Native San Diegan Kathryn Cloward created the Kathryn the Grape series of children’s books and music CDs, featuring an “everyday girl” who helps children develop authentic self-love, thus sending ripples of loving kindness, acceptance, and compassion for others. The characters, music, and symbolism is meant to illuminate young minds and put children on a path to live purposeful, magical, and colorful lives.
“I’ve been writing song lyrics for as long as I can remember and have always wanted to share my original songs with the world,” says Cloward. “It’s truly a joy to see kids singing and dancing along, having fun while strengthening their belief in themselves.”
In summer 2012, the music CD Believe: Kathryn the Grape Songs For Kids of All Ages won a Gold Mom’s Choice Award, for being among the best in family-friendly media, products, and services. Cloward collaborated with San Diego musician and producer Astra Kelly to create the music CD, which was produced and mixed at local Capricorn Studios. Kelly is the lead vocalist, while Cloward sings backup vocals along with six “everyday San Diego kids.” It has since gone out of print.
In early 2014, her entire Kathryn the Grape series of children’s books and music CDs scored four Family Choice Awards. “This is great news for us, as we are an independent brand working hard to gain traction in a market led by Disney,” she told the Reader. “Earning these awards helps affirm that our purposeful work is hitting the mark for families.”
In the Kathryn the Grape Music Show, Cloward blends musical talents with a variety of friends to share a collection of positive songs for kids of all ages, through their live performances at festivals, parties, benefit shows, special events, and school assemblies.
In May 2015, Believe: Kathryn the Grape Songs for Kids of All Ages earned a 2015 Family Choice Award. Kathryn the Grape's Kindness Confetti won Best Children's Fiction Book at the 2017 San Diego Book Awards, as well as winning five 2017 Family Choice Awards.
Released in 2016, Kathryn the Grape's We're All In This Together is an 11-song album recorded in San Diego at Berkley Sound by Jeff Berkley (Berkley Hart). Each song directly links to messages and lessons shared in the Kathryn the Grape Affirmation Series of books. Guest players include Berkley, Marc Intravaia, Jim Soldi, Astra Kelly, Dennis Caplinger, Sharon Whyte, Rich Nash, Bryan Stratman, and more. Songs from the no-longer-available 2012 CD were completely re-done and published with all new songs for the award-winning We're All in This Together album.
Her 2021 album All Together was written by Cloward and co-produced by multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fritz, who also mixed and mastered the album with music contributions from guest players David Stone (bass) and Leonardo Barba on drums recorded at UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Music Center. Cloward’s lead vocals were recorded by Rolling Stones producer Alan Sanderson at local Pacific Beat Studios. Backing vocals were provided by father/daughter singers Leonard and Jadyn Patton, Becky Cherlin Baird and her teen children Noah and Talia, and Megan Nguyen. The album earned the 2021 National Parenting Products Award (NAPPA) plus NAPPA’s Best in Positivity for Kids Award and a Family Choice Award.
Local charity organizer Father Joe Carroll (1941-2021) celebrated his 80th birthday on April 12, 2021, with the release of his memoir Father Joe: Life Stories of a Hustler Priest, written by Cloward. On the same day, Cloward’s illustrated children’s book, Father Joe’s Six Golden Seeds, and her song "Six Golden Seeds," were released. The book and song reveal how Kathryn the Grape's signature purple outfit was purchased from the original Father Joe&'s Villages Thrift Store (St. Vincent de Paul Villages) in downtown San Diego back in the mid-1980s.