Matt Heaton believes music for kids can be entertaining for both children AND parents. His songs blend mid-century American guitar styles: surf, rockabilly, western swing & soul, delivered with a wry sense of humor and a sincere sense of fun. Kids dance, laugh, and sing along. Grown-ups appreciate the Muppet-esque touches of humor and observations of kid behavior. Call it children's music, family music, kindie or toddlerbilly it's sure to please listeners of all ages.
Music for kids can be entertaining and enjoyable for both children and their parents.
This is the mandate behind Matt Heaton's kid music, a style he calls "toddlerbilly." His songs His songs blend mid century American guitar styles: surf, rockabilly, western swing & soul, delivered with a wry sense of humor and a sincere sense of fun. Matt performs solo and also with his band, The Outside Toys, a crackerjack ensemble of guitar, bass, drums and fiddle. Children and adults respond to his musicianship and variety. And the parents and caregivers particularly appreciate the Muppet-esque touches of humor and observations of kid behavior. He has recorded four albums and numerous singles of family music. When COVID shut everything down in March of 2020, Matt immediately took to the internet to livestream his sing alongs. His “Mornings with Matt” show because a pandemic lifeline for many families with young (and not so young) kids.
Matt's background includes several types of professional music endeavors. He has toured as a traditional Irish guitarist for 20+ years (in a duo with flute player wife, Shannon and other acclaimed Irish acts). He holds a Master's degree in classical guitar from Northwestern University. And he has played with surf rock bands in Chicago and Boston, including the currently active Electric Heaters.
When his son was born, Matt began attending sing-alongs at local libraries. Inspired to give it a try himself, he soon discovered that he truly enjoyed connecting with kids musically.
"Growing up, the main children's music I listened to was 'Free to Be You & Me,' 'Sesame Street,' and of course, 'The Muppets,'" he says of his own childhood. "The amazing thing about all those projects is how listenable they are today. In particular, The Muppet albums are full of great songs and musicianship with jokes aimed at adults. I try to bring some of those elements to my own music." Whether at a small outdoor sing along, a giant festival or online, Matt loves bringing music to and connecting with kids. And whether you call it kindie, family music, children’s music or just music, Toddlerbilly Rocks!
Kind words from presenters:
Nothing gets little toes tapping and little bodies wiggling like Matt Heaton. When he’s playing to a room full of happy toddlers you can feel the joy. .. Fun for all ages!
- JJ Gonson, ONCE Somerville
Fun songs that get the kids moving and dancing. Our kids really enjoy music from his albums as well as classic kid songs. Matt is flexible and reliable and timely. We know that our crowds will go wild when Matt is here!
- Maija Meadows Hasegawa, Boston Public Library
Foot-stomping, hand-clapping, sing-alonging, dance-athon-ing fun and pure joy! A huge Sippie Cup Salute to Matt (and his band) for his musical magic, enjoyed and loved by young and younger!
- Marie Cassidy, Medford Family Network
Their silly, smart music appeals as much to parents as to their kids. Working with Matt and the band is a seamless experience!
- Eva Rosenburg, Harvard Ed Portal