It was a relatable situation for any parent of young kids to find themselves in: mom was getting burned out on listening to kids’ music.
That feeling was doubly heightened during quarantine, says Gemma Turner, a North Vancouver mother of two kids, ages five and three, who both enjoy a good head bop and torso shake while listening to some of their favourite tunes.
This gave Turner an idea. First, she’d take control of her sonic environment by recording her own kids’ songs and, lastly, form her own mom band to spread a message of positivity.
“I started writing some songs in the basement after my kids were in bed. I’d use my Apple earbuds as the mike,” says Turner. “I always had this idea I wanted to start a kids’ project.”
After spending many nights during March and April writing and recording some electro-pop ditties intended for young ears and the young-at-heart, Turner submitted her home recordings to her producer for polishing up.
Seven of those songs – such as “Shake Your Body,” “The Clean-up Song,” “The Banana Song” and “Stand Together” – have now been formally mixed and mastered. Turner also formed a new group, called Mom Bop, comprised of six women from diverse backgrounds across the North Shore.
The fun, informal group has a busy social media presence and has already been performing some of the tunes in public while donning bright outfits and executing upbeat dance routines.
“This project was driven by moms. We all have kids ourselves,” says Turner. “The dance routines are super simple. We’re moms, we’re not professional dancers. But the idea is we can do it and young kids can do it too.”
While the lyrics are intended for fresh-faced listeners, the music itself was inspired by Turner’s upbringing in Europe, where discotheques and Europop dominated much of the musical landscape. It’s like if the Wiggles ditched the pianos and guitars in favour of the dance floor.
“What I’m hoping to do is bridge the gap between a ’90s electro pop cheesy dance sound with being direct and sound like it’s for kids,” says Turner.
Mom Bop – made up of Turner, Jolie Patrice, Cherine Casillan, Johanne Nadeau-Bearnatchez, Nicole Strahl and Shannon De Souza – is hoping to spread its message further. With the group currently working on setting up some live public performances, their primary focus right now is the schools.
“With back to school fast approaching we understand the challenges and anxieties that families are facing and so we have written a song called ‘The Social Distance Song’ targeted to kids in their transition back to school,” says Turner. “This whole initiative was started because everyone was shut inside during COVID. We want to promote movement and distanced-song among kids.”