Interview: Steve Roslonek (SteveSongs AKA Mr. Steve)

SteveSongs1.jpgSteve Roslonek, better known now as SteveSongs, now has a new role (or a new AKA) as Mr. Steve, one of the morning hosts on PBS KIDS, on which he performs interactive songs music about the day's theme. He also has a new DVD out, The Marvelous Musical Adventures. He's touring behind the DVD. There is no truth to the rumor that he is also playing on the Red Sox, but it does seem like Roslonek's got a busy, busy schedule right now.

Nevertheless, he found a few minutes to chat with me recently. Read on for his musical background, how his Mr. Steve spots have evolved, and how being Mr. Steve is like visiting Canada.

Zooglobble: What music did you listen to growing up?
Steve Roslonek: Oh, Schoolhouse Rock, the Muppets, Sesame Street... My parents listened to everything from James Taylor to Motown, to Men at Work.

What was your musical playing background?
I sang in choruses starting in the 3rd grade, but I didn't start writing songs until college.

You were a consultant once...
Yeah, I was a business and technology consultant. I really liked my job. But I got into making music for kids... Some of it is similar, like entrepreneurship, wanting to teach kids better and figuring out how.

SteveSongs2.jpgSo what it's been like now as "Mr. Steve"? How does that differ from SteveSongs?
I'm getting used to it. It's a whole new world... Well, not exactly. It's not so much like going to China, More like going to Canada.

I write the songs for the spots... they ask for, say, 90 seconds on topic "X," the day's theme. That's actually been evolving, though. Initially I was writing 60-second songs for 2 to 4 year olds. But now I have a little more time and we're expanding the age range a little bit older now.

It's good to have an assignment. But it's a challenge - sometimes even 5 seconds more for a song would make a difference.

What's a Mr. Steve concert like?
Well, it's very interactive. It's got both the PBS spots as well as my SteveSongs songs. There's lots of flexibility for me when I'm by myself -- I can adjust to the crowd.

What's your favorite video off the The Marvelous Musical Adventures DVD?
Hmmm... The DVD was filmed first, before the PBS stuff started, so it was still new... I'd probably say "Elephant Hide and Seek," which was the result of lots of filming in a local kids' museum. We spent the whole day there filming, and it was just lots of fun.

And what's next for you?
Well, hopefully more PBS-related stuff including a PBS album. And we're touring behind the DVD.

Mr. Steve will be performing at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on Saturday, October 25.

Photos courtesy PBS Kids.