Frederick Ralph Cornelius "Fred" Penner, CM OM is a Canadian children's music performer who gives appearances throughout North America.
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Hey Fred Heads,
I’m here until 2:30 est celebrating my new album, Hear the Music. It's for kids and Fred Heads alike and features a ton of special guests like Ron Sexsmith, Afie from the Bahamas, The Good Lovelies, Terra Lightfoot and Basia Bulat.
Or pick up a copy:
Stream the single La Vida
Sherry and Jon from Linus Entertainment will be here to type out my answers, so:
Ask me anything!!!
My proof: imgur.com/Yw4FEpd
2:53 That's it for today. Thanks everyone!
TAKE GOOD CARE OF EACH OTHER.
What has been your proudest moment of your career so far?
The birth of my four children. The joy of being a father and watching your children grow and discover and become strong positive people in this world, and bring their own brand of joy and positivity to others is inspiring.
Edit: Hold on, of my career? That's a different answer.
Receiving the Order of Canada was pretty high on the list. To be recognized for having shared my music with a generation was humbling (to say the least).
Do you ever get tired of playing The Cat Came Back?
...Do you ever get tired of listening to it?
Have you ever had a feud with Raffi similar to that of Tupac and Biggie?
Yes, but that's between me and Raffi.
What is the most surprising thing you've learned about music over the course of your career?
Thank you for your time, and for being a part of my childhood twenty-something years ago. :)
I am delighted and surprised at how deeply some songs are loved and appreciated by the listeners.
It's been my privilege to be part of your life....keep singing!
Is Word Bird enjoying retirement?
Chilling on the shores of Jamaica, wish I was with him.
Are you aware of the meaning of your last name in German?
Do you have a favourite song on today's popular charts? If so, what is it and why?
Beyonce Lemonade album is pretty spectacular.
What places in the world are on your travel bucket list?
Love Italy, hope to get to Mallorca, Spain. My wife is a vocal coach, and she's working with and actress from England who has a property there. She invited us to visit.
I love to travel, love Spanish culture, love the music and love Piccasso.
I've been trying to figure out how to word this question...basically I'm thrilled you have songs in French.
From your background, I assume you grew up with French being spoken in the household. Does this inspire you to write/sing songs in French or does that stem from elsewhere?
I'm from a German background. I lived in Hull in the mid 50's and gained a good accent and understanding of the language. J'aime Francaise, Je chante quelques chansons de Francaise danse mes spectacles est aussi don mes cd's. (C'est vrai?) Merci.
Hold up, is this THE Fred Penner of Fred Penner's Place? I used to watch that show as a kid! Growing up I always wanted to live in a tree.
The word of the day is 'question'. Do you have one?
I particularly remember the time when my family and I moved to a new house around my 10th birthday; I was sad about leaving my friends, but I listened to your music a lot before, during and after the move. The question I have for you is: do you remember a particular instance where music helped you get through a hard time in life?
I find that music can soothe my soul. Just picking up my guitar and playing for awhile calms me down, and makes me feel happy that I can do that. Music is therapeutic, playing or listening.
In the early 70's, when my Down Syndrom sister Suzy past away, revisiting her favourite music from West Side story was cathartic for me.
Hi Fred! First off, wanted to say THANK YOU for all your wonderful creations that have transcended through my generation into the next, my daughter loves your music as much as I always have! My question is, how does it make you feel when you meet adult fans who grew up watching you, especially when they are elated with excitement like I was? Its truly wonderful to be able to share this with my daughter, and its amazing that you're still working on new projects! Thanks for all you do!
The feeling I get when Fred Heads approach me now, is joy and delight that my music has stayed with them all these years. I love what I do and for you the audience to continue supporting me is the highest honour ever!
Looking out from the stage and seeing children, parents, grandparents - three generations - all enjoying the music is AWESOME man!
When I was younger, I loved dramatizing and acting (well, my friends and I mostly put on little plays for our families). I also loved putting on music and dancing with my friends. And as far as your music is concerned, I loved acting out "The Cat Came Back" and I would always play the role of the persistent cat. And I think your song "Company Coming" is great for square dancing; my friends and I would do-si-do to that one with great delight! The question I have for you is: when you were younger, did you ever think you wanted to become an actor or a dancer? Or did you always have your mind set on being a musician?
I always loved to sing, in choirs from grade three, all through my school years.
Nobody ever suggested that I could be a professional entertainer. But when I realized that that was what I loved to do, I decided to follow that path, in 1972.
When you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
Will there be a Kornstock reunion? Was watching the old videos on Youtube and the fun you guys had. Good to see you at Lula yesterday!
No Kornstock reunion. Those other guys are too old :) :)
Thanks for coming out yesterday!
Loved hearing your appearance on 'The Debaters'. It was clear that the audience was smiling as much as I was.
How do you prepare for an adult crowd VS a kid crowd? Which crowds are most rambunctious?
Adult crowd vs a kid crowd? There's no difference preparing for an adult crowd over a children's audience. Make sure your guitar is tuned, your voice is strong, and that you select the songs that connect with the audience. Many of the songs are always the same, regardless of the audience, but for an adult audience I'll throw in tunes I grew up with. Including Joni Mitchel, Cat Stevens and the Beatles. Plus a couple of Fred adult songs...
Which are more rambunctious? The drunken university crew are pretty rowdy. Alcohol has a way of invigorating an audience.
My favourite of all your songs is "Trans Canadian Super Continental Streamlined Special Express" (I love how the beat of that song mimics a train speed!). The question I have for you is: of all the songs you have written yourself, which is your favourite one?
On the Moonlight Express album, I recorded a song called 'Tears", just me and my guitar and we did it in one take. The only song I have ever done in one take.
I want to begin this question by saying that I am so happy that some of your episodes from your TV show are on the CBC website! You see, I was only about a month old when your TV show was cancelled, so I never got to see it. And although I was born in Winnipeg, I lived there only 2.5 years. I am so happy the episodes are on the CBC website now! My question for you this time is: what is your most favourite episode of your show that you remember filming?
...with Mr. Dressup in 1995. This was two weeks after his wife was tragically killed in Toronto. Doing the episode brought both of us to tears.
What is your favourite beer?
Erdinger, a German wheat beer.
You stated a while ago that your favourite song is "The Cat Came Back". I've never had a cat myself (but who knows, maybe one day I'll adopt one!). My best friend has a cat and knows just how persistent cats can be! (Also, my best friend wants to say "Hello" to you.) The question I have is: have you ever had a pet cat yourself?
I have had, over my life-time, half a dozen cats. They've all passed on.
I had a beautiful, white cat named Casper. He was cuddly, and didn't bite or scratch. A perfect loving and lovable cat.
How do you keep your feet happy?
A question: on your recording of the song "Happy Feet", was that Sharon, Lois & Bram interacting with you in the musical interlude?
No. Kozub Trio from Winnipeg. Dear friends.
What do you think of Canada's proposed marijuana legislation?
I have friends who have suffered with medical issues and medical marijuana has been invaluable to them. As long as the distribution is controlled, I think there is values in the laws.
As with anything in life, be responsible to yourself, your mind and your body.
Hi Fred, just saw your name on the AMA and a bunch of memories came flooding in. Thank you!
I don't have a specific question, so how's your Monday?
Busy. Doing lots of PR for the new record. Still on the road and burning the trail. Life is good.
I was wondering... what inspired your song "I Am the Wind"? (Days with a nice cool wind have always been fun for me, for I have always loved running in the wind and feeling the cool breeze on my face.)
As a songwriter using a metaphor like "I am the wind", if you were the wind, what would you feel like? From a creative point of view, it's a good exercise.
The songs about putting yourself into something, and imagining how you'd feel as that thing. What is the wind good for? What does the wind do? I thought about it and the song came out. It's the mystery of the creative process. Sometimes, I don't know where the songs come from.
What's your max Bench Press?
10 pounds on a good day.
This is a miscellaneous question I am about to ask you next, but first I want to bring up the time when I felt especially happy on my birthday. I received my guitar on my sixteenth birthday! So my sweet sixteenth birthday was pretty sweet after all. I would like to ask: do you remember a time when you felt especially happy on your birthday?
My last birthday was especially delightful because it was a celebration of my marriage and my birthday on the same day.
Generally once you are an adult, birthdays have less meaning, everyday is special :) :) :)
Who would win a fish eating contest: The cat that came back or a baby beluga?
...Cat's have 9 lives...I rest my case!
What's something you learned today?
Something I learned today...that is a good question..learned to communicate to the masses on Reddit, reduce parking stress and a potential ticket by downloading the Green P app. Have you done it?
Which actor would you choose to play yourself in a biopic film about your life?
Obviously Idris Elba. He's a fantastic actor.
I have a request. My request is: will you please say a nice message for my best friend that I can pass onto her? (She thinks you are an amazing performer as well!)
What's her name and how old is she?
Hello Mr. Penner, how often do you browse Reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?
First time and hopefully not the last. Any recommendations?
This question made me legit laugh out loud
How do you discover new music?
Songs that I write or songs that I listen to?
Mr. Penner what are your favorite pizza toppings?
Goat cheese, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce and a nice a'spicy pepperoni.
Or straight vegetarian.
Mr. Penner, what are your hobbies outside of music?
I like to sketch and paint and cook.
My specialty is a good chicken soup. The trick sometimes is using the rind of parmesan cheese and throwing it in with the stock.
My friend's name is Saanya and she's 19 now, but will be 20 in July. Could you say for her a nice message that I can pass onto her? (Also, she and her family are going back to Mauritius in June, and I will really miss her.)
For Saanya: Safe journey into this world. Be strong, be caring for others, and follow your bliss.
What is your most favourite word in the dictionary and why?
I love the word effervescent because that is often how I feel when I am performing.
Will you ever write/publish an autobiography/memoir?
Yes. When. I don't know. I've been thinking about it. Starting to gather the decade of stories. Can I put you down for 50 copies?
What's your favorite Billy Joel song, and why?
Piano Man. Been there done that.
....part of paying your dues in the bar scene.
Oh come on.
How can you not like Beyonce? My wife played Lemonade for me and it is really powerful. I am looking forward to having time to check out Ron Sexsmith and Alex Cuba's newly released projects. Not on the charts, but awesome music W. Darling, check it out.
You're the man...but those are rookie numbers. And you my friend are no rookie. gotta get those numbers up. Maybe you should rock a bulking phase make some gainz!
Yes. You are absolutely right!
And some of us are especially wondering: do you have a cat yourself or have you ever had a cat yourself?
Request: will you please show us some of your paintings sometime?
Perhaps one day I will...
I was wondering: at the moment, who is your favourite musical performer? (Mine are yourself, Serena Ryder, Taylor Swift and Rufus Wainwright)
I know Serena, I love watching her career blossom. Her on stage presence is magnetic.
For the record, I don't listen to anything released after 1971 when music peaked with the release of "Who's Next."
That's my generation. Music from the 60s will always be at the top of my list. The Beatles, The Stones, Crosby Stills Nash AND Young, Joni Mitchell. Fun fact: went to school with Neil Young.
I met you once as a small child! My mother tells me that I was scared of you. I'd love to meet you as a socially adept twenty-one year old. My question is: any bar gigs in the near future?
No bar gigs in the immediate future, lots of festivals across the country this summer. Hopefully something in the fall.
I hope the Penner trauma has not endured.