April 22, 2008

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Danielle Gaudio-Lalehzar!

April 22nd, 2008

Jersey Babys CD

As of last week, Jersey Babys: The Music Of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons For Kids CD was released! It’s not just for kids—it’s for all generations! Wait until you hear this delightful and unique instrumental collection of some of the biggest Four Seasons’ hits! Some songs will soothe you, even in the biggest morning traffic jam; and others will energize you after the most tiring of days!

We recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview Danielle Gaudio-Lalehzar, Bob Gaudio’s daughter, who had the inspiration for the album and is the Executive Producer. Danielle talks about what inspired Jersey Babys, choosing the incredible songs for the CD, the production process, and many other surprises!

Jersey Boys Blog: Congratulations on the Jersey Babys CD! It’s amazing! What sparked the idea and what was your inspiration behind Jersey Babys? What was your Dad’s first reaction to your idea?

Danielle Gaudio-Lalehzar: The idea for Four Seasons music for kids came after I heard a Beatles for Babies CD at a friend’s house. I went out the next day and bought the CD because I just loved how it was done. I then mentioned to my Dad that he needed to do the same thing with his songs. He was very busy at the time and did not show much interest. I actually spent some time trying to get the company who had done the Beatles CD to do the same thing with the Four Seasons’ songs. They were not interested and never jumped on the opportunity, but this did not stop me from bringing up the idea again and again. One day my Dad surprised me by saying he would get Robby Robinson (Frankie Valli’s musical director and arranger) to work on this project. I was more than thrilled because I knew it would be a great success.

JBB: What do you think convinced your Dad to say yes to the idea of co-producing a CD that featured his music for kids?

DGL: My persistence was the reason why he was finally convinced. He knows I would have bugged him relentlessly to finally help me make it happen.

JBB: Tell us about the process of producing the CD. As Executive Producer of Jersey Babys, what were your responsibilities?

DGL: I was originally going to do this whole thing from scratch and get it manufactured and distributed. Thankfully, Rhino became interested once they saw the cover design (by my brother Shannon) and heard one of the songs. This made my job much easier. Robby started working on the songs a little over a year ago. He had to work on it in between his shows on the road with Frankie. I worked closely with Robby and my Dad to get the right sound and arrangement. In the beginning, a lot of changes were made, but once Robby and my Dad got their heads together for a few days, the resulting product blew me away. It was far better than I ever imagined it would be. One word would explain it all– PERFECTION.

JBB: With so many dozens of incredibly timeless Four Seasons’ hits, how difficult was it to narrow down the song list? How did you go about choosing the final tracks?

DGL: Choosing the songs was actually the easiest part of it all. We decided to do ones that my Dad wrote and then just started with the ones that came to us first. “Bye, Bye Baby” was originally to be on this CD, but we saved it for PART 2 as we did for many other songs, such as “ Tell It To The Rain” and many others. Maybe we can let the fans suggest what they would like to be on the next one. I’ve already promised that “Tell It To The Rain” is a must. Let’s see, that leaves about 11 or 12 more to vote on.

JBB: Each song on Jersey Babys is so unique! There are upbeat, fun, and energetic arrangements, such as “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “Sherry/Walk Like A Man,” along with calming songs such as “Silence Is Golden” (the perfect lullaby, if you ask me!). It’s too tough for me to pick a favorite! As the Executive Producer, do you have one tune that stands out as your favorite?

DGL: I will say that when I first listened to the CD, “Rag Doll” brought tears to my eyes. The beauty of the music just really moved me. “Silence Is Golden” also is just amazingly beautiful to listen to. I really do think each song has its own special sound to it. “Some songs will calm you and some songs will energize you” is what I wrote in the liner notes and that really explains it.

Shannon And Danielle

JBB: There are so many kids’ CDs out there! What do you think makes Jersey Babys stand out from the rest of the kids’ music that’s around today?

DGL: I think the fact that Jersey Boys winning the Tony and my dad winning a Grammy for the soundtrack will definitely draw attention to this CD. I think once people hear it they can make their own decisions about what makes it stand out musically. I personally think the effort put into making each song so special by Robby and my Dad makes it stand out. My Dad spent some long hours while mixing this in the studio and his perfectionism shows!

JBB: What have your two sons said about Jersey Babys? Does each of them have a favorite? What reactions have you heard from other little kids and older kids?

DGL: Both of my sons love the CD. My older son’s favorite is “Short Shorts” and the younger one loves “Walk Like A Man.” My older son’s first grade teacher played it for them during snack time and the kids really enjoyed it. I have gotten such positive feedback from all listeners of all ages.

JBB: In the few short weeks that I’ve heard Jersey Babys, I have become completely hooked! Some songs have made me feel more calm and cool—while others have really made me feel more upbeat and lively! Just the other day, I was playing it in my office when a rather stressed-out college student (in her 20s) came in for some help. I was about to turn the music off, and she said, “Please keep it on—it’s making me feel so relaxed!” She then heard “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and mentioned how much she LOVES that song! Although the CD states “The Music of Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons for Kids,” the student’s reaction was priceless! How have other adults reacted to Jersey Babys?

DGL: I sent out CDs for some fans and friends to preview and have received nothing but positive feedback so far. This music appeals to all ages and that is what is so special about it. I’ll be posting some of the many wonderful comments and reviews on my site soon: http://jerseybabys.com.

JBB: You had mentioned on the Jersey Babys liner notes that you love the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons—not just because your Dad was an original Season and the chief songwriter. Do you have an all-time favorite Seasons’ song?

DGL: I really do love them all, but “Fallen Angel” has always been a favorite of mine.

JBB: As someone who grew up as the daughter of one of the original Four Seasons, it must be incredible to see the story of the group and their music on stage in Jersey Boys, with new generations discovering how great it is! What do you think it is about Jersey Boys that makes the audience feel so connected?

DGL: I think everyone can relate to the ups and downs, the good and the bad. We all have that in our life. It’s the inspiration to keep going that we all need, and great music always helps put everyone in a great mood. People leave the show feeling good and that’s what it’s all about.

JBB: Is Jersey Babys your first venture in the music business? Would you like to continue exploring creative branches of the work your father started many years ago?

DGL: Jersey Babys is my first venture in the music business and I’m quite certain it won’t be the last. Look for Jersey Babys 2 in the future!

Once again, congratulations to Danielle Gaudio-Lalehzar on her phenomenal Jersey Babys creation, and thank you for this fascinating interview! In Part Two of the JBB Exclusive Interview, we will be talking with the other artistic and musical geniuses that brought Jersey Babys to life—Bob Gaudio, Shannon Gaudio, and Robby Robinson!


  1. Will be ordering Jersey Babys 2 today – can’t wait to receive it. Having seen JB twice and Frankie very recently, twice a few weeks ago at Westbury, I’m really excited about your efforts. Congratulations! And I’ll be looking forward to Jersey Babys 2! My 12-year-old granddaughter, who always, goes to the concerts with me, will also surely be appreciative of your efforts.

    My favorite is also “Fallen Angel” on a par equal with “To Give.” “To Give” is, in my opinion, has a similarity to “My Way” except that “To Give” depicts a giving, caring person, rather than one who did everything his way for himself, as in “My Way.”.

    Best regards,

    Joe Saitta

    Comment by Joe Saitta — April 22, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  2. Terrific interview! Can’t wait to buy the CD for my collection and for my nephew, who is almost 3. We’re both going to love it!

    Comment by Teri — April 22, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  3. Jersey Babys arrived today from Amazon and it’s been playing all evening in my apartment. Fantastic arrangements and so much fun. Thank you, Danielle, for convincing your dad to produce such a wonderful CD.

    Comment by Pat — April 22, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

  4. Congratulations to Danielle, her dad, her brother and Robby Robinson for Jersey Babys. It’s so refreshing and fun to listen to! I never expected to enjoy a children’s CD so much. It’s definitely going to be a favorite for adults, too.

    Comment by Judy — April 22, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  5. Wonderful interview. (my goodness, where would we be without these very special features on the Blog?!!) I’ve had the pleasure to hear this CD…already too many times to count, I might add; trust me, the good music here isn’t just for kids.

    An endeavor like this needs an accompanying interview of this nature, because a father/daughter/son can’t team up without intriguing folks. I loved hearing about Danielle’s resolve evidenced when she contacted the company who did the Beatles version. (Okay, so they weren’t biting, but nevertheless…you go girl!) With this brand of tenacity, Danielle will CREATE clear sailing ahead. Certainly not an easy thing in any business.

    The CD design by Shannon has it all- the block lettering of JERSEY for Jersey Boys’ fans, the whimsical design of Babys with the endearing note cradled in the ‘y’ (no bullsh** letter here!) and the nostalgic lettering used in ‘Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons for Kids’. Even the sentiments in the liner notes convey a warm, family ambiance. Danielle used the word ‘perfection’ when describing the final content, but fortunately, perfection describes the project from beginning to end!

    Speaking of content, there are finger-snapping moments, as well as sounds that had me picturing figure skaters performing SO gracefully. Dawn, Ronnie, CTMEOY and Silence is Golden are soothing and gentle- perfect for wound-up, little ones at naptime (or wound-up, big ones on the way home after a tough day like Susie mentioned above :)

    Thank you for bringing this to fruition, Danielle, “Dad”, Robby, Shannon & others; and to the JBB for bringing it all to us. I look forward to the next one!

    Comment by Audrey — April 23, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  6. Thanks for this great interview, Susie! Danielle has done a wonderful job with Jersey Babys, along with her brother, Dad, and Robby Robertson. The CD is a delight for all ages, really a pleasure to listen to.Without the vocals, you can appreciate the beauty of the music and instrumentals even more. Looking forward to Jersey Babys Part 2!

    Comment by Pamela — April 23, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  7. To Joe Saitta, I agree completely about “To Give” being a great song.

    Actually, I believe “My Way” was written by Paul Anka. I don’t think either Paul Anka or Frank Sinatra could get “their way”, as least not as much, in today’s corporate or recording industry environment. Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis’ recent little spat demonstrates that. In fact, I think stubbleyou’s next parody should be new lyrics to “My Way” about how they did it “Their Way”.

    Comment by Ted Hammond — April 24, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  8. Danielle, congrats to you!, i listened to the whole cd (jersey babys) you sent to me and i love it, my two favorite songs rag doll and save it for me are fantastic!, im waiting for my 3rd favorite tell it to the rain (on jersey babys 2)………….i wish you the best with the cd and the next one also and i will plug it to every 4 season fan or music fan that comes to my store, i had it playing in my store all day yesterday, walter gollender (the famous four seasons historian) told me to tell you it was fantastic and thank you, hope to see you soon at the store and for sure at the special event coming up for your dad and the seasons in union nj. …….jim

    Comment by jim petrecca (yesterdays treasures) — April 25, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

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