Award-winning children’s music duo Splash’N Boots talk giving back, spreading laughter through song and their ever-growing love of Newfoundland and Labrador
When The Herald telephoned Nick Adams, one half of Juno winning children’s music super-duo Splash’N Boots, the talented and impossibly good-natured entertainer answered in a motel in Rigolet, Labrador.
It was day five of their seven date stretch through The Big Land where he and Splash partner Taes Leavitt brought the You, Me and the Sea tour to communities across Labrador. In partnership with Air Borealis and the Department of Health & Social Development, Nunatsiavut Government, the performances were free of charge, allowing those in this remote corner of the country to experience world class entertainment from the Big Yellow Boot crew.
“It’s been a mandate of ours since we started Splash‘N Boots to try to reach as many children and families as we can,” Adams said of the Labrador trek.
A memorable tour
“This is part of what we do. We want to make sure we see as many children as possible. Just the faces we see when we show up, they’ve seen us on TV and say they can’t believe we’re here and like they know us already. We’ve been doing this for 15 years but this has been probably one of the most memorable tours we’ve ever done before.”
Giving back isn’t foreign for the yellow and blue clad entertainers. The pair of Adams and Leavitt have been putting smiles on children’s faces for 15 years and counting, often going the extra mile to impact the lives of kids coast to coast.
“I think when we started Splash‘N Boots we realized that we had a great opportunity,” Adams recalls.
The vehicle of music
“It started with doing simple visits to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and we just realized with the power of our music and then people knowing us we realized there’s something bigger going on and that especially with children you can do so much with that recognition. So we started really making that a focus. And honestly music is the vehicle but why we do it is just for these children. We’re getting so much out of it and we’re seeing the results of it.”
Splash’N Boots, who appear in over 8.5 million homes daily with their hit TV series, have managed to navigate the at times precarious world of children’s entertainment. Kids, truth be told, can have short attention spans. Add in a genuine yet brutal honesty if something fails to entertain, and a song and dance show before a room full of toddlers can go south in a hurry. So how did Adams and Leavitt find the secret to success?
“It was from doing hundreds and hundreds of shows for like two to seven children at a time,” Adams laughs.
“We learned real fast that children are the most honest audience that you can possibly get. So we realized that every second had to be accounted for. We just learned. They can read if you’re authentic or not. So the idea that you have to be so present in the moment of entertaining, whether it’s for two children or two thousand children. We’ve really worked at being present, listening to them, looking them in the eyes. It’s all about that connection. So we’ve really worked hard.”
‘We learn so much’
“We often give our audience an opportunity to talk to us in a microphone, so that part keeps it fresh every single day. We learn so much from them and we continue to learn so much from them.”
The duo are hot on the heels of their recent album You, Me and the Sea. A love letter to Atlantic Canada, Adams and Leavitt collaborated with our very own Alan Doyle, who lent his voice to a pair of singles and even brought along his young son for the experience.
“Working with Alan, it was awesome to step back and watch a master of storytelling and songwriting,” Adams admits.
“He was only supposed to produce the album and then he kind of got really into the songwriting aspect of it with us. So I’d wake up and he’d have a voice memo sent to my phone thinking about a captain song.
“His brain doesn’t stop and the appreciation I have for him as a songwriter and storyteller grew and grew. I learned so much from him watching him work and he’s just a passionate guy that loves it. What I wasn’t expecting was the friendship that happened.
“I had a dream of always going to Newfoundland,” Adams adds of his long-standing love of Celtic music and all-things Atlantic Canada.
A loving tribute
“Newfoundlanders are such beautiful people and they appreciate music and appreciate you making the effort to come to the island. I can’t wait to go back, always, to tour Newfoundland and I feel like that support we’re getting, it’s unlike anything else in Canada. So it’s like the perfect relationship.”
It’s no secret that Splash’N Boots are honorary Newfoundlanders at this stage. Embraced lovingly by Doyle and flocks of fans across the island, the pair further endeared themselves to Newfoundlanders thanks in no small part to their loving tribute to Nevaeh Denine, Lemonade.
“We asked our fans on Facebook song suggestions for this new album and all of a sudden an influx of people said we should write a song about Nevaeh’s Lemonade Stand. We thought, what’s going on here?” Adams explains.
“We looked and said wow, this is a powerful story, this needs to be told. She represented what we’re all about, celebrating big hearts and what you can do despite your circumstances and just to give back. She just wrapped it up so beautifully and the support she had from the community was amazing and her spirit. We brought that up with Alan and he was on board. The song that came out of it, I’m just so happy because it’s not a ballad song, not a sad thing. It’s a very upbeat song and it’s a beautiful song.”
The song will be getting the video treatment in the coming months, with Nevaeh’s mother Holly Denine providing footage of her daughter for the project.
“We’ve been singing it live now since that tour in July when we debuted it in front of her mom and her supporters. We’ve been singing it live all across the country ever since. It’s resonating. It’s not just a localized story,” Adams shared.
“This summer we’re getting pictures of all these kids setting up their own lemonade stands. And it’s been really cool because that album has been heard across the country and it’s spreading …This is all her. So we’re just a vehicle for her.”
For more on Splash’N Boots visit splashnboots.com, their official social medias and YouTube channel.