“Roots rocker Randy Kaplan is one of those happy-they-exist people you cant quite tell is playing kids’ music. And yet he is” (New York magazine). Randy released his 5th not-JUST-for-kids CD, JAM ON RYE, in 2014. The record features its share of Kaplan's trademark fast-talking/half-singing rap-bluegrass barnburners, a Dan Bern cover, a calypso tune, a Tin Pan Alley gem, a couple of lullabies, and the SirisXM Kids Place Live hits "Don't Fill Up On Chips," "Hockey Puck," and Crew Cut." A video for "Crew Cut" can be seen by clicking the VIDEO link above or by visiting Randy's YOUTUBE channel.
In his songs for children and their families, Randy Kaplan blends American Roots, Country Blues, and Comedic Storytelling. He fingerpicks his way through unpredictable, live shows, which in addition to his original compositions include Broadway numbers, Delta Blues songs, and Ragtime tunes. “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 started writing songs for kids and their families when he worked at the preschool Beansprouts in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He has since released 5 Family CDs (one of whose title songs was later released as a picture book) independently and with Universal Music and MyKaZoo Music. Randy was also commissioned to write songs based on the classic picture books of Ezra Jack Keats and to write a title song and adapt a Young Adult Disney novel, Nerd Girls, for the stage.
Randy's 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'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 studied philosophy, writing, and literature at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as well as at U.C.L.A. 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 a baker's dozen 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.
For the past eight years Randy has worked with folk and bluegrass master Mike West who produces and records Randy's CDs in Lawrence, Kansas at his Ninth Ward Pickin' Parlor. Parenting magazine called Randy “one of the most exciting newcomers to kids’ music since Dan Zanes” while 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 and took up folk music on the side. He proceeded to record and perform solo and with his band all over the country and never imagined that so many of his groupies would be under the age of nine!