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Mista Cookie Jar: musician & sock enthusiast

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Mista Cookie Jar:  musician & sock enthusiast

K. Bell Socks is proud to premiere Mista Cookie Jar's new hit single, "The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock.” This top-notch track reflects and transcends the best of children's music. With a hip hop game that's every bit as strong as his swagger — musician, performer, storyteller, dandy, producer, arranger and nostalgia curator, Mista Cookie Jar can do it all. And he just so happens to love socks too. Bump the new tune below (This song is EPIC!!), learn more about Mista Cookie Jar in the K. Bell exclusive interview and make sure to check out his 10 Cookie curated K.Bell socks at the end of the post!

"The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock” is an epic tale of Mista Cookie Jar & the grand pursuit for his missing sock. A storybook adventure set to atrappy-go-lucky soundtrack, Mista Cookie Jar takes you on an auto-tuned lyrical roller coaster ride all the way to the mall. At its heart, it’s an anthem encouraging persistence, self-expression, and bold fashion choices. "The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock" is available at CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and YouTube.

Q: So Mista Cookie Jar, tell us about your first musical inspirations?

A: I grew up in a little neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama. My main exposure to music was through school, Catholic church, what my family listened to, and what was on TV. When I was young, my parents listened to the Beatles on an 8-track in our station wagon. All their melodies just stuck with me. My older sisters used to watch a lot of musicals, stuff like Annie, the Sound of Music, and Grease. Like little Filipino theater nerds with southern accents, we would watch together and then act out different scenes. I also watched a lot of MTV back when all they played was music videos. I first got into rap and pop music that way. My aesthetic appreciation of the interplay between audio and visual all started with what was pumped out on the TV in the 80s.

Q: For those unfamiliar with Kindie, how would you describe it?

A: There's always been quality childrens music since it’s been a genre, I suppose. But Kindie is more of a recent movement — post-2000 I’d say. Kindie is basically indie kids music…music that’s not backed by Disney, say, or any major label. It has a very DIY aesthetic. Generally, Kindie musicians write, record, produce and distribute their music all themselves. Ideally, the musicality is top notch, and there is a focus and attention toward children and families. So you have parents in mind as well. It’s music that doesn’t talk down to children (although, sometimes, as the great Mike Phirman might say, it could talk at them). There are SO many amazing family musicians out there. It’s a beautiful community.

Q: What makes it important to kids today?

A: Most kids like what’s on the radio, and a lot of what’s on the radio is for adults really. So there isn’t something that’s really for kids. I feel like it’s important because when you have a song that you love when you are a child, it sticks with you forever. I know the music I grew up with, and when I hear it I’m brought right back to that moment of my childhood. It can mean so much more if the song was actually speaking to me at that point in my life. So a lot of the music I write is with the child in mind. But it’s also for that child after they’ve grown up. I’m almost speaking to the person now, and the person twenty years from now.

Q: Where did you come up with the name Mista Cookie Jar?

A: In my early 20’s I went bowling with some friends. My name is CJ, and they were giving us all nicknames, so they wrote my name as Cookie Jar… CJ… And the name stuck. When I started my hip hop act years ago, I went by the stage name Cookie Jar. Then when I moved to children’s music, I decided to stay with Cookie Jar, I just add the “Mista” to it, to make is a little more authoritative. M.I.S.T.A., Mystic Innocent Strolling Through Awesomeness.

Q: In terms of style and taste, who are your main musical and artistic influences?

A: It starts with the Beatles. I grew up listening to them -- as a kid, in my teens and up until now. They were always transforming their image and their look. They were on the edge of the Avant Garde while somehow capturing the heart of the people. The way they advertised themselves and the way they looked in their cover art seemed to reflect the poetry in their music. The first rock star I really was influenced by was Les Claypool. He was in Primus and wrote the theme song for South Park. He is like this kookie virtuoso bass player. Aesthetically, he has a dark wild imagination with a twang in his humor. As a 12-year-old, I was blown away by his extreme dedication to the craft. He also rocks the coolest looking bass I’ve seen to this day. Just one look at it and you’re like, that’s so Les Claypool.

Dan Zanes is a big influence on my own style and me wanting to pursue children’s music. First, I loved his music and the whole universe he has created. He has this warm, inclusive vibe — there’s a deep romance to it. It’s simple but rich all at once. I started listening to him when I began raising my own kids. He got me interested in pursuing a career in children’s music. The way he styles himself and his colorful suits are a perfect touch to understanding his universe. Everybody loves a dandy!

Q: Do people ever comment on the socks you wear?

A: Oh yeah! Especially when I’m performing. I have a bunch of spiffy suits, and when I do a little slant pose, they’re like “AND he’s got some dope socks!” It’s a nice touch to the whole ensemble. Kids are a lot shorter than me, so they’ll see my socks, especially when I’m jumping around. Sometimes I’ll show kids my socks, like check it out yo!, especially if there’s something kookie on them, like a pug or something. They love that.

Q: Did those reactions to your socks influence your new song about a missing white polka-dotted pink sock?

A: It totally did. Before one of my shows, I couldn’t find one of my socks. And I was searching everywhere trying to find this sock. And I never in a million years thought I’d be so upset and worried over the fact that I couldn’t find a polka-dotted pink sock. Looking back on this, I thought it was funny. So in a way, the fact that I do care about socks and how they work with my whole get-up did influence the song. Fashion comes and goes. And it’s arbitrary in a way why this style is in fashion and this other style is out of fashion. What I wear and what it speaks to people, I love that.

Q: Do you incorporate specific socks into your costume? If so, what are your go-to styles?

A: With socks, I mostly match them to the color of what I’m wearing. For instance, I’ll wear a fox t-shirt with fox socks. Or a flamingo shirt with flamingo socks. But a lot of times, I like the patterns to clash. Like my mama says, don't wanna be TOO matchy-matchy. Yes, I do take fashion advice from my mother. If you're reading this, luv u mama!

Q: What can we be looking forward to next from Mista Cookie Jar?

A: A music video for “The Quest For The White Polka-Dotted Pink Sock”, which will be dropping cyber Monday, Nov 22nd. It's gonna be EPIC! I've always seen this song as an audio storybook of sorts. A great way to tell this story — to help you REALLY get into the lyrics — will be with a music video. Gotta hear the tune and see the fashion, ya feel me? The song is about the search for the pink sock and fashion too, how we all have our unique styles and how we all just gotta go with it. It's a thrill!

For now, you can find the song anywhere you get your music. Bump it in your car or put some headphones on. Feel the bass!

10 Cookie Curated K. Bell Socks:

1) Can't go wrong with this pattern. Ska!

2) Nothing says class like a penguin in a suit.

3) Nothing says class like a monkey in a suit (except maybe a penguin in a suit).

4) Bikes are wonderful and they don't contribute to global warming.

5) A touch of classic Americana goes a long way.

6) So cute. They make bathing lots of fun. But I recommend taking them off before bathing.

7) This just sings serotonin to me.

8) What can I say, I'm a tropical kinda guy.

9) This says Pina Colada to me. And that's always a good time.

10) Nothing says class like a wolf in a suit (except maybe a penguin and a monkey in a suit).