Zooglobble: Who are your superheroes? Why?
Laurie Berkner: Oh man, there are so many for so many different reasons. Here is my answer for today. Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll have another list for you.
The first people who come to mind are: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Susie Lampert, Lucy and Brian Mueller, and Hannah Shaw.
-- Lin-Manuel for changing the face and sound of musicals through a creative risk that he spent six years of his life on, and for being someone who stands up for what he believes in (like breaking down stereotypes and fighting for immigrant rights).
-- Susie, for how she gets so much joy from giving both as a musician and as a psychiatric nurse for people with serious mental illnesses.
-- My daughter Lucy for navigating through the world of being a kid with her unique brand of creativity and kindness towards others and in that way being a teacher for me.
-- My husband Brian for never giving up on discovering his true calling and having the persistence and humility to go back to school at 40 years old alongside kids right out of college and finally get his PhD in psychology so he can do what he was meant to do and help other people with his insight and compassion.
-- Hannah Shaw (who is someone I just recently discovered) for making a career out of rescuing neonatal kittens who would otherwise be euthanized and fostering them until they are healthy enough- and old enough - to be adopted, as well as educating others in how to help these animals themselves. (Oh, and she’s also a rap artist!).
I admire and respect all of them so much for pursuing the things that they are good at, and that bring themselves and other people so much pleasure.
It’s been about 8 years since the release of Rocketship Run -- what inspired you to start work on Superhero after that long break?
I had been writing and recording a lot in the interim, but everything I did was either based on a theme (Christmas, lullabies, classics, songs for the musicals I was working on) or because I was hired to write something for a specific purpose. It felt like it was time to let my imagination be free and write a new batch of songs where I was just thinking about kids, and things I thought were fun or that I would want to sing about. It was both wonderful and very daunting. I felt very free to write about anything that inspired me, but at the same time there were so many things that inspired me, it was hard to narrow down all of the choices! I wrote 21 songs for this album and started many more that didn’t make it on there.