Listen: Byll from Teeny Tiny Stevies chats with Justin Rouillon
In my house I have a three (going on fourteen) year old and a six year old.
Screen time is dominated by these tiny humans who have overrun our house, and I’ve noticed a definite trend since we started letting our first born watch TV.
Kids shows and kids music is no longer just for the wee bairns, it’s about drawing the parents in as well.
When 96five spoke to Bluey creator Joe Brumm last year, he told us that one of the original thoughts was to create a show that the parents could engage in just as much as the kids would.
“What an experience it must be for kids to watch a TV show that they really love, and their parents are on the same couch but not just watching out of duty” said Joe.
For Byll (Sibylla) Stephen of Melbourne musical duo the Teeny Tiny Stevies, the sentiment is much the same, inspired by her experience as a mother.
“There’s nothing better than bonding over a movie or a song and when you’re both laughing or crying at the same thing. Including the parents was absolutely intentional for us.”
Comprised of Byll and her sister Beth, the Teeny Tiny Stevies was birthed as a side project from their main gig, with their indie-folk band The Little Stevies having been festival favourites across the country. The sisters had also toured extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand and North America, but like any new parents compromises needed to be made.
“We got to the point where I started having kids; our manager said that we should diversify as it wasn’t going to work going overseas for six months out of the year with kids.
We got creative, it was a natural progression, and as a parent I was finding that I was looking for some art that could infiltrate my child’s brain.
When he was learning to use the toilet, I couldn’t find anything that was really useful so that’s where our first song came from – On The Toilet is our toilet training song!”
Growing up in a musical family, the sisters were served up live music from an early age with their parents both working musicians.
“We had a garage out the back and there’s a lot of memories of just sitting on the floor listening to the music, or falling asleep in our bedroom listening to live music. Nowadays when I hear live music off in the distance a warm feeling flows all over because of those memories.”
It’s entirely likely that the Teeny Tiny Stevies music will inspire a life long love of music in this generation of kids. Their simple yet beautiful animations have become a favourite on the ABC Kids channel and have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Teeny Tiny Stevies have just released their third album – ‘Thoughtful Songs for Little People’ with Byll saying that it continues the theme of giving kids music with a sense of purpose.
“If kids and parents are going to listen to over and over again, then they may as well be learning something! Or an issue that’s useful to the parents journey may as well be seeping into the kids minds, like sleeping through the night!”