As frontwoman for Big Truck, children’s singer Rebecca Frezza brings big music and big fun to audience members both big and small. Celebrity Parents visited Rebecca and her family at their home in New Jersey to talk about Big Truck, big music, and the Big 40.
Let’s talk about your beginnings.
I always knew that I wanted to perform. I was one of those kids who would put on shows for their parents’ friends. After college, I moved to New York to pursue a career in dance. I studied with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. I was performing in shows, and touring all the time. As much as I loved it, it wasn’t the life I wanted. I wanted to have a family, roots and have a home. I left the theater, not knowing what else was going to happen.
After my husband and I had our first child, Lucy, I started taking her to a Music Together class. It was fun. The woman running the program knew I had a background in the performing arts and asked me if I wanted to teach. I went into the teacher training program not sure if this was what I wanted to do. I fell in love with the program and got inspired to start creating music of my own.
Some of the songs you wrote were actually published by Music Together.
Yes, the first song I wrote had an uneven meter chant. It ended up being published in the Music Together books. It was incredible to me that the first song I wrote was now being sung by kids all over the country! That started the snowball effect; I started writing more, and the next two songs I wrote were also published by Music Together. Kids were having fun with the music, and so were their parents. I thought, “Maybe I’m onto something,” and I approached a local producer with my demo tape. We worked together, and my first Big Truck album was released on my 40th birthday.
That’s an amazing milestone, and to accomplish it on your 40th makes it even more special.
I think 40 is such a scary age for women. It seems to be the threshold into middle age. You begin to think, “My kids are starting to have their own lives. What is going to be personal and relevant for me?” Being able to find that again — and reinvent myself at the age of 40 — was an amazing feeling. It was like starting a whole new chapter for me. I had a big party to celebrate the album and my birthday.
Let’s talk about Big Truck. How did you come up with the name?
One of the first songs I wrote was called “Big Truck”. I felt that the music for Music Together was more girl-centric, so I wanted to create something more boy-centric. I wrote the song, and it was a huge hit. It became a signature song for me.
Then, as Big Truck started to evolve, it was obvious that we were a big band. Sometimes we have had ten band members on stage. When people think of kids’ music, they think of a girl with a guitar, and that’s it. Big Truck has been different in that we are a full band. We are BIG, with a big sound, big energy and a big stage presence. The name fit, and it stuck.
How has the band grown over the years?
In the beginning, we didn’t have a signature sound. Members would come and go, and we were finding our way. We wanted to expose kids to different genres of music. While that was fun, I didn’t find my center as an artist. Over the years, we’ve created a more cohesive sound. It’s unique to who we are. It’s a bluesy rock sound that parents and kids can enjoy together.
What does Big Truck have going on today?
We just finished production on our enhanced EP. It has six brand new songs, and two remakes from the first album. It also has a video component.
We should mention that Roscoe Orman, who plays Gordon on Sesame Street, has collaborated with you on one of the songs.
Roscoe collaborated with us on the “Hey-O” song. That was an amazing experience. Roscoe and I have traveled in the same circles for years now. Big Truck plays the Children’s Day at the South Street Seaport every year. Roscoe has been the MC for this event, and he actually sang with us at the last performance. It was spontaneous, and wonderful. So when it was time to go into the recording studio, we naturally wanted him to sing it with us. I didn’t know if he would be willing, but he was. He was just lovely about it, in his laid-back way. He was such a pleasure to work with, and the song came out great. The energy we have suits his style and his voice.
Your children have also performed with you. Do they still perform with you today?
Lucy and Matt are really into music. Surprise, surprise! [laughs] Lucy has been on every record we’ve done, and Matthew plays drums at numerous shows of mine. They’re at a point now, though, where they don’t want to really be involved as much. Lucy has a group of her own, Belle, and Matthew plays with a rock band called Grounded. The kids’ bands have often opened for us, or they will play after us. Event promoters have started booking them on their own!
How does that make you feel?
Really proud. It’s great that they can make music on their terms. They’re not pressured to make my kind of music. They have found their own niche, and it’s nice to see them grow and branch out. They’re doing it because they love it.
Between Big Truck and your family, how do you find your balance?
It can be challenging. I’m very fortunate, because most of my business-related issues can be dealt with while the kids are at school. Ninety percent of my gigs are on the weekend, so my husband is home with them. In that way, we do balance, but there are times when it’s hard. We’ve been through our struggles, and it can start to wear, but it is worth it.
The kids see how passionate I am about Big Truck, and I think it’s a good life lesson for them. They know they’re my first priority, but it’s important for me (as it is for all women) to have something of my own, too. I started this new career at the age of 40, and now I’m 47. I think it’s inspiring to women that I started this new career at that age. It’s never, ever too late to find your passion in life, and I have.