Biography

“Randy Kaplan is one of those happy-they-exist people you can't quite tell is playing kids’ music. And yet he is” (New York magazine). His blend of American Roots Music and Comedic Storytelling has inspired the likes of NPR, The Nashville Blues Society, and People magazine to name Randy one of the nation’s top family entertainers. As indebted to The Marx Brothers and Steve Martin as he is to Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie, he is “offbeat, smart and funny, funny, funny!” (Mindy Thomas, SiriusXM Radio's Kids Place Live DJ and NPR's Wow in the World Podcaster).

In his songs for children and their families, Randy Kaplan blends American Roots, Pop, Punk, Jazz, Hip-hop, and Comedic Storytelling. He fingerpicks his way through unpredictable, live shows, which in addition to his original compositions include Broadway numbers, Delta Blues songs, Ragtime tunes, and even his grandfather's songs from the 1920s. “He doesn’t dumb it down for the kids. . . . He just expects them to come along for the ride. And they do” (Time Out New York Kids).

Randy has released six Family CDs (independently and with Universal Music and MyKaZoo Music) and one picture book so far. His work has been awarded top honors from NAPPA (National Parenting Publication Awards), been voted a Top Five CD in the Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards, been featured prominently in children's magazines and on family websites, and has appeared on the Top Ten lists of NPR, People magazine, Time Out New York Kids, Fids & Kamily, Zooglobble, OWTK, Family Man Online (where it was also awarded the #1 spot), and many others. His recordings have appeared on compilations such as Putumayo's American Playground and Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti.

Randy has been commissioned by the EJK Foundation to write songs based on the classic picture books of Ezra Jack Keats and by the children's book author Alan Sitomer to write a song based on his Disney-released Young Adult Novel, Nerd Girls, for its adaptation to the stage. Randy's song "No Nothing" was nominated for Best Children's Song of the Year by Just Plain Folks and his "The Ladybug Without Spots" was the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Song of the Month in May 2013. Randy has also had numerous #1 hits on SiriusXM Radio's Kids Place Live!

Randy studied philosophy, writing, and literature at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and at UCLA. He then trained in acting, improvisation, and writing and has credits in prominent theater productions such as Spring Awakening and The Fresca Wars and on TV shows such as Growing Pains, Beauty and the Beast, Ferris Bueller, and A Different World. Randy has toured throughout the U.S., released 14 CDs (including 8 not-REALLY-for-kids ones!), had his poetry published by periodicals and journals such as Ugly Duckling Presse (6x6 magazine) and The Missing Slate, received several ASCAP awards, and written and starred in a musical that was workshopped in Colorado and presented at the Boulder International Fringe Festival. Randy is also a certified high school English teacher and is working on his master's degree in education at Oakland University in Michigan. The Language Arts Journal of Michigan (LAJM) will be publishing an essay Randy wrote in its upcoming spring issue.

Randy started writing songs for kids and their families when he worked at the preschool Beansprouts in Park Slope, Brooklyn. After his first family CD, Five Cent Piece, was released, Parenting magazine called Randy “one of the most exciting newcomers to kids’ music since Dan Zanes." His hometown zine, The Brooklyn Paper, called him "a national treasure who brings a sly wink to the art of kid's music." Randy began performing professionally in Los Angeles in 1987 when he moved there to pursue an acting career; he took up folk music on the side. He proceeded to record and perform solo and with his band all over the country. He has lived in New York, California, Kansas, and—as of June, 2015—Michigan. Randy never imagined that so many of his groupies would be under the age of nine!

 
   
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