Fern is a grown-up who never grew up and it shows---in the best possible way---through her music.
Her lively, toe-tapping melodies captivate the young and the young-at-heart by proving the things we all know to be true: teddy-bears are essential, aliens are real (and they're friendly!), the earth is a magical place, and, sometimes, the only pick-me-up we need is a little Irish jig.
USA Today recognized her talent when they recommended her Christmas album nationwide; children showed their affinity for her by requesting her songs so many times that she became one of the most requested artists on "The Playground," a well-known children's radio program on the Boston station WERS; Wireless Flash News was inspired to feature her from coast to coast; and her charisma even persuaded Virgin Mobile to present her as the face of their 2004 ad campaign.
A former dancer, pianist, and preschool director, Fern has drawn on her experiences and her degrees in education and music to develop original songs, stories, and interactive exercises that simultaneously teach and entertain children. In addition to performing live throughout New England, Fern has six CDs on the market: "Kids! Dance With Fern!" " Kids! Christmas! Fern!" "Kids! Off To Dreamland With Fern!" "Fern, The Stars & the Planets!" "Hopping Into Easter With Fern" and "Angels Are Out With You Today".
It should come as no surprise, then, that Fern's best friend is a 6-foot-tall chipmunk named Charlie-her costume-character companion during stage performances. In Fern's own words, when she's on stage with Charlie she is "in her element."
How do you describe your music to people?
I am a high-energy mix of Shari Lewis and Raffi, sparking kids' imaginations and making them laugh--all wrapped up with a hug!
Each of my CDs has a theme and the music is enjoyable to both adults and children. My goal has always been to write music that teaches children to love one another, the Earth's creatures and the planet Earth.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
As an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Director, I realized very quickly that children learn and remember things best when any topic is put to music. As a result, I started writing songs about different lessons I was teaching or about themes I wanted to share with the children. Before I knew it, I had written quite a bit of material. After my own 3 children were born I continued writing songs for them to enjoy. One day while teaching music & movement to a group of preschoolers, one of the teachers who was listening said, "Hey Fern, why don't you make your own CD? You have so many wonderful songs?" That got me thinking---and so I did!
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
My favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is to sing to young children and watch them smile. Then, at the end of any teaching session or performance, the absolute best part is having the children run up to me and give me hugs! It warms my heart to have children share their love with such wholehearted enthusiasm! In my opinion, I have the best job in the whole world--making children happy through music!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
I would say I have TWO biggest challenges. Writing the music, teaching it and performing it are easy!! The first challenge is time management. I have 30 piano students, am the contracted music teacher at 9 different preschools and Park & Recreation Departments, AND I do concerts and birthday parties. On top of that, I am the mother of 3 children. That requires a lot of organizational skills. I am pretty good at that, but it still can be challenging.
My second biggest challenge is marketing myself. That is why I have Ariel Publicity helping me out. Thank goodness for Ariel and her team! I frequently forget to think "marketing" when I'm working. I see the children's faces, I connect with them and I am focused on reaching their hearts. I just forget to announce "Hey, I have 6 CDs on the market, please go to www.FernsMusicForKids.com and give your child the gift of music!" Plus, by the end of a long day, I am very tired and sitting down to work a little more on cyber marketing can be difficult. So, my two challenges are time management & marketing! (However, I am determined to get better at it!)
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
This is funny. When I was little, I used to listen to music constantly! I would ride on my own special rocking horse for hours, rocking to all kinds of music and imagining myself on a stage singing. However, I also loved to pretend being a teacher. Then I got into dancing and decided I was going to become a professional ballet dancer. I was accidentally dropped while doing a dancing lift and tore the cartilage in my knee. That ended the dream of professional dancing. As a result, I went back to the idea of being a teacher. I decided to attend college where I majored in Early Childhood Education and I minored in Music Education. Even at that point, I didn't realize my career would ultimately take me onto the stage. However, as I mentioned earlier, my love of music (I started taking music lessons at age 9 and I play several instruments) guided me into writing songs to teach. All of these dreams from my youth have come together so that now I get to sing my music on stage, while working with children and dancing with a 6 foot tall costume character chipmunk named Charlie! I certainly never imagined THAT when I was young! I ended up with the best of all my dreams coming true!
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I believe all musicians are impacted by community, people in their lives and by their culture. I grew up a country girl in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. I spent many happy hours on my Grandmother's farm, had my own cow, and loved animals, just like my Grandmother. (In fact, my song "Bedtime On The Farm" was written in memory of my Grandmother. It can be found on my "Kids! Off To Dreamland With Fern" CD.) My Mother loved gardening, nature, painting, dancing and the Holidays very much. Through her love and guidance I really learned how to enjoy life and do my best at whatever I chose to do. That was her rule! My parents taught me an intense work ethic to always try hard, do your best and complete what you started. There was no such thing as failure as long as you did not fail to try again! All of those pieces came together to teach me about love, hard work, animals, caring, etc. My Mom also loved all sorts of music, so I grew up with music playing constantly. Ballet dancing was part of my life, but my country upbringing also found me at many square dances, agricultural fairs, etc. That was part of my culture. When you put it all together you find hard work, caring, imagination, joy and a deep appreciation of the beautiful parts of nature we all share on this Earth. You will hear all of those things weaved throughout my music.
What other artists out there do you love?
From days gone by I love Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and Karen Carpenter. I enjoy Anne Murray, Garth Brooks, Jewel, Shania Twain and Dolly Parton. I even thoroughly enjoy some of Lady Gaga's songs. I really do like most all types of music and I especially like bluegrass banjo picking. Awesome!
What does your future hold?
I see my future as being a household name for children's music where parents can trust to purchase my CDs and know that the music they will hear will be wholesome and enjoyable for their children. I also see myself not only continuing to provide beautiful music, but also providing children's picture books with positive messages and gorgeous art that will touch and uplift their souls.