SOMERS, N.Y. – He has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business and won some of the industry’s greatest awards, but Somers resident Andy Zulla’s latest project might be his most important contribution to the sanity of many parents. He has released “Rock-n-Stroller,” a compilation of classic and timeless songs from the ’60s through ’90s with kid-friendly lyrics sung by young singers.
Zulla, who has been awarded a Grammy, an Emmy and a Telly, came up with the idea after his daughter, Kayley, was born.
“The seed of the idea came when another parent said to me, ‘Hey, you’re in the music business; why don’t you do something about this,’” Zulla said. “One of the things I found with my daughter was she liked to listen to cover songs with kids singing them. The only thing is, the CDs available focused on current day pop music. I thought, what if I made CDs of songs that parents actually liked. Songs they know and love, classic tunes you still hear on the radio and at bars, parties, etc., but recorded them with talented young singers.”
Busy working on other artist’s projects, Zulla put the idea on hold. He has made hit records with many stars, including Rod Stewart, Kelly Clarkson, Backstreet Boys, Jessica Simpson, Michael Bolton, Kenny G, Teddy Geiger, Clay Aiken, Natalie Imbruglia, Heather Headley and Diana Ross.
Then, while collaborating on a film project with Broadway veteran Matt Zarley, in 2015, the idea came up in discussion.
“I was telling Matt that finding enjoyable music to play for the kids can be quite challenging,” Zulla said. “There’s a lot of stuff out there, but most of it are things the parents don’t really want to listen to.” Zarley, who lives in L.A., said he was connected to the Broadway community and could help round up talent to record the project. “Rock-n-Stroller” was born.
To create the playlist, the duo combed through greatest hits lists from the ’60s through ’90s and came up with a long list of timeless classics that they figured most people knew and recognized.
“We then eliminated any songs that couldn’t be made ‘kid friendly’ with just a few minor lyric tweaks,” Zulla said. “We then took this revised list and set up an online survey through Survey Monkey and sent it out to as many parents and grandparents we could find to choose which songs they’d most like to hear recorded. The top 30 were divided up into the first three 10-song CDs.”
“Rock-n-Stroller Volume I,” which is currently available on Amazon and iTunes, features classic hits such as “Don’t Stop,” “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” “Get Into the Groove,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Start Me Up.” Clips can also be heard on rock-n-stroller.com.
Unlike Zulla’s typical projects, where he is hired by the record labels or TV networks to produce music, Zarley and he are working this project as an independent release.
“We are acting as the record label by creating and producing the project all by ourselves as well as setting up the distribution and marketing,” Zulla said.
Volume II will be released Sept. 8, on Amazon and iTunes. The duo is continuing to work on a whole series of albums. In addition to the cover song CDs, they are also producing other kid/parent-friendly music, including an upcoming lullaby album.