Justin Roberts (musician)
Justin Roberts performing November 2007
|Genres||Alternative rock, pop punk, children's music|
Justin Roberts is a Chicago-based American singer-songwriter of children’s music. He performs with the Not Ready for Naptime Players. His album Jungle Gym was nominated in the "Best Musical Album for Children" category at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.
Roberts attended Kenyon College at Gambier, Ohio, where he was a member of the Kokosingers, the college’s male a cappella group. He began his music career in the Minneapolis-based indie-rock band Pimentos for Gus, of which he was a founding member. Pimentos for Gus released three separate albums in the 1990s. Roberts decided to moonlight (during the day) as a Montessori preschool teacher. It wasn’t long before Justin began writing and singing songs for a new generation of fans: his students. The kids immediately responded and inspired Justin to record some of his new songs and send them out to a few friends for Christmas. One of the gift recipients was Liam Davis, a college pal and music producer, who suggested that they record the songs professionally
In 1998, Justin released his first CD, Great Big Sun, and the critics took note. Justin’s music was soon being compared to everyone from Elvis Costello and Fountains of Wayne to Paul Simon, Electric Light Orchestra and Nick Lowe. By 2001, Justin was playing music full-time to appreciative crowds. Word spread and shows started selling out. He has played at such renowned venues and festivals as NYC’s Symphony Space, DC’s National Geographic Live, LA’s Getty Museum, Seattle’s Moore Theater, Lollapalooza and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival.
- Great Big Sun (1998)
- Bright Becomes Blue (1999)
- Yellow Bus (2001)
- Not Naptime (2003)
- Way Out (2004)
- Why Not Sea Monsters? Songs From The New Testament (2005)
- Why Not Sea Monsters? Songs From The Hebrew Scriptures (2005)
- Meltdown! (2006)
- Pop Fly (2008)
- Jungle Gym (2010)
- Lullaby (2012)
- Recess (2013)
Awards and acknowledgements
Roberts is the winner of seven National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Gold Awards, and eight Parents' Choice Gold Awards.
Not Naptime was included in the Parents' Choice list of the 25 best children's CDs of the past 25 years, and Jungle Gym was MetroKids' top children's CD of 2010. Meltdown, Pop Fly and Jungle Gym were each chosen as the "Number One Children's CD of the Year" by Fids and Kamily, and Roberts' albums have been among Amazon's "Top 10 Children's CDs of the Year" four times. Meltdown was given as an example of the "Best Children's Music of the Past 30 Years" at Time Out NY Kids.
Jungle Gym was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for best album for children in 2011; Recess was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for best album for children in 2014.[Recording Academy 1]
- Grammy, Awards. "56th Annual GRAMMY Awards nominations". announcements. Recording Academy. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Arthur, Nicole (March 17, 2006). "Justin Roberts Meltdown! Carpet Square Records". The Washington Post.
"Matheson, Whitney (October 24, 2013) " Justin Roberts' kid-friendly 'Recess'". USA Today
- Graeber, Laurel (December 14, 2013) "Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players". The New York Times.
- Official website
- "An Interview With Songwriter Justin Roberts About His New Album, Pop Fly", Newsvine, April 7, 2008.
- "For the Children", profile at Kenyon College website.
- Allen, Susie (7 February 2011). "Divinity alum gets Grammy nomination", University of Chicago.