LaLaLand: (noun) A state of mind characterised by unrealistic expectations or a lack of seriousness!
Just over a month ago, on Christmas day, I watched my sister’s two kids, Cameron 3 and Megan barely 1, engulfed around the Christmas tree by a mountain of toys, gadgets and glittering noisy stuff…, which, of course, Father Christmas brought them.
Gobsmacked at the technology these tiny toddlers have access to, I gasped in astonishment at the skill with which they master their digital toys without a whim or a frown… whilst barely stable on their feet.
Within minutes, Cameron switched on his new NintendoDS and showed me how to make the pixellated puppy dance… Dexterity, nor I or my ever-ready operated soft toy, would have been able to achieve when I was his age.
Yet, much as the experience was endearing, I couldn’t help but think: My-oh-my, how things have changed!
There’s no refuting the fact that we all need to adapt to changing times and technological advances, but, in the interest of progress, have we not lost something precious? Worst still, are we not denying our children the opportunity to playfully apply their own imaginations without the help of computer games, Pixar films and extravagant toys?
Heidi Hutchence, the creative genius behind LaLaLand, must’ve thought about these questions long and hard before she gave life to the idea of a weekly inter-active music group for children under the age of 4, back in 2007.
Now a thriving little business, LaLaLand is based on the premise that everyone enjoys music, and applying one’s imagination with reckless abandon is a prerequisite for happy living.
As Heidi puts it: ‘Since I was a little girl, my dream was to dress up and have concerts. So that’s what I do!’
In fact, this amazing young woman’s only flaw is that she’s selling herself a bit short, because she does a lot more than dressing up and putting on concerts. With her original music and beautiful songs she inspires children to dream and express their individuality, to laugh and enjoy their childhood through this universal medium… and since her music is so accessible she introduces different styles of music to her young audience with the talent and comfort of a truly diverse artist.
Whilst children’s music is hardly everybody’s cup of tea, Heidi’s vocal ability, quirky lyrics and musical ingenuity bridges this gap, leaving every parent thanking their lucky stars. Both her albums are extremely popular among young and old, to the extent that LaLaLand has given life to its own musical genre: ‘family pop’ — music the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age… bringing an end to arduous road trips with ‘Gu-gu-ga-ga’ tunes blaring from the backseat… Instead what LaLaLand offers is beautifully composed, happy and feel-good songs that will make everyone smile!
Even though I don’t have children, I never thought I’d see the day that my iTunes library will proudly boast my two new-found favourite albums, ‘Welcome to LaLaLand’ and ‘LaLaLanding’ , next to David Bowie and Kanye West… ready to be shuffled whenever the need calls for me to shake my booty!
Heidi’s motto on life is: Enjoy Life! Live with passion and follow your dream, even if you have to swim upstream. She’s a die-hard individual, who believes one must always stand out in the crowd — ready to do your own thing… and not to blend in.
How does this philosophy work for her?
Well, the proof is in the pudding… One only needs to look at what she has accomplished since starting LaLaLand. Her business is in full-force and while they’re aiming for the stars, it’s safe to say they’ve already passed the moon… a big shiny, yellow, smiling one that is!
The music video for “Music in You”, from the album Welcome to LaLaLand, has recently been signed to an American children’s television channel… and the “LaLaLanding” video, directed by Andy Gill, is certainly destined to make even more waves… Not too shabby if you consider that both videos were created in a dilapidated garage with a few empty cereal boxes, some fabric, a bit of paint, a lot of passion and a shed-load of I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N!
The future looks bright with Heidi’s plans to invest more time working with small groups of children in nurseries since this is the environment from which she taps most of her inspiration. For her, the way children respond to her music is the greatest reward of all. Apart from that, another video is in the pipeline as well as an interactive DVD and eventually a LaLaLand television show… Who knows, with a bit of luck and encouragement, those of us older than 4 may even be blessed with the release of a more ‘mature album’ in the not so distant future.
Evidently, much as we must make room for flat-screens, iPads and ridiculously small pocket-sized digital thingamajigs, LaLaLand is living proof that with enough love, dedication, originality, imagination and perseverance anyone can make their mark, no matter who they are.
Now if that isn’t an inspiration, I don’t know what is!
If you want to stay in touch with what’s happening in the wonderful world of LaLaLand, you can visit their website here, or hook-up with them on Facebook… become a fan, it’s the coolest thing you’ll do today!
Image 1: LaLaLanding – Album Cover – courtesy of LaLaLand
Image 2: Heidi Hutchence – Live in Concert
Video 1: LaLaLanding – Performed by Heidi Hutchence, Directed by Andy Gill
Video 2: Music in You – Performed by Heidi Hutchence, Directed by Donovan Hutchence
Text: FR Lubbe