Member Jason Didner interviewed Grammy-winning producer and CMN member Steve Pullara on his latest project, “Absolutely Positively Getting Along,” a compilation to support and celebrate Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Part one is posted here, part two will be posted tomorrow morning.
Q: Hi Steve, Congratulations on producing this groundbreaking new children’s album recording project entitled “Absolutely Positively Getting Along” for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the first-ever compilation album with their name on it! How did you come to arrange this first-of-its-kind benefit?
A: Nice of you to ask about our new album! To answer your question, it was a wonderful development that came to fruition in creating “Absolutely Positively Getting Along”. Two years ago, we were asked to consider creating new material by this incredibly significant organization as a pro-bono commission. It was an honor to have them call upon us. We then met a few more times in between for its many aspects regarding the theme of “Friendship and Mentoring.” Brainstorming was very active. So many ideas were brought to the table. The material and artists all gave 100% of their time and talent gratis. The recordings that were created for this album are very novel. Our new producers team that accepted the responsibility for this album’s production and in all it’s aspects are ; Myself, (Steve Pullara), Jim Cravero, Gloria Domina & Pat Robinson. We met constantly in between to think about the dimensions of this important project. Our creative team strove to make it entertaining with high quality and well written content. We brought in an eclectic variety of styles and cultures, while it also holds together and flows as a strong body of work. Our aim was to keep kids listening and visiting this album over and over. The whole album can be heard here at this link with the info about this wonderful org.: http://www.absolutelypositivelygettingalong.com/
Q: How did your relationship with Big Brothers/Big Sisters develop?
A: We knew them because they we very involved in our community. Also, family and friends were involved nationally in Big Brothers & Big Sisters. I would think there are very few people in the United States who do not know of the value “Big Brothers and Big Sisters” have made for children with their many mentoring programs. As songs and pieces started to develop, and as topics were being planned, we came to realize even deeper the many dimensions of how powerful spending time as a committed Big Brother and Big Sister really has. Seeing the dedication that this org. has going on through a daily basis for children increased my respect for them even more.
Q: The album includes household names like Pete Seeger and Julian Lennon. How did they become involved in this project? How closely did you work with them and what was that experience like?
A: As in any album that I embark on, this aspect required lots of professional details to coordinate. I was in contact with them a lot and also with in contact with our producers on this end. It was a wonderful series of progressions to each final product with all the artists. Lots of fun. What they contributed was top shelf. I’ve worked with Julian before. Pete Seeger was very involved with his team. To note, Lorre Wyatt is the co-author and co-singer of their song “Wonderful Friends.” It’s a gem. We are grateful to all these people (the 27 artists) who made their recordings sparkle and happen. Many comments come in daily about the many songs, poems and comedy on this children’s album. It has been received marvelously in national in reviews. The feedback and excitement for this album is on a similar level as our GRAMMY Award Winning Best Children’s Album “All About Bullies…Big and Small.”
Q: Julian Lennon said, “Steve Pullara’s heart is as big as the task at hand.” How does it feel to have that vote of confidence from a person of that stature?
A: It feels good to know that internationally, artists like my good friend Julian recognize what I have accomplished in how I write, collaborate or produce. He has told me that he enjoys working with me and I enjoy working with him. Julian and myself, and those in our small producer circle here of Jim, Gloria and Pat, are of the same heart for kids (which is in the right place.) I really enjoy working with Julian. He also intuitively knows how much work and dedication goes into a large project like this. His poetry performance entitled “Celebrate You” (which I wrote) required about 8 people which is just to give you the scope of how much has to be done for one piece. Patrick Robinson created beautiful music for that reading and recorded an additional three piece band for it and Jim Cravero did the final mix and master. Here’s the link to hear the finished product of this particular piece: https://soundcloud.com/james-cravero/absolutely-positively-getting (which is nearing 3,000 hits!) all ages can relate to this recording, and do!
Now imagine that amount of focus and coordinations in 27 pieces. This producer team works hard almost 24/7 to make things happen and is top shelf. For anybody to have confidence in me (or us,) we need confidence in each other to pull the parts together toward each of the final pieces. “Absolutely Positively Getting Along” was a consummate project.
Q: Getting accolades on this album from famous musicians is an honor from within your own industry. Could you have also imagined the reaction you’ve gotten from famous athletes like Larry Christenson, Dicky Ray Noles and Marty Bystrom?
That was a fun thing to see in writing and to actually meet those guys that day. They were genuine. To have shaken the very hands that hit so many home runs is something that hits you after you leave their presence. To have them verbally endorse our album to children, even better.
Q: What’s your favorite story about the difference Big Brothers/Big Sisters has made in the life of a child?
A: Hearing wonderful stories such as one local boy going on to work in the new Disney “Star Wars” movie because one Big Brother mentor encouraged his work ethic (and his dreaming potential) is truly wonderful to hear. We all know stories of how many athletes, artists, parents and business people were inspired by the special times that some Big Brother or Big Sister took to spend with them when no one else would. Those are the things that make artists like me and our team of artists and producers want to help this great organization.
Be sure to check back in tomorrow, when Steve highlights more of the wonderful songs on Absolutely Positively Getting Along, and discusses his life spent to motivate and inspire through music.