by Marisa Torrieri Bloom
Los Angeles-area musicians Jacq Becker and Travis Warner — the duo ‘Mama B and Uncle T’ — have released Zoology, a children’s record that possesses an enchanting quality, filled with cooing animal noises and waterfall sounds alongside gently plucked instruments and gorgeous vocal harmonies. The record and accompanying videos are incredibly addictive and fun to experience — and there’s no way your toddler (or 4-year-old) won’t want to sing along. My personal favorites are the upbeat “Pink Polka-Dot Flamingo,” a song about enjoying community while appreciating one’s uniqueness, the Beatles-esque “Toucan-a-Rama,” and the adorable “Giggling Gorillas.”
It’s the perfect soundtrack for a Zoo visit with the grandparents, Safari excursion, or rainy fall day — and a tranquil escape from the day-to-day stressors that every child experiences in the post-2020 world.
We recently caught up with Jacq, who also happens to be a mom of a 3-year-old, to learn more about the record.
Rockmommy: Hi Jacq! For those who don’t know you, can you give us a bit of your musical background? Who are your influences?
Jacq Becker: I grew up going to both classical and musical theater camps as a kid and I loved studying and performing all sorts of styles of music. When I moved to Los Angeles after college I fell into performing jazz music and shortly thereafter discovered my love for writing pop/R&B music. I formed a band and started writing and performing my original music around LA before signing to Grammy award winning producer, Redone where I continued to write and perform for several years. My influences are Sade, Norah Jones, and H.E.R.! In the children’s genre, I’m loving everything Daniel Tashian is putting out and of course Raffi is still a staple in our house.
Rockmommy: What inspired your debut children’s album Zoology, with your pal Travis Warner (“Uncle T”)?
Jacq Becker: After becoming a mom I was inspired to create a fresh musical soundscape for my son as I felt I could make an impact in the genre. I enlisted the help of my long time friend and collaborator, Travis Warner (‘Uncle T”) who had just become an uncle. Both of his parents are educators — his mother started an art-centric preschool in his backyard when he was born, giving him a unique insight into children’s music and making him the perfect partner for this project!
Rockmommy: I love the video for “Hippopotamus.” Who is the brainchild behind the animation, and how did that come together?
Jacq Becker: I was lucky enough to meet PJ (planetjanet.tv) through a friend. She is an extremely talented animator and artist who was so easy and fun to work with. I had never produced anything in the animation space before, so with her patience and guidance we were able to create something really special for every song on the album.
Rockmommy: Why is music such a powerful therapy for children, especially in today’s high-stress world?
Jacq Becker: Now more than ever kids need a creative place to escape into music. We hope this album is one of many ‘Zoology’ editions that will have kids moving, singing and using their imaginations to transform these challenging times into memorable music experiences.
Jacq Becker: Balancing motherhood and creative life is always tough as you always feel like you are getting pulled in a million directions. I’ve definitely had to work on letting go of the guilt that comes with work being a working mom but I love that I get to show my son what it looks like to follow your passion and show him that there are many paths to achieving your dreams.
Rockmommy: Any words of advice for the new mamas who play and record music, perhaps those whose careers are on pause because life is hectic?
Jacq Becker: I have learned to take it easy on myself and trust that things will fall into place in the timing they’re supposed to happen.
Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.