We all know and love Sylvia from her hits, ‘Nobody’ and ‘Snapshot’ but tomorrow, ‘Twos-day’, 2/22/22, the talented artist will be releasing an album perfect for our children. The concept album, ‘Nature Child-A Dreamer’s Journey’ is not just for kids, but adults and the dreamers of any age.
Nature Child-A Dreamer’s Journey has been in the works for awhile but after hearing the album, it truly makes the wait worth the while. This album to me is one that brings relaxation and a calmness to an adult’s hectic life. For kids, the messages are all so positive: follow your heart, be yourself, dream despite the challenges. In a world that seems to be filled with negativity, this album accentuates the positive and helps build up children within their own mind.
“Dreaming our dreams and endeavoring to LIVE them brings us to a deeper knowing of who we are,” says Sylvia. “Our dreams are calling to us even as we are looking for them, and the most effective dreaming is playful and alive! This album was written and recorded with a sense of play and joy. My own dream is that the music will embolden, delight, and encourage listeners of all ages to keep dreaming, despite any challenges they may meet along the way.”
Nature Child – A Dreamer’s Journey will be available starting February 22, 2022 at major digital retailers, with physical CDs available through Amazon and Bandcamp.
I had the opportunity to ask Sylvia a few questions about this new album’s process and the conversation follows below.
Q: After a long career in the country music field, what was the inspiration to write and record an album of music for children and families?
A: The inspiration to create this music began in the late 1980’s. I was touring almost constantly during that time and was surprised to see so many kids coming to my concerts! It was wonderful! Nearly every night, lots of young children would be standing at the front of the stage singing along with my songs and even sometimes had little dance moves worked up! It was just precious! Cut to the late 1980’s — I decided to take a much needed break to rest from the constant motion of road life and planted myself back home in Nashville. Once I settled myself down, I turned my focus to songwriting. I was so fortunate to have had big records in the country music field like “Drifter,” “Tumbleweed,” and “Snapshot.” When “Nobody” crossed over into Billboard’s Top 100 Singles Chart, I was reaching a much broader audience and that’s when the kids really started showing up in mass. I was looking back and processing all of this when I realized — I want to write songs that expresses what my heart truly wants to say to these kids! I was on a mission to write an album of music for them. I called my friend and amazing songwriter Verlon Thompson to ask if he would write this project with me. He enthusiastically said yes, and we proceeded to write 6 of the 12 songs that are now on “Nature Child.” Then, my life took off in new directions, and for many different reasons, I didn’t begin recording this album until 2019! Here we are in 2022, and I honestly think this music is more relevant today than it was when the idea was first born!
Q: This is a concept album, which is kind of rare these days. In this age of singles, why a concept album?
A: I didn’t know at the beginning that this was going to be a concept record. It wasn’t until we had completed writing and recording all 12 songs that it became evident. When making an album, I allow it be what it wants to be. I let the album take shape as each song is written and recorded. Then, I look at the project as a whole. In this case, the central themes were about dreaming your dreams in spite of the challenges, following your heart, and discovering ‘who you truly are” all along the way. These threads run through all of the songs though it wasn’t planned ahead of time to be that way. Though each song stands on its own, you can also have an immersive experience of letting the music take you on a journey if you listen in one sitting. The sequence of the songs fell into place immediately which I’ve never experienced before in sequencing an album. There was a strong and clear sense that the order of the songs was important, and this clarity led me to understand that this album takes you on a journey. It wasn’t just a collection of 12 songs, as most albums are — thus the subtitle: A Dreamer’s Journey. To deepen the concept, John Mock and I will be creating a Storybook Video for each song on the album. We plan to create one Storybook Video per month for 12 months. The music wants to also be in a video storybook! Who knew? We’re just following the muse!
Q: What is the songwriting process like for you? Could you share the writing process of a song on Nature Child?
A: Writing these songs was absolutely magical! The music came first before a word was written with almost every song. John Mock, my friend and co-producer, and I wrote 4 of the songs while in the middle of the project in 2020. John would write a piece of music first and would make a simple iPhone demo for me playing the music on guitar. John is an exquisite composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist and writes the most beautiful music! The way he writes resonates so deeply with me! John and I have worked together doing concerts and recording my independent records since 1991 — 32 years! We are so in-sync musically! I believe the depth of our friendship shows up in the music and takes it to a rare place! Within the week of completing the lyrics for the song, “Nature Child,” John and I recorded it. I was so excited to sing it! The writing of the lyrics was pretty much a stream of consciousness experience. I went on the journey that you’ll go on when you listen! I just wrote down what I saw in my mind’s eye. I had no idea where the song was going or what it was about except the sense it would take place out in nature. When the third verse appeared — it was a surprise to me! I had no idea that would happen! (You’ll have to listen to know what I’m talking about, tee-hee!) When the whole album was recorded, I stepped back to see if there was a line or a song title that would be fitting as a title for the whole album. I chose “Nature Child — A Dreamer’s Journey” because of the connection between discovering your ‘true nature’ by following your dreams and experiencing yourself as a part of Nature itself — the birds, the trees, the creatures of the earth, the air, the oceans. When you drop down into your true nature, you know yourself as inseparable from Mother Nature.
Q:Will you be touring with this album? If so, what types of venues will you be playing?
A: Yes! As soon as the virus retreats and we feel safe gathering in groups again, I plan to be singing for children and families! I’m imagining playing intimate settings like libraries, schools, outdoor settings and small theaters. And, this music lends itself so beautifully to symphony concerts!
Q:What would you most like our audience to know about you and about Nature Child?
A: Remember when you were a kid and would play an album you loved over and over again? Remember what it was like to get lost in the music, letting it take you deeply into your imagination for hours on end? It’s my dream that this album will be like that for kids and for their parents and grandparents — that it will awaken the childlike dreamer that lives within each of us! We are so much more powerful to create than we have ever dared to imagine!
Q: Looking ahead, what’s on the horizon? Will you do more creative work for children and families?
A: I live my life much like I write songs. I wake up each day and wonder, ‘what wants to happen today’? When the idea for this album was born, I thought I’d write it and record it within a year. Thirty-four years later I’m learning to ‘be here now’ and let life unfold. I do hope to continue singing, writing, recording, but I’m open to any surprises life may hold for me, too! I wouldn’t want my plans to get in the way of a beautiful surprise!
NATURE CHILD – A DREAMER’S JOURNEY TRACK LIST:
Avalon – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson
Imagination – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson
Every Time A Train Goes By – Music – John Mock, Lyrics – Sylvia Hutton and Thom Schuyler
Don’t Be Afraid To Dream – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson
If I Only Had Wings – Sylvia Hutton and Craig Bickhardt
Nature Child – Music – John Mock, Lyrics – Sylvia Hutton
Dancing Over An Emerald Isle – Music – John Mock, Lyrics – Sylvia Hutton
Home Is – Music – John Mock, Lyrics – Sylvia Hutton
My Best Friend – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson
Good Night, Sleep Tight My Little One – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson
(Hey, Hey, Hey) It’s A New Day – Music – John Mock, Lyrics – Sylvia Hutton
I Love You For Who You Are – Sylvia Hutton and Verlon Thompson