STATEN ISLAND, NY – Prince’s Bay residents Laura Monaco-Martino and Joey Martino have music in their blood. They are songwriters, musicians and producers. And when they became parents 4 and a half years ago, they realized how beneficial music can be for young people.
So much so that their 4 ½ year old son, Joseph John or “JJ”, was the inspiration for a new company – dubbed ET Littles – to complement their existing music businesses, ET Studio Productions and ET Labz. , all located in Charleston.
“ET Littles has been a dream ever since Joey and I became parents. …I’ve always loved writing the songs to feature on shows, like Disney and Nickelodeon. It was like a miracle that I got pregnant because I was told that I couldn’t get pregnant naturally. So when I got pregnant, I was teaching and the music was all around me,” Monaco-Martino said. “I would find myself singing for my belly. As my son grew and my belly and I grew, he moved every time I sang. And whenever he was around the music, he was kicking.
During the pandemic, Monaco-Martino, who is now pregnant with her second child, realized there was a need for interactive online programs for children.
“So we wanted to try to do things that were uplifting and inspiring, and educational at the same time. Then we started writing a whole bunch of songs. And my son started singing, so we’re adding him to every song now” , she said. “I think the pandemic just helped push us more because obviously we weren’t physically working in the studio as much anymore. So we were writing the songs at home, developing the ideas, and then we were doing them. let’s launch.
The result is a series of animated videos – which Martino creates himself – on the company’s website that allow children to sing, discover different cultures, read and learn new languages.
“We have been writing, singing, producing and recording together for 15 years. Our passion has always been cultivating youth, but when our son was born, we started composing songs for him and fell in love with the creative process all over again. We focused on the pop and contemporary world for so many years, so it was refreshing for us. Music really stimulates all areas of child development and helps body and mind work together,” said Monaco-Martino.
The videos have become so popular that their songs, like “Hello Song”, have nearly 300,000 plays on YouTube worldwide.
The program complements the couple’s “mommy and me” courses launched in September 2021.
“The lessons let the kids hear these unique songs personalized specifically for the class. And we use it as a soundboard to see how the kids react to the songs,” she said. “The Hello Song , which was one of the first songs we put together [on the company’s website]allows children to learn how to say hello in five different languages.
A MUSICAL FAMILY
Monaco-Martino’s interest in music stems from growing up in the Bronx with her father, who was a singer. From the age of 11, she was trained in the musical genres of opera, jazz, rock and R&B. She soon began recording pop tunes and performing at popular concert venues in New York and the Tristate area.
“I opened for Lady Gaga when she debuted,” recalls Monaco-Martino. “We have shared the same stage many times together in places like the Bitter End [In Manhattan]. I got to talk to her, and it was really cool.
It wasn’t long before Monaco-Martino realized she didn’t want to be in the spotlight. She wanted to be behind the scenes, grooming other artists for fame. It was then that she became a development coach. During her career, she has taught voice, songwriting, performance and artist development. This led her to partner with her husband, who is also a musician, to open ET Studio Productions in Charleston in 2013. This company prepares artists for the big stage.
In 2020, the couple expanded to launch ET Labz, which teaches a myriad of art classes to kids and welcomes kids with special needs, Monaco-Martino said.
AND SMALL AT A GLANCE
Address: 630 Sharrotts Road.
Apple Music: music.apple.com/us/artist/and-littles/1626225676
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