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Artists : Bio Page : Michael Mish 2
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Michael Mish has recordings in the store, in the listening room, and articles in the knowledge base

Why Childrens Music

Although I had the dream job of all time - sitting on a stool in front of a microphone and sounding off with character voices for Disney, Hanna Barbara, DIC and Ruby Spears - I wanted more. I wanted to do something of lasting value for children. The seeming, and ever-increasing, disposability of the Saturday Morning Cartoon didn't feel like a true service to a child's understanding of the world around him/her.

On my way to a voice-over audition late one afternoon, cars were choked in traffic under the San Diego Freeway overpass near Westwood in Los Angeles. I looked around me. A woman with frizzy hair was yelling at someone on the other end of her cell phone. A guy was craning his neck out his window to see why traffic, throwing long shadows on the road in the late afternoon, was at a stand still. And it hit me. I've got to do music for kids. Stop this infernal driving. Do something with meaning. I've got to do. Got to recreate, with my own unique spin, Aesop's Fables.

I swear. That day I filled out the paper work to mortgage my house. And I began my music company and almost immediately began recording. I had all the gear. I'd been helping people make voice-over demos for years.

I blitzed through a book of Aesop's Fables that a friend had given me for my birthday days before. I re-wrote a few of my favorite stories and wrote a song to underline the moral of each story. I did all the character voices myself except a few that June Foray (voice of Rocky Squirrel and Natasha joined in with. She even offered to do it for free because she liked the idea of something with some real substance for children.

It was done in 6 weeks. I called children's record companies myself like a proud father. Zealous to be sure. My enthusiasm was amazing. I remember going for a jog while I was in the middle of recording that first CD and bursting into tears. Tears of joy that I'd finally found something that felt like it was coming from me. Who I really was.

I may or may not have gotten a distributor in that month of calling every connection to the record business I had. But it was the next CD that made the difference.

I'd noticed while recording some kids for the Aesop's Fables songs, that they seemed surprisingly intelligent. Inquisitive, articulate, passionate and connected to their world in a way that I couldn't honestly say that I was when I was their age. Granted, they were actors and obviously privileged and talented. But still.

A project right near my house was about to get underway. To slant drill under the Pacific Coast Highway for oil. For oil right under the very feet of what must surely have been the most populous beach in Los Angeles. What the ---?!?! And what did children think of this kind of thing?

Yeah! I bought a digital field recorder and asked no fewer than a thousand children from schools up and down the west coast - what do you think of our oceans; the air we breathe; the trees. I let children, in their own words, give me the subject matter for my next CD: A Kid's Eye View of the Environment.

I recorded it, again, in 6 weeks using kids for the choruses. The plaintive sound of children singing about our sacred environment. And like an arrow to the heart those voice resounded. And where just 2 months earlier I'd broken down while jogging, this time while sprinting along all the lawns and driveways on that glorious spring day, I saw my picture on the front page of every LA Times newspaper on every lawn. It was a heady experience.

From that I was a back door spokesperson for children. Speaking before schools all over the country. Speaking at the UN's General Assembly.

So I guess you could say that it wasn't children's music so much I wanted to do. I wanted to empower the child within myself to be as articulate, passionate and concerned as the children I'd come to meet in recording sessions and interviews.

Articles on the portal:

Why I write
childrens music

Advice from a pro

Microphone technique
Streaming Children's Music Webcast.

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