Get To Know Mömandpöp

Get To Know Mömandpöp

Children’s duo talks personal new album


Effervescent husband and wife team Bobby Matthews and Virginia Ralph make up the award-winning children’s duo Mömandpöp — who are back on Northwest Arkansas stages with all their wacky characters to celebrate the release of their new album “Look Closer.” The pair weathered some tough times during the album’s creation, but came out on the other side with an endearing piece of art kiddos and parents can delight in together. Ahead of their performance at the Jones Center in Springdale, the couple answered a few questions for What’s Up!

Q. Where did inspiration for the new album’s tracks come from?

Bobby: Two words: bubblegum pop. I went to British Invasion music for the first album — the Beatles, the Hollies, the Dave Clark Five. With this album I wanted to draw from the American bubble gum pop from the late ’60s, early ’70s — groups like the Ohio Express, The Fun and Games, The Archies, stuff like that. We added a Farfisa organ to really make the bubblegum POP!

Virginia: The title track of “Look Closer” began writing itself toward the end of last summer when my oldest daughter was getting ready to turn 16 and it seemed to me that life was moving very quickly. I began to notice how busy I am all the time. The message is one I’m singing to myself, but also to the young parents who buy our music and who come to our shows. Young parents are so busy and distracted, now more than maybe ever before. But the song is a reminder to put everything aside and really notice how amazing the world around us is when we look up from a screen, and that the most amazing and fascinating thing is right in front of us: our own kids.

Q. How have your writing, your artistic expression, your creative process developed between the first and second album?

Virginia: That same daughter became very ill throughout the fall, and it got more serious in the winter. I had reserved a stay at a little cabin [in January], but when the time came our daughter was too sick to be left alone, so I told Bobby to go alone and use the day at the cabin any way he wanted. So what did he do? He packed his guitar and the laptop and played and recorded music the whole day I told him to relax. Life at home was so stressful, but here he could go to this little cabin and write this new music. So I … reserved it for a whole month. [And] he did it! I guess Bobby’s the Bon Iver of kids’ music!! It’s really a miracle that we have a record at all. … We managed to turn our stress and worry in to some pretty great music and funny songs, and now she’s doing fine and we have this cool album that we hold in our hands and shake our heads and wonder how in the world we managed it.

Also, I should mention that the daughter that got sick, she’s only three weeks out of the hospital singing harmonies all over the record. Friends who know what we’ve gone through this year know what it means to us to have [her] singing harmony with her Daddy on the opening and closing song of “Look Closer.” She’s called “Ace” on the record because her tone and pitch are so amazing, whenever we couldn’t nail it on the first or second try, Bobby would say, “Send in our ‘ace in the hole,’” and [she] would go in and nail it right out of the gate.

Q. In your opinion, what does one need to consider in creating music for kids/families that parents won’t dread?

Bobby: I made the mistake when initially writing for Mömandpöp to try and copy what was out there, or more accurately, what I thought kids’ music would sound like. I was writing in a more “folksy” vein and quickly gave up on that approach. If you are going to be creating music for kids/families, you need to create music that you yourself love. I mine veins of music that I myself adore.

Q. In that vein, what do you feel is the most important thing to remember in creating children’s entertainment?

Virginia: We love all kinds of children’s entertainment, but we try to always keep our focus on kindness, simple whimsical effects in the live show, and quality music that we would be proud of whether it was being played on kids’ radio or adult radio.




WHEN — 10:30 a.m. Sept. 22

WHERE — The Jones Center in Springdale

COST — Free

INFO —, 756-8090

FYI — The duo’s next confirmed show in the area will be the preschool Halloween party at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville Oct. 31.

Categories: Family Friendly