Tina Harris is known for her charming musical talent in Australia’s favourite kids series Lah-Lah’s Adventures. Being in a five-member band and entertaining the hearts of children around the country, Harris has combined her passion for Music and Early Childhood education by bringing the gift of song and dance to little ones nation-wide. With her experience in music and cultivating a career she absolutely loves, her and her husband (Mark Harris) have had quite a journey building the forefront of Lah-Lah’s Adventures.
“So my background is with Opera Australia. I used to sing and tour with them for many years and then Mark and I moved overseas and came back to have our first child,” Harris continues. “We’ve got two daughters; Lily is thirteen and Emily is ten. When we had babies, my world changed dramatically and it wasn’t about work, it was really about the children.
“A friend at the office said to me, ‘Why don’t you teach early childhood music?’ And it seemed like a really good fit and it was you know, all the things I was interested in, so I opened up a class. The class was so popular, it turned into a school and the school turned into four schools at the end of every term.”
After holding a family concert with her husband, encouragement from her loved ones formed into a bigger and better idea. From there, Tina and her career as Lah-Lah was built through networking and her enthusiasm in entertaining kids through live entertainment.
“Mark would come in with his double bass and we would do a little concert for the family and it was from there they said, ‘You guys are great! You should do a show – a live show,’ she says. “I thought it was a great idea, so we got our friends together. We’ve been friends with the guys in the band for years, and Mark [has] played with them in a whole lot of other different bands and we self-produced our first live show.”
“We produced our first CD and I invited along the Sydney Opera house, The Enmore Theatre and Nickelodeon. All three of them signed us up afterwards. When we met the beautiful lady from Nickelodeon, she wanted us to make some video clips together and that’s what really started the desire to make TV; it’s a great niche to work in and it’s really fun so yes, that started our crazy journey.”
Even with Lah-Lah taking off and being a brilliant success for children, Tina still had some bright ideas in mind for the rest of the year. With many projects lined up, this fueled her creativity even more as a music professional in kids entertainment. She wanted to educate children through song and dance, creating a positive impact and highlighting the importance of the creative arts in Early Childhood.
“We signed to Sony Music last year and we’ve got a brand new Christmas album, which is being launched later this year after this tour,” She says. “I’m really passionate about Early Childhood Education so we have a program that we’ve crowdfunded called Music room, which basically has been designed to help provide more Early Childhood Music resources for schools and daycares. We’re really passionate about making new music for our YouTube channel so I just love making stuff.”
With her bubbly personality, Tina juggles her job with motherhood, noting that there’s no such thing as balance when it comes to her role as a parent and child entertainer. Sharing her close bond with her daughters, she gives insights on how much she appreciates the quirks of parenthood, forming an acceptance that even if she’s much older and wiser, doesn’t necessarily make her a perfect individual.
“You have to let it go and understand that there is no such thing as balance,” Tina continues. “I’m the mum in the playground; you never know what time the school bus from camp is getting back or if the kids are meant to wear a yellow t-shirt. I’m always texting – they all know that I’m hopeless. I just think as a mum, we all strive for this sense of perfection of being a ‘perfect mum’ and that’s just not me. I really am bit of a walking disaster and once I embrace that, life just runs really smoothly.”
But she does add that she can’t start the day right without spending a portion of her time meditating.
“The one thing I do, which I really think helps my life-work balance is to get up 20 mins earlier than the kids every day and I meditate in that time,” Tina says. “Before the house wakes up, I just find that it defrags my mental hard drive and that’s how I kinda get through the day. If I don’t do that, I’m a chaotic mess. I need those 20 mins in the morning and everything runs smoothly.”
Tina shows that she is a strong and determined woman, always striving for the best for herself and her family. Even while touring around Australia, she never leaves any family member behind. The Lah-Lah franchise has deemed to be successful and has channeled the hearts of families to enjoy song and dance with their little ones. With Tina and her drive for creativity, it’s no wonder Lah-Lah has come with amazing opportunities and little moments that make her career worthwhile.
“I think the biggest challenge for us is that a lot of people don’t realise that we’re a family business; we’re a mum and dad who are running everything in-house so we do everything ourselves,” she states. “We design the merchandise, we book the venues, we do the marketing, we’ve got a fantastic publicist but we do all the marketing and the day-to-day [so] running of the tour is a massive job. It’s really special for us to be able to travel right across Australia and meet so many families in so many different areas.
“What I really love about the shows is how engaging the audience is, so there are some beautiful moments where we get right down to the edges. We have this great song which starts off on small instruments to really big instruments, and just the look on the children’s faces – it’s just magic. I think we’re probably the only band in Australia that does this after every show; the entire band comes down into the audience and we invite families to come over so they can feel and touch the instruments. For us, that tactile experience of when a child actually touches a musical instrument and sees it being played by a professional musician – that’s magic.”