Do you have a Wiggles fan in the house? Or maybe your kids completely adored The Wiggles as preschoolers?
We’ve got a mixture in the house. My 12 year old enjoyed watching many of the original Wiggles DVDs which we slowly collected to have in the house. But the time my youngest son was born, we had about 6 DVDs in the house and soon discovered that he would be soothed when we popped in one of those DVDs with Greg Page as the lead singer. This less than stellar photo is him wearing my headset while I streamed a few songs for him to hear while we were in temporary housing without our collection.
Over time it grew to where he was ALL the Wiggles. While we were sad to see Greg had to leave the group, my son didn’t take long to accept Sam as his replacement. I still wish I’d had a video camera at the ready to capture the time he was cranky (around 4 to 6 months old) and while I was looking for a Wiggles DVD to put into the player his older brothers started singing some of the songs. Such a precious memory for this mama.
When I heard that Greg Page was back with a new Christmas CD, Here Comes Christmas, I was more than happy to do a review of it with the boys. Having the chance to also ask a few questions for a blog interview was icing on the cake.
Greg Page Here Comes Christmas
Here Comes Christmas is an all-ages album that includes standards like “Let It Snow,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” etc., plus three originals written by Greg Page and his Chicago-based producer, Alec Miller. Stylistically, Here Comes Christmas pays homage to old-school orchestral arrangements such as those made famous by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Dean Martin.
I will start off my saying I absolutely adore the holidays in large part for the music. However, I have heard my share of artists that try their hand at a new arrangement of a classic which just does not work. Greg is NOT one of those flops. Rather, I found the CD to be a wonderful blend of the familiar and a hint of change in the air. That being said, I did have one son comment that he prefers the original Dominick the Donkey without the kids voices. This musical mama, though, felt the opposite and thought the addition of children singing added a new layer to this song.
The music is definitely appealing to kids, yet it is not so child oriented that the adults want to leave the room. Being able to appeal across the ages is not always easily achieved, yet Greg seems to have hit the mark. And while he has his professional roots with The Wiggles, Here Comes Christmas does not sound like a remake of The Wiggles. Beyond the 22 Christmas songs, there are 4 bonus tracks from the new Butterscotch’s Playground included.
Find out how to order at Butterscotch’s Playground.
Brief Interview with Greg Page
I hope you’ll enjoy this rather brief interview with Greg Page. I was thrilled to have the chance to send him a few questions and was quite impressed at how quickly he got the answers back to me.
When you left the Wiggles back in 2006, beyond looking at how to manage your new medical diagnosis, what were you planning on doing career wise? Or did it take a while for things to settle down and for you to find direction?
It took a long while for me work things out! I was so affected by Orthostatic Intolerance at the time that I could not even see myself singing again – I got so dizzy from singing because of the blood pressure changes within my body when I would inhale and exhale. Now that I am diagnosed and know how to manage the condition properly, I think that my plans now involve helping other people bring their own creative ideas to life. If Yellow Entertainment can one day be a hub for creative people to come to and get help in how to produce their ideas and turn them into a reality, then I would love to be a part of that process for them.
What was it like to reunite with the other three original Wiggles and go on tour around the globe? Was it easy to just step back into your role as the Yellow Wiggle?
When I was asked to return to the Wiggles to take over the hole which was left by Sam, I was really unsure about how I would fit back in. It had been 5 years since I had performed and hadn’t really seen much of the guys in that time because of their commitments. When I did my first show though, it really was just like riding a bicycle – I got straight back on and seemed to fit right back in. It was a great experience to have been able to do that last year of show s with the guys.
Where did the idea for Butterscotch’s Playground come from?
Butterscotch’s Playground was created by Alec Miller and his wife Vera Nakovic. They created the concept for the brand some years ago and then asked me to get on board with them and help develop it further. We have been working away on it for a couple of years now, and have produced a DVD which contains 3 x 22 minute episodes. It’s available on iTunes and is fantastic! It takes children on adventures to various places and show them that the whole wide world is their playground to play in and explore. No matter where you go – there is always something new that you can learn!
For Here Comes Christmas , how did you select what songs to include and how to change up familiar ones with your own twist? A few of them are very familiar for Americans, but I know Australia isn’t a Winter Wonderland like we are up here in Alaska.
A lot of the songs are ones that I loved listening to as a child – my grandmother used to play a lot of great Christmas records at Christmas time when we would visit her – Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Perry Como. In Australia, it doesn’t snow here at Christmas time, but we did get a LOT of TV shows from North America broadcast on our networks here, so all the big Christmas specials which had a lot of these great songs on them are very familiar over here. Selecting the songs was actually a tough process because there are so MANY to choose from – maybe we ‘ll have to do CD number 2!
How old were you when the music ‘bug’ hit? Did you dream of being a musician as a kid or did it just sort of happen?
I was probably 3 or 4 years old I think. I don’t recall anything that made me take up an interest in music as such – I think it was just an intuitive thing – it’s funny, because my own little boy, Cameron is 4 now, and he is REALLY into music too – I think it’s definitely genetic – my Mum is a big music fan, even though she doesn’t play an instrument any more, she is passionate about music and enjoys it immensely.
Do you have any advice for kids who have an affinity for music or other performing arts?
Go with it! If you have the passion for music, don’t let it hide. Enjoy it, explore and experience it!