You’ve see them on Playschool—now you can hear them on a new album, Living on the Rock, just for kids. Colin Buchanan and Karen Pang talk to Faye Michelson about the fun they had making the album.
How did the two of you come to team up to make an album of children’s songs?
Karen: Colin and I met on the set of Playschool, so fun, play, creativity and laughter were languages we understood. Being God’s people cemented this bond. From there we performed together on a few projects and had a whole lot of fun, and always hoped we would join forces to create and perform a kids’ album.
Time passed and suggestions were put to both of us about making an album together. It made so much sense—of course I would sing and perform with Colin! How could I say no to a whole lot of fun, learning, crazy antics, laughter and the opportunity to bring God’s light, truth and love into kids’ lives? Awesome!
What age group is the album aimed at?
Karen: Initially the album was aimed at six to 10 years old. But, seriously? I listen to the album and think, ‘Wait a second...that song is speaking to me. With God’s strength I can stand on the rock of Christ and not worry about what other people think.’ Or I see younger kids having a blast as they sing the songs. So, whether you're five or 10 or 41...there’s something for everyone.
Why did you choose the theme of ‘God as the rock of our salvation’?
Colin: Jesus told a parable, which is a story that teaches truth. It’s about two builders. One builds his house on the sand, with no foundation. The other built his house on the rock. When the storms come and the rain beats on the sides of the houses, guess which house stands strong? Yes! The house on the rock! Jesus is the rock and we wanted an album full of songs that are about building our lives on Jesus, the rock.
Where do you find your inspiration for your lyrics and music?
Colin: Sometimes people ask me to put a Bible verse to music or sometimes I will come across a Bible verse and think, ‘That would be a good one to teach kids’, so I put it to music. Sometimes people ask me to write a song about God because they are running a kids’ club or Sunday school. A lot of the time I will be listening to a sermon, reading a book, or in a Bible study with my friends and I will hear something that I think would be great to put into a song. I seem to always have a half-finished song on the go!
What did you learn from each other during the creative process?
Karen: I have often thought of myself as an actress first then a singer. But Colin encouraged me to ‘own’ the singer in me and tell the story of the song. He helped me with simple, practical points such as how to breathe as well as important tips such as not complicating a song by loading it with your idea of how it should sound. It was a great thing to watch and learn as Colin worked to create the clearest and most practical understanding of something which can be so profound—the Bible.
Colin: I wanted to work with Karen and the team because I often work on my own and I wanted to see what God might teach me. It was great being in a new studio, with new musicians, learning to listen, make decisions together and come up with the best album we could. We had a lot of fun making the album, that’s for sure.
What did you enjoy most about your collaboration?
Karen: The laughter! We had many a moment where we both collapsed in a heap from laughing so hard. I also enjoyed the conversations we had in between the recording of songs where we would chat about Jesus’ work in our lives.
Colin: I enjoyed the songs where we were standing in the same room together and recording our bits at the same time. You can hear which songs they are, especially when one of us cracks up laughing!
What are the key ingredients that go into making a great kids’ song?
Colin: I think a kids’ song needs a simple idea and needs to be easy to sing. It doesn’t have to be funny, but I love writing funny kids songs. If it’s a Christian song, I think it needs to have a clear Bible truth at the heart of the song. It’s fun writing Bible memory verses, because God has already written the words! Maybe all I need to do is add a ‘bah-bah’ and a ‘hoo cha-cha’!
What do you think will appeal most to the kids about these songs?
Colin: I feel the fun and joy we experienced creating and recording these songs really comes through. The songs differ in style and feel, which cater to different tastes. Then there are songs which deal honestly with life’s challenges. I hope they appeal to those who are in need of comfort and the encouragement to keep on walking in the light and love of Jesus.
How does your music express your faith?
Karen: Music is such an amazing gift from God. It affects me and moves me in so many ways. Music has challenged me to speak of my faith in ways that have pushed me to be courageous. It has been my anchor, comfort, inspiration and my communicator when I had no words to give. In the same way, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to share God’s story and provide others with an anchor, comfort, joy and inspiration.
Colin: I believe that simple Bible truths are deep Bible truths. That’s why I enjoy writing music for children, because it makes you think hard about how to say things that are not only simple, but true. I think my songs should express what I believe, not just the things that I think other people should know.
Living on The Rock is RRP $19.99, available from emumusic.com