If fruits and vegetables and all foods healthy had a policewoman or super spokesperson in charge, Dre Towey would be it. With humor, clever lyrics and adorable visuals, she could probably persuade even the most artery hardened carnivore to abandon pork ribs and filets of beef. Her song “You Are What You Eat” uses all kinds of food, mostly healthy, leafy gems like asparagus and crunchy carrots to spell out Dre’s good for you message. One does notice the occasional candy corn kernels and chocolate chips, licorice and lollipops, as her song happily sings along. The CD features Claymation letters and pictures created with the help of Ellery Lamm, a neighbor’s imaginative daughter.
A mom of three, plus assorted fish, cats and a solo dog, Dre Towey has been strumming a guitar and creating ingenious lyrics since 1998. Called positively a “Mom of Reinvention,” she has racked up five albums, CDs and a pair of holiday singles, becoming a finalist in The John Lennon Songwriting Awards and receiving a trio of Parents’ Choice Awards along the merry way.
Dubbing herself originally a Jersey girl, she always loved music and describes herself as a”kindie rocker,” a genre of songs specially for kids. Explaining that “I’m just a kid at heart, going where my songs take me,” Dre came into the music world in a back door kind of way. “I was teaching in the city and observed a co-worker entertaining her kindergarten class singing and playing guitar. I just loved it and thought it was cool. I knew I wanted to do it too.”
Jumping right in to her new career, she collaborated with a fellow teacher on a CD entitled “The Ants Wear Underpants.” Already proficient as a writer and illustrator, she moved into the new artistic areas with ease. When she became pregnant with her first child, she was able to indulge her passion and start writing songs and accompanying them on guitar on topics from mashed potatoes to meatballs, mushrooms to monkeys.
An added boost came with a request to write a song about pickles by a pickle maker, Nick Harmon of Horman’s Best Pickles, resulting in an album “In a Pickle.” Dre confesses “I love pickles and I could eat them all day long.” Her thoughts about turkeys, which she captures in the catchy and bouncy tune “Turkey Bop," are a little more complicated. While Thanksgiving conjures up memories of holidays with family on Cape Cod, it also brings about negative thoughts of gluttony and the fate of the poor bird. The tune, which she hopes will be a “one hit wonder,” came to her while she was running in the annual Turkey Trot race. “The gobble gobble refrain kept getting in my head.” Now you can grab a drumstick and do the gobble gobble dance.
Dre Towey believes that “children and food have always landed on the same plate for me.” Her goal is to start a healthy and fun conversation between parents and their offspring, not to preach but to educate. She has done extensive research on things like where food comes from, translating it into lyrics that are infectious and imaginative. For more information and to hear and order her music, go to www.dretowey.com and www.cdbaby.com. Watch in the spring for her newest album “Flower Child” about the environment we live in together.
A series of upcoming events will illustrate her message in an entertaining way: Saturday, February 6 at 11 a.m. at a Teddy Bear Tea Party at Waveny Castle in New Canaan, don’t forget to bring a teddy bear; Friday, February 26 at 10 a.m. at a Mom’s Morning in the Darien Community Association in Darien; Friday, April 8 and Friday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Rowayton Library for story time and songs. Two years ago, Dre opened JAM, a Junior Art and Music Studio in South Norwalk.
Dre has a band “Sugar on Top” featuring Randy Funke on electric guitar who is also her producer, Kurt Berglund on drums and Benj LeFevre on bass as well as a second band “Dog on Fleas” for her album “In a Pickle.” Sometimes her son, 15, plays drums for her gigs, admitting “Mom, that was amazing. I wish that the world was only kids and dogs.” Her children who are now 17,15 and11 have always been involved in her music, being inspiration for most of the songs in a love/hate relationship, even singing backup on her CDs.
It’s hard to believe that Dre Towey, now a Connecticut resident for thirty years, was a picky eater as a child when today she has successfully married her three loves: art, music and children to the world of healthy food choices. Write on! Sing on! Eat up!