Two of the five Grammy nominees this year for Best Children’s Album are from the Chicago area.
For Justin Roberts, it’s his fifth nomination. And for the duo Wendy and DB, it’s their first.
WTTW News met with the musicians to find out more about making music for a young audience – with a possible Grammy Award in the balance.
“I kind of accidentally fell into this because I was playing in a band called Pimentos for Gus in Minneapolis in the early ‘90s and started working at a preschool, started writing songs for kids, but never thought I’d be a children’s musician …” said Justin Roberts. “But I had a knack for writing about kids’ lives and I had a lot of memories of my own childhood that seemed to come out naturally.”
His sixteenth album, “Space Cadet,” earned Roberts another Grammy nomination.
“This is my fifth nomination, which is crazy and unexpected but I spent a lot of time working on this record and just super-excited to see it acknowledged,” he said.
Wendy and DB are 10 years into their musical partnership.
“We’ve had ups and downs just like everybody, but we weathered the whole thing so, and we work well together,” Wendy Morgan said. “I love singing with DB and I love working with him, and I think people feel that when they come out to a live show they can feel it.”
The pair say their partnership features a healthy amount of collaboration when it comes to the music and production.
“We seem to make really good decisions with each other,” said Daryl Boggs.
Their fifth record, “Into the Little Blue House,” is a blues album for kids.
Fellow nominee Roberts connected them with a producer.
Veteran producer Michael Freeman enlisted top talent like Billy Branch and Ivy Ford and taught Wendy and DB a lesson: don’t be afraid to ask questions.
“Ask the questions, ask the questions,” Morgan said. “You have to ask questions.”
Roberts said the entire lineup for this year’s nominees makes for a great group.
“It’s a cliché to say it’s an honor to be nominated, but it is because you know that enough of your peers cared enough about your record to vote for you so I’m good with that,” Roberts said.
The Grammys Awards are set to take place Feb. 6.
Note: This article will be updated with video.