Latin Grammy winner Mister G is known for his catchy songs that are beloved by families all over the world. In September, he released his eighth album, Mundo Verde/Green World, which features a collection of bilingual songs that support global conservation using a blend of musical styles. Mister G collaborated with world-renowned musicians from all over Latin America to create “Mundo Verde/Green World” which recently garnered him his 4th Parents' Choice Gold Award.

On December 17 at 11 AM, Mister G will be wrapping up his 2017 national tour with a Hanukkah-themed concert at The Jewish Museum in New York City.

He'll be singing original songs from his award-winning album, “The Mitzvah Bus. ”

In a recent and exclusive interview, Mister G discussed his experience making the new album and his work as a bilingual Children's musician:

Music, entertainment, and song lyrics

Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you know that you were destined to work as a musical entertainer?

Mister G (MG): I was always banging on pots and pans as a baby, and when I was five years old I announced to my parents that I was going to be a musician when I grew up. This came as a surprise since no one in my family is very musical, but they had already figured out that I was going to be a little bit different! After years of begging, they finally gave in and got me a guitar when I turned nine, and I’ve been playing and writing songs ever since.

MM: What inspired you to focus on family music?

MG: I started an arts-in-education side project with my last touring rock band. We used to perform in clubs late into the night and then find ourselves playing in an elementary school cafeteria early the next morning. The contrast between the different audiences was pretty dramatic!

I was really struck by the energy and enthusiasm that kids have for music, and it intrigued me. Over time I realized that I was enjoying the school shows more than the club gigs, so I went back and got a Masters degree in Education and started writing songs to entertain my former elementary school students. The next thing I knew, I was back onstage and on the road performing songs for kids, but now at 10:00 PM instead of 10:00 PM!

MM: How would you describe your sound, and do you have any favorite instruments?

MG: My sound is a reflection of the many styles I’ve studied and played over the years: funk, folk, blues, jazz, rock, reggae and lots of Latin and World rhythms. I’ve been a guitar player since I was nine, but I love playing anything with frets (mandolin, banjo, bass, etc.).

MM: What inspires your lyrics and songs, and do you have any special favorites?

MG: I’m a big animal lover -- I have two cats and a dog—and I love writing about different animal characters: “Sneaky Chihuahua,” “Cocodrilo,” and “Shark in my Bathtub.” My last album that won the Latin GRAMMY was actually called Los Animales.

My travels around the world give me plenty of inspiration for songs, including “Gonna Take my Hat,” “Blast Off,” and “Bailamos.” And food—I love writing about food: “Chocolalala,” “Pizza for Breakfast,” “Grilled Cheese.”

Albums, artists, concerts, and projects

MM: Can you tell us a bit about your latest album and the songs on it?

MG: My new album, Mundo Verde/Green World, is a collection of original, bilingual songs with an environmental theme. All of the songs were inspired by my lifelong curiosity and love of nature.

The title track is a samba rallying cry for all of us to do what we can to protect this one planet we share, “El Coquí/The Frog” is written from the perspective of a frog in the rainforest of Puerto Rico, while “Las Estrellas/The Stars” imagines a child fantasizing about traveling into space.

MM: Why did you decide to work with so many international artists for this latest album?

MG: The songs I wrote for Mundo Verde/Green World draw upon a wide range of Latin genres (merengue, samba, salsa, bossa nova), so I really wanted to record with artists who are masters of those specific styles. The project ended up being an incredible cross-cultural collaboration with recording sessions all over Latin America and around the US.

MM: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges--and rewards--associated with working in music?

MG: When I was starting out, people told me, “You should only be a musician if you can’t imagine doing anything else.” I agree with that. The music business has always been tough, and it may be harder now than ever before.

It’s very difficult to develop your own identity as an artist and build and sustain an audience. The flipside is that if you work hard and have a little luck, the rewards are incredible. Traveling the world playing my songs for wonderful crowds of kids and families is the best job I can imagine.

MM: What can attendees expect from your concerts?

MG: I perform as a duo act with my wife, Katherine Jamieson (aka Missus G), and our concerts are high energy, dynamic, and very interactive. She’s dancing and singing with the kids on every song, so they’re completely engaged with the music on every level. No two shows are the same as I love being spontaneous and responding to the crowd that’s in front of me.

The goal is to get everyone in the audience involved, which means that our concerts often end with hundreds of kids dancing onstage with us.

MM: How did you book a show at The Jewish Museum and did you makeup all these songs yourself?

MG: I’ve written eight albums of original music for children, and all the songs we perform in the live set are original. We performed at The Jewish Museum a few years ago, and they asked us to return. We’re looking forward to playing a Hanukkah concert!

MM: You’re Jewish, but you speak Spanish fluently, and you often perform in South America. How did you get interested in this culture, and what was the process of learning the language?

MG: Originally, I started studying Spanish in junior high because I was hoping to become a professional baseball player and thought it would be useful to communicate with my future major league teammates.

I ended up playing through college, but I didn’t quite make it to the big leagues. However, I kept studying Spanish and traveled extensively throughout Latin America. I’ve always been inspired by the language, the culture, the food, and especially the music.

MM: How do you envision your career expanding over the coming decade, are you working on any new projects right now, and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

MG: One exciting development is that I signed a multi-book deal with Penguin Random House and will be releasing several children’s books based on my songs. The first one, Senorita Mariposa, will be coming out next year. I’m also working on a bilingual children’s musical. In terms of music, I’m working on an exciting new project. I can’t tell you much, but here’s a hint: it involves jambalaya, Mardi Gras beads, and brass bands.