Tag Archives: Cab Calloway

A Conversation with Ella Jenkins

Ella Jenkins is called the first lady of children’s music, and for good reason — she is a Lifetime Grammy Achievement Award winner who has been recording for over 50 years, and with her new album, A Life of Song, she’s still going strong. I was thrilled and honored to spend some time with her on the phone recently, talking about her amazing life and career.

So let’s talk about A Life of Song. You’ve certainly lived one.

Well, I’ll tell you. I liked to sing when I was a small child. Not that my mother or father sang, but my uncle introduced me to music, as well as my first instrument, which was the harmonica. I really enjoyed that. I’m not a formal musician, I’ve just always done it by ear, and that’s how I share it with people today. I would still encourage anyone to train formally, but you don’t have to — just by singing, or even through exposure to music, you’re part of it. Often that’s what children do — they listen to music and then take parts of what they hear to make their own. I’ve always hummed or whistled or something. You don’t need an instrument or a band — birds sing all the time. Continue reading