“Papa” Neil Sedaka On How His Childhood Shapes His Art

Source: AVRO via Wikimedia Commons

Multi-Grammy winning musician, children’s storybook author and former Brighton Beach resident Neil Sedaka has never forgotten his roots. With his second children’s book, Dinosaur Pet, Sedaka employs his family to help him tell the story.

The book is co-written by Sedaka and his son, Marc. It also comes with a CD of songs recorded by Sedaka and his three grandchildren.

His creative work has become a family affair.  This is no surprise to Sedaka, who states that his childhood greatly shaped him as an artist.

Sedaka lived in a two-bedroom apartment with several generations of his immediate family. He said that the apartment was “filled with 10 other people: my mother, father, my grandparents, my older sister Ronnie and my five aunts. To say this experience shaped me as an artist would be an understatement.”

As for his adult life, he was never far from the ones he loved. He lived across the street from his parents and took his children on the road with him whenever he went on tour.

“My son Marc used to introduce me at concerts; most notably at my comeback show at The Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1974. My daughter Dara and I scored one of the few father and daughter-hit singles with ‘Should’ve Never Let You Go’ in 1980,” he said. It all draws on his experiences growing up in a tight-knit family in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.

Sedaka’s colorful childhood in Brighton Beach filled with his close-knit family left an indelible mark on the man as an artist. Now, he’s glad to pass that on to his own family.

“I’m very proud attending their art shows and their recitals. Sitting in the audience, surrounded by all the other doting grandparents, I’m no longer singer or songwriter Neil Sedaka. I’m just ‘Papa Neil.’ And that’s when I’m the happiest,” he said.