What Dreams are Made Of? – An interview with Aoede

Arts and Culture Books Interviews
The Dream Gates of the UnderworldArtistic Echoes recently had the pleasure of interviewing Aoede (Lisa Sniderman) about her new story telling CD What Dream are Made Of?
Could you tell us a little bit about your storytelling CD “What Dreams are Made Of”?

Aoede’s award-winning musical story What Are Dreams Made Of? (WADMO) (Sep 2013) is a unique meld of magic, mythology and musical-an inventive work combining narration, story, colorful offbeat characters and music intended for young adult audiences. In the magical kingdom of Wonderhaven, Aoede the Muse has a bad dream in which she is continually haunted by a white witch, children go missing, and Aoede has to explore realms of darkness and light, both overland and underworld, where she encounters magical characters including fairies, goblins and dream gods, and struggles to get to the heart of her dream.

WADMO has received five Children’s awards, Grammy consideration, and an endorsement from KidsFIRST, and is now being adapted to Children’s Musical Theater! San Carlos Children’s Theater is hosting a staged reading May 24, 2014: see: http://www.scctkids.com/auditions/what-are-dreams-made-of-auditions/ 

What Are Dreams Made Of? and its edgier themes are aimed at mature tweens and teens. Fans ofThe Hunger Games, the Twilight series, and Harry Potter will enjoy the compelling storyline and infectious songs.

Now, this is a sequel to your CD “Is Love a Fairy Tale” could you tell us a little bit about that piece and how your new work differs from the first CD?

ILAFT smallIs Love A Fairy Tale? (Sep 2012) is my first musical story. It weaves charming spoken narrative around songs from my Skeletons of the Muse (Apr 2012) CD and new compositions that were released as Singles: Little Things, Make It Up As You Go, Neapolitan Day. Is Love A Fairy Tale? takes Aoede the Muse on a quest in the magical Kingdom of Wonderhaven to search for LOVE. She meets colorful characters along the way, such as Binkle the Garden Gnome, Morpheus the shape-shifter, and Albert the spaceman ice cream vendor, each of whom tells her something about Love and sing duets with Aoede. It plays like a musical audiobook and is geared towards young adult audiences. The idea came to me after I held a multi-media CD release party (a song-cycle performance combining live music, reading from my fairy tale book, and videos) and debut of my music video “Fairy Tale Love.” After the performance, adults and kids alike kept expressing how they loved my childlike stories and music, and it provoked my producer to encourage me to make a children’s album. Is Love A Fairy Tale? received many Children’s Awards and Grammy Consideration, and songs such as “Fairy Tale Love” received industry accolades including: WINNER in International Songwriting Competition, Finalist in John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and Nominee for Independent Music Awards (you can VOTE for Aoede here!:http://www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/13th/Song/Childrens-Music).

I enjoyed the many challenges, artistic growth, collaborations, opportunity to reach a new niche, and all the fan and industry accolades so much from creating Is Love A Fairy Tale? I wanted to create another musical story revolving around Aoede’s adventues in Wonderhaven. This time I center on a theme I’m sure tweens, teens and adults have strong associations with: dreams. This is a much darker story, and unlike Fairy Tale, my producer and I created the story and music for What Are Dreams Made Of? simultaneously, each informing the other. It is very theatrical and you can really experience that aspect when you hear the characters’ voices. While Is Love A Fairy Tale? found it’s sizable audience with a younger crowd, WADMO is a bit edgier and intended for mature teens and tweens. Both stories involved the collaboration and contributions of amazing musicians, voice-over actors and my producer. Guest voice artists include renowned actor Michael Des Barres (“Phobetor”) and David Yow (“Luk”), founding member of the band The Jesus Lizard. The stories were also brought to life through the beautiful illustrations of the CD Covers and expert detail in the characters (see websites for more)!
How did you come up with the character Aoede?

I have been identifying with Aoede (A-E-D), the Muse of Song in Greek Mythology, as an artist since late 2005. I come from quirky folk pop and wanted an affiliation with the muse as a reminder to continually be inspired and to inspire. I have always been drawn to mythology and to young-adult fiction and struggles. As I worked on my first musical story, I noticed the common theme in Skeletons of the Muse songs was love, and that Aoede was always singing about aspects of Love: falling in or for love, love on the rocks, lamenting lost love… so I carried that theme through to my story of a Muse searching for Love in a magical kingdom. The Muse was Aoede. I realized Aoede’s adventures in Wonderhaven are stories I want to tell. They help to instill imagination in kids and even can help them think about topics like dreams or love in new ways. Adults have commented that these are NOT just for kids-especially since my music appeals to adults.

aoede lisa snidermanAre there plans for a whole series of books involving these characters?
Perhaps in the future. The plan is to create musical stories on audio (CDs) and to adapt them to theater and possibly film. Right now I am adapting WADMO to theater. It will be interesting to learn what aspects work well visually and what need to change (e.g., eliminate the need for a narrator since the audience can see what is happening). I just released an APP for Is Love A Fairy Tale? It is an interactive digital musical storybook featuring 4 original catchy Aoede songs you can sing and play along with over and over. You can go on a musical adventure with Aoede in the magical Kingdom of Wonderhaven. You can enter Aoede’s enchanting world and listen as compelling narration, quirky and endearing characters, and original memorable and catchy songs and sound effects come to life. You can read the story yourself, touch the beautifully illustrated character animations, and create your own world of imagination!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aoedes-is-love-fairy-tale/id830153650?mt=8Also check out my album websites for both musical stories where you can learn more about the stories, teams, play games on Is Love A Fairy Tale? and listen to music and watch videos!www.isloveafairytale.com
It is quite a unique concept to have a musical accompaniment to a story, did you always write stories as well as songs, did they develop in tandem with each other?

With Is Love A Fairy Tale? I had many songs from Skeletons of the Muse written and wrote new compositions to work with the story I was developing. I wrote the script to tie the songs together realizing that the songs were all speaking to some aspect of the theme of love. For WADMO, I wrote the story and music together, each informing the other. While some songs from Is Love A Fairy Tale? can stand alone as Singles-such as Little Things or Make It Up As You Go (without the duet), many of the songs from WADMO are embedded as part of the unfolding story, and need to be heard in context with the story-not as a stand alone track.

The overall idea for both of these projects is to create compelling fairy tale stories for tweens, and I had a wonderful time rising to the challenge of writing the entire script and creating a whole world for Aoede. I’ve come to believe that everything I do is art, whether I am making a music video or writing a script for a children’s album. It isn’t so much the medium but the expression and desire to connect with new audiences that drives me. Music is my lifeline…I just can’t stop creating.
Is it only available as a Storytelling CD or is there a paperback version, can you buy the album separately?

Is Love A Fairy Tale? is available as a CD: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/is-love-a-fairy-tale/id558077206?ign-mpt=uo%3D4.
Full songs from the CD are available on Skeletons of the Muse: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/skeletons-of-the-muse/id518439558
and as singles (Little Things, Make It Up As You Go, Neapolitan Day).
Additionally, the APP is available for Is Love A Fairy Tale?
WADMO is available as a CD: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/what-are-dreams-made-of/id706260612

What advice would you give to new authors who want to get their work recognised, how did you end up getting published?

Follow your heart and your dreams. Always make the best most compelling product you can make-regardless of your medium (books, video, music, painting). Put everything you have into your joy and passion. Find a team to help you that believes in you and your work. Keep learning, writing or singing or playing despite rejection. Identify  your goals, what success is to you, and then decide your plan for how to get there and keep checking in. Change your course along the way to adapt to your changing goals. I used to be a DIY (Do It Yourself) Artist who has discovered that it is really DIT (Do It Together). Don’t be afraid to pave your own path. Discover your niche. You can’t be everything to everybody.

Where can people find out more?

I love to connect! You can connect with me online here:


  1. Thank you for featuring Aoede! Loved your insightful questions and hope folks will find these musical stories interesting!


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