There's no way around it -- Greg Page will always be known as the original Yellow Wiggle. He was one of the original members of the Australian kids music superstars The Wiggles. But after retiring from the Wiggles in 2006 after being diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy, also known as dysautonomia (he later rejoined the group, but retired permanently in 2012), he worked to create a career outside of the group. He's got a production group (Yellow Entertainment), a kids' show on DVD (Butterscotch's Playground), and, most importantly since it's the beginning of December, a brand-new CD of Christmas and holiday music for kids titled Here Comes Christmas!.
Page answered some questions earlier this week about his musical memories from Christmas and the rest of the year, his favorite Christmas songs to sing, and what he (still) gets out of performing for kids.
Zooglobble: What are your first musical memories?
Greg Page: My first musical memories are of singing an old Jud Strunk song called “A Daisy A Day” which was made famous by Hank Snow – my grandmother used to love that song so much, and she would sing it to me all the time! I remember singing it for her in little concerts my sister and I put on in her back yard – I think I was three years old!
What is the favorite part of performing for families (as opposed to a purely adult audience)?
I love seeing families come together with children as the focus. So much of what we do as families is often dictated by external things – friends, work commitments just being busy with life in general – being able to bring families together for sake of being together is a great feeling. Music is such a unifying medium, and children respond so well to it – and so do adults!
You initially retired from the Wiggles in 2006 after fighting a chronic illness called dysautonomia -- how are you dealing with that illness today?
I’m managing my dysautonomia very well these days. When I was diagnosed with it in 2006, I had no idea what it was or what the prognosis would be. Having retired from The Wiggles gave me the opportunity to get on top of the condition, learn more about it and also now help others with their experiences with it too.
What are your Christmas memories growing up?
My favourite memories of Christmas growing up are of family – loving parents who wanted us to experience the joy of receiving presents on Christmas Day. Spending time with extended family for lunch and just celebrating the wonderful lives that we have in this world. I hope that my children look back with similar memories when they are older!
What made you want to record a Christmas album?
I’ve always wanted to do one! Hearing such great songs done by incredible performers such as Perry Como, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby really inspired me to try to recapture those Christmas songs in a way that would connect with children.
What are your 3 favorite Christmas songs to sing?
Hmmm….”The Little Drummer Boy” because of the great story that it tells, “Feliz Navidad” is great because it challenges my Spanish, and “Jingle Bells” is always fun!
You have 3 original Christmas songs on the new album -- what do you think about as a musician in crafting a new holiday song?
Just trying to capture the essence of Christmas – fun, laughter, family, peace, love and hope! Hopefully we’ve done that with the 3 tunes on the album!
What’s next for you?
Yellow Entertainment is my new entertainment company which will look at distributing material for other artists who want an outlet to create and produce good quality material for children. I want to work closely with people who have great ideas to help them maximise the connection with children, as well as keep producing my own material for children through various platforms. One day, I’d love to have an internet TV station with ALL material produced by Yellow Entertainment so that parents know that they can come to that platform and find ONLY good quality shows for children!
Photo credits: Vanessa Miller Page