Meet Lachandra Anjelica, a young mother and participant in Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, a program that pairs pregnant women and new mothers with professional artists to write personal lullabies for their babies, supporting maternal health, aiding child development, and strengthening the bond between parent and child.
Lachandra had the unique opportunity of being part of the project for two years in a row, writing two unique lullabies for her daughter Whitley as she watched her grow. She stood out as an exceptional songwriter, with a knack for both lyricism and melody. She was fearless during the project, recording lead vocals on both of her lullabies and steering their musical development. Her openness to sharing ideas and her friendly warmth in supporting others through music are inspiring. We followed up with Lachandra to see how she’s doing and to hear more about her experience with the project.
You had the unique experience of being part of the Lullaby Project two years in a row. What was it like writing your first lullaby? Was writing your second lullaby the same or different?
The first time I wrote a lullaby for my daughter Whitley, I was nervous. Some nights I would just stare at her in her sleep and she would have the biggest smile. She made dreaming look so easy. As I began the writing process, Whitley had fallen asleep. Thus, “Whitley’s Song” was born. My daughter has been my greatest inspiration. The second time around I wanted my lullaby to reflect the beauty of my relationship with my daughter. While writing “My Little Piece of Mind,” I was confident that I wanted Whitley to know that she can do anything and everything she puts her mind to. To know there is nothing to fear. I had an idea for a musical composition. When I heard the trumpet play, the lines for “My Little Piece of Mind” flowed naturally.
What were the messages of your two lullabies? What do you hope Whitley will know about you as a mom when she gets older?
I wrote both lullabies to inspire my daughter to dream and be courageous in achieving all her dreams. As Whitley gets older I want her to know that her mom is her greatest supporter. I want her to know that I love her and that all things are possible with faith.
You sang and recorded the vocals on both of your lullabies! Do you ever sing or make music with Whitley? How does it feel when you sing to her?
Singing with Whitley is my most enjoyable pastime. Whether it’s the ABC’s or just being silly singing about weather or cookies, Whitley and I love singing together. She even began to mimic hand-clapping patterns. It feels amazing to know that she and I share a love for music. When I sing to her, she smiles and dances. Right before I finish a song, she positions her hands to clap, looks at me, and as I hold the last note she begins clapping. There is no better feeling.
How did Whitley react when she heard her lullabies for the first time? Did she react differently when she heard “Whitley’s Song” and “My Little Piece of Mind”? What do you hope Whitley will learn from music in general?
When Whitley heard “Whitley’s Song,” I think she was crying because she had just awakened from a nap. After “My Little Piece of Mind” was released on SoundCloud, Whitley’s dad went online and played it for her. He said “She knew it was her mommy singing. She turned around looking for you.” I hope Whitley will learn that music brings people together. Music is expression and music is diverse.
What are your hopes and dreams for you, Whitley, and the songs?
My hope is that Whitley grows to love music and takes an interest in production and composition. I dream that Whitley will one day write a lullaby for her daughter.
How has being part of the Lullaby Project impacted you? Has it changed you as a musician or parent in any way?
Taking part in the Lullaby Project has encouraged me to use music as a teaching tool. Since writing the second lullaby, I’ve written songs to encourage Whitley to walk, use the potty, and count with her fingers. As a parent, singing has helped me to care for Whitley in difficult times with ease.
Would you recommend that other families write songs for their children, and if so, why?
I recommend that other families write songs for their child because it builds a special bond that only you and your child share. It is a great way to express your love and hopes for your child. It is a keepsake you will cherish forever.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience with the Lullaby Project?
The Lullaby Project has truly inspired me to believe in myself and my ability to tell stories through music. This experience has encouraged me to explore music production. I aim to write and record a collection of lullabies in the future.