100 Creatives

49: Stefan Shepherd

49: Stefan Shepherd

Stefan Shepherd started out writing music reviews of family music in his spare time for his wife's parenting group newsletter. (More about that here.) Now he writes music reviews of family music in his spare time for his website, Zooglobble, and NPR's All Things Considered and has brought family music shows to town at diverse locations such as the Children's Museum of Phoenix, the Church of the Beatitudes, and Modified Arts.

(learn more about Shepherd after the jump)

List five things on your Inspiration Wall (real or imagined).
1. My family -- Some of these others may change, but this won't. Without them, listening to, writing about, and producing shows of family musicians would seem a little odd. They also sing and play and let me join in.
2. Pete Seeger, Ella Jenkins, Dan Zanes -- in their own ways, they've each been recording music for way more than 50 years, and they're still committed to having people sing along.
3. Recess Monkey-- Besides writing and recording great kid-pop nuggets, the Seattle trio produces DVDs, tours, and has helped organize the Seattle scene's family musicians into a cooperative, and are, despite all these obligations, full-time teachers. Whenever I think I can't do it all, I look at them.
4. Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti -- This forthcoming benefit record put together by New York musician Dean Jones and my friend Bill Childs compiles songs from many of the best in today's family musicians for the ongoing recovery efforts in Haiti. Proof that community can be stronger than the individual. Also: awesome to listen to.
5. Kimber Lanning -- Her insistence that we create our own community is what finally got me to stop whining about not having more family musicians come through Phoenix and actually work towards it myself.

What was your last big project?
On the cosmic scale of things, my review of the latest Justin Roberts album Jungle Gym for NPR's All Things Considered, isn't very big, but kids music doesn't get a lot of airplay in the "non-kids" world and it takes a lot more time than you'd think to craft the text and figure out how to weave it around the right sound clips.

What's your next big project?
Although there's nothing like announcing it in front of thousands to put some accountability in a goal, I'll wait 'til I'm a little bit longer along in my projects before announcing them. The projects I'm considering are intended to increase the visibility of the kids music genre in the general public. When somebody becomes a parent for the first time, nobody ever says, "Wow - you mean they write books just for kids?" yet most new parents are surprised to find out people beyond the Wiggles and Barney make music just for kids. My projects are intended to change that.

What have you learned from your creative pursuits that you never could have learned from your day job?
Oddly enough, it's not the creative aspects (the writing reviews, conducting interviews, making music with my family and others) as much as it is the non-creative aspects of the musical life -- the economics of the touring musician, the whole blogging apparatus, dealing with local music folks -- that have been most enlightening. (I've never appreciated exactly how much of a musician's life is non-creative.) Honing writing skills is something I'm doing everyday anyway, but taking a meeting to ask somebody to spend money on something, that's new to me.

What's something you want Phoenix to know about you?
I'm always on the lookout for more family-music venues here in the Valley of the Sun -- compared to other cities of similar size, we're still behind the curve. If you have a venue in mind (be it your own shop, your local coffee shop, or your auto-body shop), drop me a line at [email protected] and we'll talk. (And if you want to get on my occasional mailing list, drop me an e-mail as well.) I don't get paid a penny for doing this -- I do it because I think it's
important for families to be able to celebrate music together.

The Creatives, so far:

100. Fausto Fernandez
99. Brian Boner
98. Carol Panaro-Smith
97. Jane Reddin
96. Adam Dumper
95. Mayme Kratz
94. Daniel Tantalean
93. Yuri Artibise
92. Lisa Starry
91. Paul Hoeprich
90. Betsy Schneider
89. Mary Shindell
88: Gabriel Utasi
87: Tiffany Egbert
86. Angela Cazel Jahn
85. Dayvid LeMmon
84. Beatrice Moore
83. Michelle J. Martinez
82. Carrie Bloomston
81. Paul Porter
80. Rachel Bess
79. Karolina Sussland
78. Aaron Abbott
77. Mary Lucking
76. Erin Sotak
75. Greg Esser
74. Matthew Mosher
73. Mark Klett
72. Tony Carrillo
71. Paul Morris
70. Joe Pagac
69. Alison King
68. JJ Horner
67. Kim Porter
66. Marco Rosichelli
65. Heather Hales
64. Amy Lamp
63. Kevin Vaughan-Brubaker
62. Lindy Drew

61. Robbie Pfeffer
60. Neil Borowicz

59. Lynn Fisher

58. Tanner Woodford

57. David Tinapple
56. Casebeer

55. Tom Leveen

54. Patti Parsons

53. Tedd McDonah

52. Mike Maas
51. Chris Todd

50. Monica Aissa Martinez