Craig Taubman's memories of childhood Hanukkahs are as crisp as a December night. The tantalizing smell of his mother's latkes sizzling in the kitchen. Glowing candles on the menorah as he and his three siblings took turns lighting them. The pleasures (and pitfalls) of ransacking his parents' closet for a sneak peek at his gifts.
Such vivid recall comes in handy when the 39-year-old entertainer is writing songs for his nationally known children's pop group, Craig 'n Co. The Studio City resident sings hip, sometimes thoughtful tunes that speak from a kid's point of view. His music and music videos have been carried by Walt Disney Records and Nickelodeon and used in family television and films, including HBO's "Happily Ever After" and Paramount's "Andre."
But Taubman's memories also enhance his second career as a singer and songwriter of Jewish music for children and adults. He released his first Jewish recording at 19, when the director of his Jewish supplementary school decided to bankroll the effort to give his academically "pathetic" student a chance to explore his musical potential, Taubman said.
Taubman has written, performed and recorded 14 albums that blend Jewish teachings and traditions with kid-friendly lyrics and a mix of musical styles. He notes with pride that "One World," a cut from his latest, "My Newish Jewish Discovery," has ranked high on adult contemporary charts for seven weeks.