Interview: Disney Junior’s Genevieve Goings
Interviewed by Destinee Hughes / Photo’s by Jacory Gums
Genevieve Goings, the host of Disney Junior’s popular music video show “Choo Choo Soul,” knows exactly how to woo an all-age audience. Whether she’s using her charismatic personality to charm the children, writing music for Los Angeles’s top R&B and pop artist, or creating unique bow-ties and suspenders, Goings always exceed expectations in the most harmonious of ways.
With a musical lineage, Goings had a natural inclination for singing from an early start. She began her career in San Francisco, focusing mainly on hip-hop and R&B, singing hooks for local artist. She eventually ventured off into recording voice-overs for popular toy companies such as Hello Kitty, Leapfrog, and many more. In April 2010, she and her skilled team created “The Happy Hearts Club,” a fitness show for kids exposing them to futuristic dance moves to help keep them engaged in physical movement. Goings has also worked with Fisher-Price on its “Little People” toy line. While she was initially approached to write a new theme song for the brand, her innovative ideas and dedication allowed her to write six additional songs and even provide the voice for the teacher, Miss Hugg, in the animated web-series. It’s safe to say that being the host for “Choo Choo Soul” for over a decade has certainly opened many doors for children’s market opportunities for Goings.
Genevieve currently has her hand in numerous pots, including writing phonics curriculum’s for schools in China. Her latest venture is absolutely one worth looking forward to- an original line of bow-ties, ties, and suspenders for kids. If one thing is certain it’s clear that Genevieve is undeniably talented, and with fitting last name, she knows exactly where her future is going.
Destiny Hughes: When did you realize that you wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry?
Genevieve Goings: I have always had an interest in the Entertainment Business, and from a very young age I loved singing and performing. I didn’t, however, think that I could ACTUALLY do it as my profession until I finished high school and began recording in studios. Watching a song start as an idea and take on its own life; being pressed into CD’s, moving to radio and being produced into music videos, live shows, and more, I was hooked!
DH: How do you balance working on so many projects at once?
GG: I am still learning that perfect balance! I try to dedicate certain days to certain things, and mornings are always for emails and social media. I write all of my to-do’s on my calendar and just schedule my focus throughout the day. I add time for creative and goal-oriented items just as if they were an appointment.
DH: What interests you the most in children’s television shows?
GG: I just love the fact that there is no wrong or right way to do it. Random silliness can totally work in the kids space. Children are so open, honest and willing to be entertained. It is truly the best job ever!
DH: What has been the most satisfying part about your job?
GG: I truly get to touch people’s lives with what I do. I have been on television regularly for over 10 years now, and those little babies who used to watch me are now grown and onto other things, utilizing those fundamentals that they learned from my songs! I love to hear from parents about how so many special memories were created with their families to my music. I have heard from parents of non-verbal autistic children saying that their children sing along to my music! It is truly incredible and so much more than me just wanting to be a “star,” this is real-life stuff that means something!
DH: How does it feel when people recognize your voice from previous works?
GG: Ahh, it’s the best! I feel wonderful if someone recognizes my voice!! That means I am on the right path and creating a brand!
DH: Why is it important to you to keep children healthy and active with your “Happy Hearts Club” program?
GG: Our habits that we form as children shape our lives and livelihood as we grow up! Childhood obesity, diabetes and more are silent villains that can cause major harm to our youth. I felt that since I have a direct portal to these kids and they know me as someone who the get up and dance with, it was my job to keep that flow going and help them exercise!
DH: Tell us about the musical curriculum your writing for schools in China?
GG: It is a little-known fact that Disney has created an initiative called “Disney English,” which teaches English as a second language in China and beyond. They have over 20 schools in China and I have written over 100 lesson songs for them, utilizing their target vocabulary and a bit of “Disney Magic.” I take the words and phrases that they are learning, and create a pop-style song in the theme of whatever Disney character or brand that the lesson exists in. For example, if the class is learning about “Time” in the style of “The Lion King,” I will write a song with African-inspired sounds and beats using the words that they require. It is such an incredible project and exercise for a songwriter! It is also magical to see the finished product, when they pair my song with clips from the classic films!
DH: If you weren’t the host for Disney Junior’s Choo Choo Soul, what other career would you have?
GG: This has been my focus for so long, I don’t even know how to answer that! But if I wasn’t on screen, I would be on my way to being an executive at Disney. If I wasn’t in the Children’s market at all, I would probably still be in the entertainment business, writing music for other artsts. I probably would have continued with the band that I was in (Legato; neo-soul R&B) and continued in the Video game voice-over industry.
DH: What inspired the creation of your newest bowties, ties, and suspenders line?
GG: In my role as the Magic Train Conductor on “Choo Choo Soul,” I wear a tie, and in my independent children’s music brand “Do You Know?” I wear ties and bow ties, and I always mention this: “You don’t have to show your skin to be a superstar!” This mantra resonates with parents and definitely has become part of my brand message. It was a natural move to have my own tie line!
DH: What can we expect from you in the future?
GG: I plan on producing more content for children and families across many different platforms, casting more child-talent in videos and preparing them for the business. I want to expand on my Radio Disney Junior (available on all app stores) show with episodes and live shows. My stretch-goal is to have a performing arts camp that eventually can be franchised and expanded nation-wide. I want to grow my clothing line (Troy James, The Genevieve Goings Collection) into apparel and suits, and will continue writing music for children. I do have dreams of being on Broadway and making musical cameos in films as well! Phew! I’d better get started!