Craig is an internationally known singer/song-stylist, actor… and author. Made By Raffi is his first children’s book with illustrations by award-winning artist Margaret Chamberlain. The book is published in six languages and distributed in eleven countries to date. The Chinese edition was just released and he is thrilled to see the Korean version in the next few months.
As a performer Craig received New York’s MAC Award for Best Male Vocalist in 2012. His popular CDs “More Than A Seasonal Thing” and “My Heart Don’t Skip A Beat” can be heard on radio stations around the world and are available on iTunes, CDBaby and his website www.CraigPomranz.com.
Originally from St. Louis, MO Craig got his professional start at the age of 12 performing at The MUNY (the largest outdoor theater in the country). Craig attended Carnegie-Mellon and The Goodman Theatre – The Art Institute of Chicago.
Craig lives in New York City and travels the world performing in nightclubs and theatres. He is busy working on his next series of books hoping to empower children.
What motivated you to write a book that is specifically inclusive of LGBTQ families?
I am delighted when parents tell me they welcome a book that addresses the experience of their child. Our society starts stereotyping children at a very young age with media and advertising. Children are labeled and categorized according to what they like to wear or their hobbies. Even the most evolved parent or caregiver has trouble navigating this problem because it is so pervasive. And of course they want to protect their kids from ridicule, teasing and bullying. With “Made by Raffi” I want to help children find their own place in the world and not be a victim of outside pressure. I want every family to be comfortable enough to support their children’s interests whatever they may be.
Marriage equality is finally here, but marriage alone doesn’t make a family. I am old enough to remember a period when most birth families rejected their children for “coming out” — and of course that still happens today. People can create our families from dear friends. These loving, intimate relationships became our support system. I understood early on that we create our own families by surrounding ourselves with unconditional love, respect and support, whether we are related or not.
What does “equality” look like to you?
Ideally you are who you are all of the time wherever you go, living life openly without controversy. But sometimes we are in an environment where we don’t see people like us; we are intimidated, and in small ways change our behavior. Perhaps we don’t hold hands with the person we are with because it is uncomfortable. True equality would be the inner freedom that permits us to be the same wherever we go. ”Made by Raffi” portrays a young boy who stays true to himself despite pressure from the outside world, with the support of his family and friends.
Whose books do you admire and why?
Mostly I read non-fiction: biographies and theatrical tomes. However, I adore Willa Cather and did find my way to Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, James Baldwin, Federico García Lorca, and Michael Cunningham. Laura Hobson’s “Gentlemen’s Agreement” showed me the dangers of bigotry. Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” portrayed the strength of the individual. As a kid, Mark Twain’s “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” was an early influence, especially having grown up in Missouri. Also “The Diary of Anne Frank” and the play about Helen Keller “The Miracle Worker” were powerful stories that stayed with me. I love Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince”, a nontraditional love story. Books stay with us when they teach us about true love. I have shelves full of role models who I learn from!
What’s coming up next for you?
I have several projects in the works including more books that I hope will empower children. I am also in negotiations for two TV projects I am very excited about, one of which is a program designed for kids. I recently released the song “Different” linked here: Different. After reading “Made by Raffi” Amanda McBroom (composer of Bette Midler’s award-winning “The Rose”) and Michele Brourman (The Land Before Time) were inspired to write this wonderful tune about feeling different. I continue to tour in clubs and sing the Great American Songbook. Soon I’m off to Provincetown, Los Angeles, London, St. Louis and back to New York. For more information, visit my website CraigPomranz.com, for free you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and “Like” Made by Raffi on Facebook or follow me on twitter @MadebyRaffi