Carolyn Ross of Kindiemusicdc interviewed Here Comes Trouble’s front-woman, Kelly Donohue. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the band and my interest is now peaked; a band who writes songs that are “funny and a little brash” seems right up my alley. After all, my son is almost four and the variety of music we’ve listened to is finally starting to move on from familiar kid sing-alongs to songs like Sugar by Maroon 5 and Centerfield by John Fogerty. With that being said, our family is super excited to celebrate at the CD Release Party for “Goo on my Shoe” and expand the music we listen to. Share this post on Facebook for a chance to win 4 tickets to the party (details are at the end of the article).
If you’ve ever thought you’d like to be a rock star, or otherwise just have your voice heard, then you understand something of what drives trademark lawyer and Gaithersburg, Md. mother of two, Kelly Donohue.
As the front-woman and principal songwriter for her band Here Comes Trouble, Donohue is pursuing her dream of making it big, and making it happen right here in the D.C. metro area.
Here Comes Trouble or HCT plays original Kindie (independent kids) music inspired by Donohue’s own family life. Not unlike many area parents, just a few short years ago Donohue and her husband John Babu were commuting to their jobs, helping kids with homework and living well in the ‘burbs . But something was missing. It wasn’t until while seeking potential entertainers for her son’s 5th birthday party, and coming up short of what she was looking for, Donohue stumbled upon what was absent from her life, and as it turned out, sorely needed; Music. The music that was once central to her own and her husband’s life, a talent they both essentially abandoned for the legal field, and the existence of which their children knew nothing about. As conservatory trained musicians, Kelly and John each had dreams of pursuing artistic careers, but all too soon practicalities took over and their history as creative types, was all but forgotten. Until that day in the driveway.
That day in the driveway, Donohue arriving home after a long commute, had a galvanizing moment. “I realized how important making music was for me, and I decided right then I was going to do something about it. I was going to make an album and be on the radio. Maybe even win a Grammy!”
While not yet having reached the Grammy goal, HCT has had airtime as far away as Montana and Donohue has won accolades for her songwriting. Two of her songs were named as semi-finalists in the category of Childrens’ Music this year by the International Songwriting Competition. Judged by industry execs and recording artists, the contest places HCT in the company of Kindie luminaries like last year’s second place winner, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Joanie Leeds, and Danny Weinkauf, bassist for They Might Be Giants who now also fronts a Kindie band.
For Donohue, putting herself in the role of HCT’s front-woman, however, has meant more than just achieving her goal—it is her way of saying to her six-year-old daughter, and other women and girls, you can do it too, you can be smart and funny, and not be afraid to share all sides of yourself. With great affection for the inner silliness she likes to coax out of everyone, Donohue writes songs that make you laugh, but that are also infused with a sense of self-respect and the importance of being true to yourself.
Now a long way from their first gig playing their son’s birthday party at a Rockville restaurant, but just out with their debut album, “Goo on my Shoe,” Donohue on lead vocals, Babu on drums, along with their band mates are showing their own children and the families that see them perform, the positive power of music.
As an independent genre, Kindie offers no standard sound, no sure-fire recipe for success except maybe originality and a sense of humor which HCT brings in spades. Sweet melodies and innovative acapella harmonies are an HCT hallmark, along with jazz-inspired rhythms like in the title track “Goo on My Shoe,” which has its origins in a Charles Mingus tune, “Boogie, Stop, Shuffle.”
Says Donohue, ” I don’t want to be about soft lullabies, they’re OK, but I want to be funny and a little brash,” perhaps something like “The Jimmies,” another woman-fronted Kindie band Donohue draws inspiration from as well, and without a single lullaby on its set list.
Life itself , specifically the Life of Mom, and striking that balance not just between work and home, but also adding in that creative self is the source of much of Donohue’s drive. “I am always singing into my phone on my way to and from work. The lyrics come from the melody so when I have it in my head, I make a recording, ” she says scrolling through working titles on her phone like “Mom Jeans,” “Mr. Smarty Pants,” and “Banana Ninja.” That last one about the banana comes from one of her two greatest inspirations yet, her children. Showing a picture of her daughter in her most recent Halloween costume, Donohue explains. “She wanted to be a banana, but then she also wanted to carry not one but two swords, declaring she was the banana ninja. She does not fit a mold and neither do I. She is so comfortable in her own skin,” and that is worth singing about.
Here Comes Trouble plays the Rockville Town Square stage at 5 PM this Saturday May 23 during Rockville’s Hometown Holidays, or join the band and friends Saturday June 6 at 4:30 PM at their cd release party for “Goo on my Shoe” with Junior Jams at FNDTN Gallery and Liveroom. Tickets available online.
We are giving away 4 tickets to the release party. Go to BeltwayBambinos Facebook page, click “Share” on the post that has this article for your chance to win. Winner will be announced June 4.