The mere mention of a children’s music album initiates an eye roll from the majority of the music-buying public, but Perry and Gilbert worked hard to create an album that parents can enjoy and one that doesn’t pander to kids.
Perry says that over the years, many friends have asked her to record a children’s album. “They would tell me they have to listen to the most horrible and generic stuff. They said, ‘I can’t stand it and it gets all stuck in your head’ and they are all tortured,” the singer and songwriter told Billboard.
So Perry took her usual unorthodox approach to creating the album. “I’m not a children’s songwriter, I’m not in that world,” she explains. “We didn’t study the albums, I only know how to be me, and there is this very whimsical, adventurous way about me that a lot of people don’t know.”
Perry’s eccentric and adventurous style is represented well on tracks like “Dreambot,” the funk-infused “Starship,” the haunting “Pirate Ghosts” and “Road Trip,” which she says expresses “who I am and what I am trying to find in my life and career.”
The idea for a children’s album was born after the birth of the couple’s son, Rhodes Emilio Gilbert, back in February. Gilbert also has two older children from a previous relationship, 10-year old Levi and 8-year old Sawyer.
Gilbert says Perry has always been interested in doing a children’s album but had no reason to record one until she had a family. “She’s a musician and takes inspiration from what’s going on in her life, so these pieces started showing up… and it started to become this family project, this sweet, beautiful experience,” Gilbert says.
Deer Sounds’ self-titled debut album is truly a family affair, with Gilbert’s older children and the couple’s 6-month-old son pitching in by writing lyrics, singing and even creating the artwork for the liner notes. “My brother’s daughter and granddaughter are singing on the album, and some other friends of ours, their kids came down and sang,” Perry shares. “So we really tried to make it a family project, not just with our immediate family but with our family, our friends… it just became this really cool project.”
The 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee adds that there was a certain reckless abandon to creating this music. “This album for me has done so many things. It has reminded me of where I want to be in my career. I lost track. I started to care too much about what people were saying and thinking and wanting.” She continues, “When I did this, I was so free — literally I think it was written and recorded in three weeks. I mixed it in four days. It was very pure, not one thought of, ‘Oh, is anyone going to like this?’ or ‘maybe I should edit myself here.’ It was just free.”
Says Perry, “I have some musical snobs as friends, and all of them have said, ‘This is my favorite thing you’ve ever done.'”
The 50-year-old singer and songwriter responsible for hits from the likes of Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Alicia Keys and Gwen Stefani, just to name a few, has high expectations for Deer Sounds. “We’re gonna win a Grammy. I just know it!”
Gilbert chimes in, “I’m a little more humble maybe… I hope it does.”
Perry continues, “There’s nothing egotistical about it. It’s a great album, and we’re going to win a Grammy.”
Deer Sounds will release their debut album on Friday. Fans who preorder the effort will get an autographed copy of the CD. For more on Deer Sounds head to their website.