Big Things Thursday: Ricky Kej 

#BigThingsThursday is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world. If there's someone you think I should highlight, email me: 

Ricky KejMeet Ricky Kej: Grammy award winning composer, producer and conservationist who made an astounding project for environmental consciousness. It started with what should've been a 10-minute meeting with the Prime Minister of India. Narendra Modi invited Ricky Kej and his wife, Varsha, to simply congratulate them on their Grammy win–the first New Age nomination and win for India. An hour later, they found themselves with an idea based out of their mutual altruistic desire of reminding humanity to respect and preserve our environment. "...we need to return to a symbiotic relationship with our habitat."* Unbelievably, this album was written, recorded and produced in about 2 months, to be presented and handed out at COP 21 in Paris, December, 2015. 

Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours?   
A. My intention is to try and ensure I leave this world a better place than what it was when I entered :-)

Q. How are you fulfilling this intention?   
A. By working hard, creating awareness, spreading a message through the language of music, and searching for like minded people to do the same.

Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?   
A. My only barriers have been the limitations of my imagination, and my recurring laziness, which I try and overcome through constant self motivation

Extra: Share a favorite quote that keeps you motivated.  
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Thank you Ricky, for doing really BIG THINGS for our world. There are many things about this intention that moves me to my core, one thing is remembering where we are from. And just like we'd want to care for the home we live in, we must care for the home of homes. Earth. 

I leave you with this wonderful song and video off of Ricky Kej's Shanti Samsara album, "One Song".


Shanti Samsara is currently on the Grammy ballot for Best World Music!

*Excerpt extracted from the Shanti Samsara companion book.

Big Things Thursday: Lloyd H. Miller 

#BigThingsThursday is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world. If there's someone you think I should highlight, email me:

Meet Lloyd H. Miller: musician, songwriter and performer who's passionate about history and passionate about community. For over 13 years, he's been entertaining children and their families while simultaneously teaching them wonderful pieces of history. Whether with his band the Deedle Deedle Dees or his solo sing-alongs, he gets every single person (of any age) involved in the action. 

Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours?  
 My intention is to bring music where it's not. Where it can heal people. I'm best known to the national family music scene for doing songs based on history and these are part of this mission. Lots of kids have had very negative experiences with social studies -- and with school in general -- and I want to help right that ship in whatever small way I can. I want to get kids excited about stories from stories from history. And stories in general. Show them how stories from their own lives and those of people they know are the stuff of music and art. I'm also very concerned with the "hidden people" of our society. People with serious disabilities. Kids and adults with life-threatening illnesses. People with mental illness. Kids in low-income schools that people tend to call "failing schools." These are all groups that society at large, if we're honest, doesn't really want to deal with (even though people give lip service to helping these groups). I want to bring song to these communities -- and show them they have their own songs to sing. 

Q. How are you fulfilling this intention?  
 I'm continuing to make my esoteric and combative history-themed albums although they never make any money. And I'm spending more and more time in neighborhoods, schools, and facilities where kids and adults don't get the amazing musical experiences that families with money can have.

Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?  
 Thirteen years after starting the Deedle Deedle Dees, I'm still trying to find my niche. Festivals and kids programming is aimed pretty young -- and tends to focus on upbeat, non-controversial topics. Someone recently told me that I might encounter resistance on the national level with my song about Charles Darwin. I put my head on the table and tried not to cry.

Extra: Share a favorite quote that keeps you motivated. 
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you, Lloyd, for giving so much to our community. Personally, I have learned more history (than I care to admit) thanks to you. You continue to be a personal inspiration and mentor on many levels. 

Be sure to catch the Deedle Deedle Dees at their CD release concert at Jalopy Theater on Saturday, October 22nd!

I'll leave you with one of my son's favorite Lloyd songs, "The Rocket Went Up!" off the new Deedle Deedle Dees album, Sing-a-long History, Vol II: The Rocket Went Up! available now on iTunes and CDBaby

Big Things Thursday: Linda Nelson 

#BigThingsThursday is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world.

Linda Nelson and Reggie BaileyMeet Linda Nelson: producer, songwriter, arranger and a very experienced music industry professional. I met Linda through The Recording Academy when I listened to her song for consideration for the next Grammy Awards. The song was a beautiful arrangement of rap and classical music, with a moving and inspiring message. When I asked more about it, I found out it was the theme song for her organization, Inspiring Youth Dreams.

Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours? 
A. My intention is to inspire youth to live their dreams in the music industry.  

Q. How are you fulfilling this intention? 
A. I fulfill the intention by taking them to the Grammys and all Grammy Week events as my guest.  

Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them? 
A. Barriers are mostly funding the events...I do a celebrity auction to take the youths to the Grammys and all Grammy week events. 

Check out her wonderful song, "Inspired." It really is inspiring.

For more information on Inspiring Youth Dreams, visit

Big Things Thursdays: Jon Samson 

#BigThingsThursdays is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world.  

Meet Jon Samson, music therapist, songwriter, producer...this list can get pretty long, but I love that it ends with Professional Goofball, because this man is unafraid to embrace the silly. 

Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours? 
A. My intention is to inspire people of all ages and to facilitate a sense of fun, creativity and well being.  

Q. How are you fulfilling this intention? 
A. Aside from running a music therapy practice where I work with all ages to facilitate expressive, emotional and/ or musical goals, I produce original songs which are multi-layered, so new aspects can be discovered by different folks during different stages of life. While on the surface people know me as a "children's music" artist, my real audience is the Child Archetype which resides in every single human on this planet. As we "grow up" we often lose touch with that eternally playful aspect of ourselves, and I produce my music with this part at heart.  

Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them? 
A. There is still a stigma attached to "therapy". People often see it as something that is only necessary as a result of a trauma or crisis. As a music therapist, however, I offer creative tools for self care and reflection, which I consider to be preventative medicine. One of the most inspiring teachings I can share is this: The opposite of depression is.... expression. Too often, people are afraid to say what's on their mind, even from a young age... and the more we hold onto our fears and experiences without fully processing them, the heavier we feel. So one of my goals is to help people feel lighter on a more consistent basis. Let's be clear, however, life is not about feeling happy go lucky 24/7, but being authentic and fully present is something which helps us to integrate our emotions, and to be comfortable with who we are. 

These are big things indeed, and we're grateful for his contribution to the world. I'll leave you with Jon's newest song and video, "Focus On ADD".

"I produced 'Focus On ADD' to inspire teachers and parents to encourage the innate abilities in children, instead of telling them to 'focus' on things that don't suit them. I even used the musical notes 'A-D-D' to get the point across." -Jon Samson

For more information on Jon Samson and CoCreative Music, visit

Big Things Thursdays: Carmen Castillo-Barrett 

#BigThingsThursdays is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world. 

KiddieScienceMeet Carmen Castillo-Barrett, Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Kiddie Science in Brooklyn, NY. My son enjoyed summer classes with Ms Carmen at Elk Cafe for 2 summers in a row since he was 2 1/2. The level of detail he remembers about his experience from last year, is a true testament to the dedication of Ms. Carmen's mission, "to plant the seeds of science in the hearts and minds of young children..." 

Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours?
I want to leave a mark in this world. I want kids and grown-ups to get excited about science and appreciate its beautifully complicated simplicity. 

Q. How are you fulfilling this intention?
 I teach fun, hands-on science workshops to young kids through a nonprofit I established, Kiddie Science. I hope that by working with an age group that is already naturally curious that I can plant the seed of science into the hearts and minds of young scientists. 

Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?
As a Dominican woman in the field of science, the barriers have been plenty! I deal with them by reflecting on how far I've come, taking a deep breath, and moving forward by any means necessary.

Thank you, Ms. Carmen for doing big things in our community. And I'm proud to say that my son has been reaping the benefits of your mission for the past two summers and looks forward to more. 

For more information on Kiddie Science, visit

BIG THINGS: Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award! 

I'm proud to announce that Big Things has been awarded the Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award. It's a beautiful thing and a wonderful start to big things. :)

"Brooklyn based, purple-haired Lucy Kalantari plays roaring 20?s style jazz, with a fine voice that recalls both Billie Holiday and the Andrew Sisters."
- Lahri Bond, Parents' Choice Foundation

Read the whole review:

New Music Video: Our Garden 

It's here, it's here! My first ever music video for the next single from Big Things, "Our Garden".
BIG thanks to all of the families who made this video possible. Especially all of the children who came over to be silly with me in the Kalantari Garden: Addie, Asa, Declan, Darius, Estelle, Pehya, Sammy and Teddy

And all of the kids in the fan-submitted videos: Charlotte, the Chibi Kodama band, Finn, Murph, Oliver and Teddy. 

You're all superstars! And now...without further delay, "Our Garden". Enjoy! And SHARE with the world!

Big Things Album Release Concert! 

Families, friends, let's DO THIS!
Saturday, September 24th at 11am!
We're coming back to ShapeShifter Lab in style!

Come play, dance and sing to celebrate BIG THINGS with my jazz age styled music. Enjoy a full band performance with special guests, arts & crafts, pearls and balloons. Fun for the entire family!

Saturday, September 24th, 11am
ShapeShifter Lab

11 Whitewell Place • Brooklyn, NY 11215
$10 Advance // $15 Door // Children under 2 FREE



New Album!

Lucy Kalantari: Big Things
Winner of Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award

Upcoming shows

Let's Connect!

Weekly Sing-alongs
Join me for one of my weekly bilingual jazz sing-alongs!
$10 per family

Thursdays, 11am
Elk Cafe, 154 Prospect Park SW, Brooklyn