Kids music

Vancouver Treebees aim to be the next hottest group in children’s music


My Little Pony music composer Daniel Ingram wants to entertain children ages 0-5 with his new project, the Treebees.

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There’s a new group in town ready to rock preschoolers and parents alike: Meet the bees.

The pastel-hued singing puppet trio of Millie, Timber and Zo released their debut double album, The Treebees One and Two: Kids Songs for the Whole Family, on all major streaming services on March 1. -real classics that might surprise listeners.

Some of the record’s promising future hits include the hopping Do the Kangaroo Hop, the original swing I’m a Dinosaur and the flourishing ballad Dandelion. One of the more unusual covers is the Monty Python satirical Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

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The Treebees are the creation of Vancouver songwriter Daniel Ingram. While it may not be a household name, the composer’s music has made its mark on audiences everywhere, earning him five Emmy nominations and numerous other awards. As the composer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, his music became the soundtrack for the entire adult male Bronie phenomenon. Ingram also wrote all the songs for the hit shows Equestria Girls and many more. Hollywood stars like Emily Blunt, Zoey Saldana, Kristin Chenoweth and even Weird Al Yankovic have recorded her songs.

Necessity was the mother of the invention of the Bees.

As the father of a young son Eizo, Ingram couldn’t stand most of the music available to children and wanted to write something that wouldn’t drive parents crazy. The Treebees press release notes the need for quality tyke tunes so that no one has to hear Baby Shark a few million times again.

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“Songs and music can speak to people of all ages, and I’ve certainly seen children’s music reach out to adults who have become fans with Bronie’s giant fan community that grew up around My Little Pony: Friendship is magic, but usually there are changes. in the sophistication of the message and the way it is portrayed for specific ages. Ingram said.

“For the very young audience of zero to five years old that Treebees is targeting, there is a lot of rehearsals and Wheels on the Bus type songs. But there is no reason why this age group should not respond to classical music or adult rock and pop as well.

Daniel Ingram and his son Eizo.  Daniel is a composer from Vancouver who worked on My Little Pony and the Treebees.
Daniel Ingram and his son Eizo. Daniel is a composer from Vancouver who worked on My Little Pony and the Treebees. Photo by Bobo Zhao Photography /PNG

Finding the perfect place where you make children’s music to appeal to the target population and their caretakers, Ingram has immersed himself in writing original material as well as organizing enduring family favorites such as You are My Sunshine.

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The project was recorded and designed in his home studio with an assortment of local professionals providing the voices of the characters. At first, he was not sure that it was even possible to offer compositions that bridge the gap between appealing to this very young demo while not making their minds lose their minds.

“I find writing for this age group, which I had never written about before I had an 18 month old child, is more difficult in many ways than writing for older children,” said he declared. “There are some key elements missing in most of what I was hearing from this music for this age group and I was sure there were things we could add to improve the parent experience. My real goal was to help them remember the time they spent in the car with their children as fun rather than enduring.

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As anyone who’s ever started AC / DC and put on an air guitar contest with a kid in the crib can attest, some of the best bonding moments happen in music. It is a habit that many continue to live their entire lives. Ingram’s idea of ​​mixing 50 percent originals with 50 percent classics on the album’s release had this reality in mind.

“The idea of ​​the mix was because I thought we could make really unique versions of these classics to connect the generations through things like familiar nursery rhymes,” he said. “Parents want to sing to their children the same songs that were sung to them when they were children, which is a powerful thing. I’m just trying to put a new twist on it and in some cases update the lyrics to be more appropriate for a contemporary audience.

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An example is the version of You are My Sunshine.

“It’s a beautiful song but as it progresses in the original version it gets pretty heavy with lyrics about not taking that sun off and so on,” he said. declared. “So I created a new piece of music for the middle with a different melody and lyrics that seemed more consistent with the first verse. Then I repeat this first verse melody again.

Treebees One and Two are the starting point of the project. Covering about two hours of music, the composer estimates that they provide good coverage for activities ranging from car trips to playing time. Two more albums are planned with a target of 100 songs by the end of 2021.

Michael Vogel, the co-writer and screenwriter and animation producer of My Little Pony the Movie, has no doubts about Ingram’s ability to achieve these lofty goals. Given the composer’s background, Vogel believes the Treebees will be successful.

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“I was working at Hasbro reading a Transformers script the first time I heard his music come out of another office, and I had to get up and go find out what it was because it was so good. “said Vogel. “It was my first introduction to Daniel’s work and I immediately thought the music was much better than what you would normally expect from a children’s show. Everything about Pony was like that, but as it continued the songs played a very big part of the brand’s overall success.

Vogel continued to employ Ingram on all kinds of shows, including My Littlest Pet Shop, where he said they would pitch requests for everything from country and western twangs to hitting rockers in Ingram.

“Each time he just came up with another great song,” Vogel said. “After moving from the executive side to the creative side, the first thing I did was an episode of Pony that had six songs and I wrote the lyrics and Daniel did the music. The animation is going crazy right now and Daniel and I are currently working together on a new show in Vancouver.

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Ingram echoes Vogel’s point about being busy. After more than two decades of working in the booming business climate of Hollywood North, the composer is accustomed to the demands of the job.

“I currently have 150 song orders, 13 of which this week alone, including a new Strawberry Shortcake theme,” Ingram said. “You’re hired as an entrepreneur, and it all depends on what the show asks for, whether it’s 40 songs for an entire show or just one song.

“At the end of the day, they own this music as a publisher and that was another reason to make the Treebees. Doing something that I could be really proud of and at the end of the day owning some of my own songs for once seemed like a good idea.

YouTube is the largest search engine for children’s music today, and it’s a music video platform too. For Ingram, the next step for the Treebees is to create individual videos corresponding to each of the songs.

Currently, the music is released with the character illustration by former My Little Pony storyboard supervisor Doron Meir, who also co-designed the Treebees characters. These will be the animated puppets in the videos shot in Vancouver.

Ingram says a three-year plan is in place for the Treebees to take root in the children’s music market.

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