Scottish Granny Propels Kiwi Kids Music into the Limelight

There are not many of us who haven’t been brought to tears of laughter over the last week watching a wee Scottish Granny stumble her way through Craig Smith’s Wonky Donkey. Not only has the giggling granny given Smith a boost in sales beyond his wildest dreams, it has also helped to fast track and continuing upward trend for Kiwi Kids Music on the local and global scale.

Chris Sanders is an independent Kiwi kids musician/author, owner of Angel Star Publishing House and a member of the Kiwi Kids Music Collective, a small group of around 80 children’s musicians, which includes Craig Smith and others such as Suzy Cato, Jay Laga’aia and Kath Bee.

“Over the last few years we have seen the bar level being raised again and again by our children’s musicians,” says Sanders. “We struggle to get the commercial airplay, yet our music is listened to by more ears than most genres through the digital platforms like iTunes and Google Play.”

And unlike any other music genre, physical sales of Children’s music are off the chart making it possibly the last bastion for physical music sales. The Wonky Donkey has sold over 1 million copies in 10 years and is likely to sell hundreds of thousands over the coming months. This is more than some of our top selling international artists.

Like many musicians Chris Sanders was struggling to get his music heard because no radio station would play it and retail sales of physical CD’s were dropping.

“It’s was a few years ago I had the idea of turning a song I had written for my daughter called ‘Angel Star’ in to a picture book, and it was a great decision,” Says Sanders. “All of a sudden people were buying my music in shops, downloading and streaming it, watching my video…I couldn’t quite believe it!”

Chris was subsequently commissioned by St John NZ to write a catchy ‘111 Ambulance Song’ with the song being the highest ever charting kiwi written kids song, going to #1 across iTunes and the book ‘Call For The Ambulance’ selling almost 5000 physical copies in it’s first 2 months.

“Not only are our kids musicians out-selling musicians from other genres, but we are also frequently touring and packing out venues. I recently completed a ‘111 Ambulance Song’ tour of New Zealand, doing 80 shows in 20 days with over 20,000 people attending. This is common amongst our kids musicians and not only that the audience know the songs and sing them with us – I’d suggest if you are a struggling musician then try writing a kids song!”

The latest Nielsen Stats for the 4 weeks ending August 11th showed the Children’s category made $2.5million, a growth of over 13% on the same period last year. Close to 185,000 titles were sold an increase of over 17%. These stats include international children’s titles.

NZ on Air also recently introduced a ‘New Kids Music’ funding category through which 7 Kiwi Kids musicians received funding including Chris Sanders debut album ‘These Memories Make You and Me’ due out on Sept 21.  Click here for more… 


Contact Chris Sanders at