“The Little Mermaid” is making a return to the screen and with almost 25 years of history behind it. A large part of that history is the magical voice of Jodi Benson, as the voice of Ariel. You may also recognize her name as she is know for quite an extensive career with Disney as “Tour Guide Barbie” in “Toy Story 2,” “Weebo” in Disney’s live action Flubber (1997), as well as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning” (2008) (V), “The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea” (2000) (V) as “Ariel”, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001) (V) as “Lady”, 101 Dalmatians II. She is also the voice behind the spirited creature of “Thumbelina” and yes, you have even seen her as a real person, when she played the “Sam,” the assistant to Patrick Dempsey in the movie “Enchanted,” and another of my children’s favorite, she is the voice of the “healing fairy” in “Secret of the Wings.”
It was with great pleasure that I was able to join an amazing group of bloggers and talk to Jodi about her career and her family and find out more about this very accomplished and talented actress. Now, I get to share what I found out with you!
Disclosure: I received an all expenses paid trip to from Disney to to attend the Planes Red Carpet Premiere and participate in this interview. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Jodi Benson on love and marriage . . .
Would you give up your voice for love, and if so please elaborate?
JB : Yes, I-I would, it would be really hard, because singing is such a huge part of my life and the way that I communicate that, yes, for my husband I would.
So you believe in true love?
JB : Yes, yes. Well I’ve been with my husband, we’ve been married for, I think we’re coming up on 30. My 30 year anniversary will be next May. So, yes, yes, I would give it up.
Has he asked you to sing all the time too?
JB : Well actually we sing a lot together. We’re singing at a concert on Friday night in Maine, together. I’m grabbing him up on stage and the kids are going to perform with me as well. So we’re going to have a little family concert at private home and that.
I have a little girl and she likes singing, what would you recommend for getting her started just professionally with singing?
JB : I would say for every child that has a passion for singing, to do it in any way shape or form they can. Whether it’s at home, whether it’s at church, whether it’s in your community, or choir. I mean, the more you do it, the more you can figure out if this is what you really love to do. And you just don’t want to have any regrets when you’re older, you know, regretting the fact that you may have not pursed something that it was right for you. So I think for me, coming from a small town, without thinking, oh my goodness, I’d never be able to do this.
But in my heart it just felt like I needed to give it a try. So I would encourage yours to sing in every way shape and form.
One blogger asked, I think we all have movies that define our childhoods. When The Little Mermaid came out a week after my first birthday, so it was my movie. What was yours?
JB : Cinderella. Yeah, Cinderella was my movie. And, um, I just loved everything about it. Exactly the fact that, you know, she comes from one area and she wishes for something more. And-and I think every little girl, you know, and even a young boy as well, which is for that next step or the dream or whatever that may look like.
What are some of the fan stories, that have had the most impact, which you’ve heard about how Little Mermaid has change their lives?
JB : I think that, dealing with, well of course, it’s usually dealing with children. I’ve made unfortunately several calls to children before they pass away. Those are hard, especially when the parent puts you on the phone and goes, you know, they won’t be able to speak, but they can hear you. Ah, those are heart wrenching, you know, and then when you follow up with them and they say, yes, you know, she-she died peacefully. And you’re like, wow, oh my gosh. Working with kids in hospitals, kids that are burn victims, burning, grafting is a really painful process for a child.
And, you’ll find that certain songs and certain characters sooth children to get through painful procedures. So I had a lot kids that have been, battling burn cancer. And deal with very painful, symptoms. And they use the song and the character to calm them, you know, those are overwhelming. I’ve had children that have learned how to speak, who have never spoken, have never spoken a word, having, severe autism.
She continues . . .
JB : So I’ve got several kids through the years that I’ve met face to face, who actually speak now. And will tell, or their parent will tell me that they learned how to speak from your film. And, you know, those are the stories that you kind of wish that people knew more about then this just an animated film and,you know, they’re doing a re-release and… But when you get behind the scenes and you start to hear the impact of that, that really blows your mind. And that, those are the ones that you just, wow, you take a deep breath and again so grateful, so thankful that you can be part of a child’s healing process.
Jodi graciously shared her voice with all the bloggers attending this very special interview and sang “A Part of Your World” for us.