Most days you’ll find Dimitri Stamos behind the cash register at Charlottesville’s Market Street Market. But while his face may look familiar, he’s banking on his voice to strike a chord with kids. His album, 10 Animal Songs, features fun, lively music that appeals to all ages. We caught up with the Charlottesville resident about dreams, humor, and piggies in the woods.
At 28, you’ve produced your first album. How’d you come up with the idea?
It started out as a fun way to play with words. Then I had a dream about an alligator that was a waiter who served me tea. I woke up and that song just poured out of me. There were more animals appearing in my dreams and I couldn’t stop it. I knew I had an album in me.
Why kids’ songs? Are there a lot of children in your life who you “practice” your songs on?
I have a huge Irish Catholic family with 20 cousins! My audience for a long time was just my friends in town. The songs are definitely meant for kids, but I basically just keep writing until I laugh, so there’s general adult humor in my songs too. They kind of have something for everyone, and that’s what makes them fun.
Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing?
The best songs are the ones that are the easiest to write. I have a song, “Piggies in the Woods,” and it used to be about lightning bugs. I worked on it for weeks but it wasn’t working for me. I took out the lightning bugs, and thought, “What would be the funniest creature walking through the woods?” And I decided on piggies, and it turned out to be a great song.
Have there been any surprises for you?
Just seeing how many people have jumped behind my CD. My mother and my aunts are out selling my CDs for me! It’s awesome to have that kind of support.
What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten?
I love hearing a friend tell me, “My kid has been listening to your song every day for the past week!”
What’s next for you?
I’ve got a new album in the works but I want to focus on my first album, maybe doing shows and getting them out online. I’d like to design an iPad app where people could get all my songs. But my life is an unwritten book right now. I have big dreams and I’m looking to follow them wherever they take me.
You can hear samples, download his songs, and order his CD at dimitridimitri.com.—Lynn Thorne