios.com.