The Imagination Movers story is the ultimate example of the power of imagination.
In 2003, four New Orleans friends – Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith – started gathering after their kids’ bedtimes to write songs and brainstorm ideas about a children’s television show. Two years later, they had become the latest sensation of their musical city, attracting parents and children alike with an eclectic pop sensibility and lyrical turns about healthy snacks and playing catch and conquering childhood fears of bedtime. Lines to the Movers’ shows stretched down blocks.
When the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina, the far-reaching disaster turned the Movers’ world upside down, but it didn’t put an end to their dream. Even while band members salvaged their belongings from flooded homes – and Smith reported to his day job as a fire fighter and first responder – they never stopped living according to the Movers’ motto: “Reach high, think big, work hard, have fun!”
This motto has served the band well. Not even the Imagination Movers could have fully imagined the band’s current breakthrough success. The Movers have filmed three seasons of their hit music-and-comedy series for Disney Junior and they have sold roughly 250,000 CDs and DVDs to date. Critical acclaim includes nods from Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times, which reported the Movers are “prized by many parents for non-condescending lyrics and music that evokes the Beastie Boys or Red Hot Chili Peppers.” Parenting magazine praised the band’s “dash of rebellion” and songs that are “fresh and treacle-free.” National television appearances include The View, Live with Regis & Kelly, and Good Morning America. In 2009, the Imagination Movers won a Daytime Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for outstanding original song in the children's show/animation category.
The Movers have also become a force to be reckoned with in the concert business. Their 2011 “In a Big Warehouse” tour attracted 150,000 fans and was one of Pollstar magazine’s top 100 tours of the year. They received stellar reviews from concertgoers thanks to the guys’ highly interactive music and winning ways with an audience.
For the Movers, it all starts with the songs. “Above all, we love following our muse and trying to write the best songs possible,” says Collins. “We’re proud of the hooks and production throughout Rock-O-Matic.” The band never sets out to target songs to specific age groups, Collins adds. Instead, a typical Movers set is “a collection of catchy pop/rock songs that we hope reflects our love and respect for the art form.”
Movers songs are inspired by their kids at home (Collins has five children; Poche and Durbin each have two.) but they also reveal a far-reaching musical sensibility, from hip-hop to country and numerous points in between. “Old funk, new wave, cool grooves, a little bit of punky stuff," Smitty says. "You listen to our music and you can pull a lot of that out.”
In addition to showcasing the Movers’ music, the Disney Junior series has introduced international audiences (it airs in more than 55 countries and territories, in twelve languages) to the band members’ lively comedic talents. “We all love the classic comedy,” Scott says. “Lots of people talk about the Monkees, which are an obvious reference for us. But really it’s Jerry Lewis, the Marx Brothers, Carol Burnett. Old-school fun.”
Next up for the Movers: Razor + Tie is releasing a brand-new Movers’ CD/DVD, titled Rock-O-Matic, -- and new Disney Junior episodes will debut soon -- as the band prepares to hit the road for a massive 2012 North American concert tour. Says Collins: “Our goal is to make many kids’ first concert experience also one of their parents’ most memorable experiences. We hope everyone leaves needing a nap!"