David Lee Roth’s Sister Rocks Lullabies With Rockabye Baby
If you want to continue rocking out even after your child is born, Rockabye Baby! has just what you are searching for. The brainchild of Lisa Roth, vice president and creative director of CMH Label Group, produces instrumental, kid-friendly albums of popular artists ranging from Metallica to Johnny Cash.
The sister of Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth founded the award-winning lullaby series, which is now approaching its 100th release, has sold over 1.8 million CDs and had 2 million digital track downloads, while garnering more than 650 million streams.
We caught up recently with Roth to chat about their latest release and the intricate process of transforming a popular song into bedtime material appropriate for little ones.
Photo Credit: Allison Roth
After being a nutritionist for 20 years, why did you decide to get involved in creating lullabies for kids?
Well [laughs], I didn’t stop being a nutritionist to create lullabies. This is actually my third career. After I was a nutritionist, my second career was being a segment producer for National Geographic and Discovery Channel because I thought it was a great way to learn about documentaries, which I love. A friend introduced me to the label I am working for now. I was actually on my way to a baby shower for a friend and I couldn’t find an adult-friendly music gift, so I went back to the label and said to my boss, “We should create a music series for the adult as well as their babies.” At the time, our art director, Valerie Aiello, presented the concept Lullabies of Metallica, which was just what I was thinking.
You just came out with the Lullaby Renditions of Snoop Dogg. Tell us about this latest project.
I’m a huge fan of Snoop. We always have a release scheduled a year in advance, so we have been planning this one for a while.
To date, you have almost 100 releases and 600 million streams, including renditions from Bob Marley to Adele. Did you ever think Rockabye Baby would be such a success?
No, I didn’t think about it at all. I said to the owner that we had to get into music for babies with a sense of humor that adults would love. It started creative conversations like “Baby’s First Sex Pistols” and now we are coming up on our 100th release. We were hoping to provide something calming and entertaining during a stressful time while creating the bridge between who the parents were before they were parents to who they are now.
Can you walk us through the process of transforming a popular song into a lullaby?
Sure, we come up with our release schedule a year in advance. We keep a close eye on what social media is saying. We poll people in our company who are music lovers of all genres and pull it all together and pick six to eight artists each year. If there’s an amazing song out there, we consider that. We have three producers we work with and distribute an album and track list. We assign an artist and track list and they deconstruct each song to put together with our Rockabye Baby palette. They send back the first draft to me and my listening partner and this goes on three, five, 10 or 12 times until it’s perfect. The goal is to create something very sweet that retains the original intention of the artist.
Photo Credit: Rockabye Baby!
When you created the rock turned baby friendly music brand, did you have newborns or new parents who loved rock music in mind?
That’s a great question because I had a very specific intent and that was the adult – the mother, father, aunts, uncles and grandparents. They were all important that the music speak to because music is universal. Hopefully, it will entertain the adult and baby and make them both happy.
How do you go about deciding which artists you think would make a great lullaby?
We choose classic artists that are as popular as they are iconic and some that we love. We try to have a nice cross section of artists. We have a huge range, including Latin, rock, pop, hip hop and country. We try to offer very well known artists as well as some lesser known ones as well.
Which project has been your favorite so far?
That’s a hard one. Since we are talking about babies, they are all my babies, even the most difficult artist to translate is the most gratifying. I love everything about Snoop Dogg and have been a huge fan of his work over the years. I love everything about the package that we have for this release. We take a lot of pride in our artwork as well.
You produce about eight albums each year. What’s in store for 2020?
We are working up to our anniversary, but I will tell you our next release is Ed Sheeran. Then we will have another one, and the third one will be our 100th release, which is going to be very special, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Photo Credit: Earl Gibson