Talking Spookiness with Mister G

Musician Ben Gundersheimer—a.k.a. Mister G—did not set out to be a kids’ musician. His brand-new recording Chocolalala has already garnered a People’s Choice Gold Award and is on the Grammy ballot and his music has received glowing praise from People Magazine and Parents’ Magazine alike. With a concert at the Academy (details below) coming up, we met at my house. I let Saskia help interview her favorite musician. Here’s a sneak peek.

Saskia: Where’s your Mister G hat?

Ben/Mister G: I have a different hat today.

Saskia: That’s silly.

Sarah: What Mister G song does Addy not like?

Saskia: She’s scared of the “Wha-ha-ha” part in the Halloween song. I told her it was Santa singing, not Mister G.

With that, Saskia exits.

Ben (laughing): A little scary is okay, like Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey. I don’t want people to think my music is cute. Before I started teaching—I spent part of a school year filling in for a music teacher on leave—I hadn’t conceived of doing music for kids. In school, the kids and I did some songwriting together. It launched me to write more songs.

I write the songs and produce the records in the same way I did with my adult music; I aim to make songs that will appeal to kids and to adults. Jazz musician Kenny Burrell, said, “If I like it I feel my taste isn’t so esoteric that I’m confident I’m not going to be the only one.” That notion has guided me.


Important Update: Saskia told me yesterday that “Addy’s mom told her the “Wha-haa-ha” part of the song is just Mister G singing it and now Addy’s not scared of the Halloween song.” Maybe she will join us at the Academy of Music Theatre for Mister G’s Halloween celebration-plus-album-release-party. Come in costume if you like. 11 AM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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