“I think when they heard the playfulness in my voice they felt I was a friend,” says the beloved singer/songwriter Raffi Cavoukian on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast as we discuss why, decades ago, children first fell in love with his tunes — among them, “The More We Get Together,” “Bananaphone” and, most famously, “Baby Beluga” — “and,” he adds, “I think that’s still true.” The 72-year-old, who professionally goes by just his first name (his fans don’t think he has a last name, he notes with a chuckle), essentially created the children’s music business with his 1976 album Singable Songs for the Very Young and his first concerts a year later. Over the 44 years since, he has recorded and produced 32 albums (several of which have gone gold and platinum), racking up three Grammy nominations along the way.

Through it all, Raffi has put the interests of his young audience above all else, turning down lucrative endorsement and movie offers that would have targeted them, and, since having a “vision” in 1997, focusing on what he hopes will be his “legacy work,” the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring, which promotes “respecting earth and child.” He explains, “To do our best for the child, we have to do our best for Mother Earth, whose children we are.” To that end, he is marking the 40th anniversary of “Baby Beluga” by giving it a new verse directed at “Beluga Grads” (what he calls adults who grew up on his music), which he first performed during quarantine in collaboration with Yo Yo Ma, and which celebrates diversity, social justice and climate action.

ReadMore…