and the not ready for naptime players
#1 Children’s CD of the Year –
Fids and Kamily Poll
in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013
Winner of TEN
National Parenting Publications
(NAPPA) Gold Awards
TEN Parents’ Choice
Not Naptime for Parents’ Choice
25 Best Children’s CDs
of the Past 25 Years
For concert inquiries please contact:
Sarah McCarthy Dandelion Artists firstname.lastname@example.org 818.533.1655
His latest GRAMMY® Nominated album, Wild Life, is his 14th album for families and his most personal project yet. Joined by an eclectic group of instrumentalists including pianist Lisa Kaplan (Eighth Blackbird) baroque cellist Anna Steinhoff, percussionist Gerald Dowd (Robbie Fulks), and vocalist Nora O’Connor (Flat Five, the Decemberists), Wild Life was inspired by the birth of Roberts’ first child. It includes songs about anticipation, uncertainty, unconditional love and advice for a life well-lived. The lyrics are honest and fresh with a hint of darkness that speaks not only to the journey of parenthood but the vast gamut of the human experience. The sounds range from finger-plucked ukulele to pulsing flutes and moving bass lines with ethereal touches of piano. His wife Anna Steinhoff’s pizzicato cello is used in lieu of bass at most opportunities. This album evokes the wonder of what poet Mary Oliver called this “one wild and precious life.”
The final track, “Wild Life,” is written by Justin’s longtime friend Craig Wright; a playwright, screenwriter and producer. Wright is known most widely his work on Six Feet Under, Lost and more recently as creator and executive producer of Greenleaf on the OWN Network.
Roberts began his musical career in the 1990s, performing in the Minneapolis-based indie-rock band Pimentos for Gus. He decided to “moonlight” as a Montessori preschool teacher, and it wasn’t long before Justin started writing and singing songs for a new generation of fans: his students. The kids immediately responded and inspired Justin to record some of his new songs and send them out to a few friends for Christmas. One of the gift recipients was Liam Davis, a college pal and music producer, who suggested that they record the songs professionally.
In 1997, Justin released his first album for families, Great Big Sun, and the critics took note. Justin’s music was soon being compared to everyone from Elvis Costello and Fountains of Wayne to Paul Simon, ELO and Nick Lowe. So, Justin hit the road full time to do what he loves most: playing music for appreciative crowds. Kiddie mosh pits broke out, word spread and shows started selling out.
Justin has performed in front of millions of people on The Today Show, he’s been featured on Nick Jr. TV, and his song “Get Me Some Glasses” was on a World Series broadcast. He’s received four GRAMMY nominations, for Jungle Gym in 2010, Recess in 2013, and Lemonade in 2017, and Wild Life in 2020.
Recent appearances include performances at NYC’s New Victory Theater, DC’s Wolf Trap, LA’s Getty Museum, Seattle’s Moore Theater, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Chicago’s Ravinia.
Roberts has also had success in the musical theater world. In 2014, Roberts wrote a musical based on Hansel and Gretel with Ernie Nolan for Emerald City Theater (Chicago) which was restaged by the Soraya Performing Arts Center (Los Angeles) and toured across the US in 2018. Roberts co-produced a cast recording of that show.
Roberts also created a musical for the New Victory Theater in NYC entitled the “Mysterious Hat” that featured his band, the Not Ready for Naptime Players, puppets and songs from his catalog. Roberts is currently working on a new musical with Ernie Nolan for Nashville Children’s Theater.
In 2020, Roberts was a visiting artist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and helped create an end-of-the-school year video performance of his song “School’s Out (Tall Buildings)” and an excerpt from Beethoven’s 6th Symphony with members of the CSO and singers Meagan McNeal (The Voice), and Leah Dexter. Roberts wrote the script and did scoring and sound design for the video.
Roberts is also an accomplished picture book author for Putnam Press. The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade (illustrated by Christian Robinson) received the Horace Mann Upstander Award and was a finalist for the E.B. White Read-A-Loud Award. His second book, The Great Henry Hopendower (illustrated by Deborah Hocking) was released in 2017 and two more books are on their way.
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