iTunes hit for Mosgiel man

CARMEN HOULAHAN IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 12:16 23/01/2013
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Mr Yipadee, aka Dean O'Brien.

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A former Mosgiel man has topped the British iTunes children's chart with his character Mr Yipadee.

Mr Yipadee is a self-help character created by Dean O'Brien, aimed at entertaining children with songs and stories with a positive message.

Mr O'Brien has always been interested in music and entertaining. When at Taieri High School his band was runner up in a regional rock quest, and he later became a radio presenter at More FM in Dunedin.

Mr O'Brien created Mr Yipadee after being made redundant as a radio presenter in Britain, and needing work.

''It was scary to embark on this dream with no job and a 6-month-old baby; we have definitely had our ups and downs,'' he said.

''My family and I had to make a very conscious effort to keep focused and stay positive. To see the charts this week and become an iTunes number one best selling artist is incredible.''

Mr O'Brien read the bestselling book The Secret - a self help book for adults - which inspired him to keep going with his dream.

''It became apparent that there are very  few engaging and fun products for pre-schoolers promoting positive thinking and self-belief. There are an abundance of wonderful materials for adults, but nobody successfully translates these for the most crucial developmental age,'' Mr O'Brien said.

The power of positive thinking was harnessed, as Mr O'Brien imagined Mr Yipadee and his friends, composing songs and stories for the characters to promote health and happiness in youngsters.

Something was working because his debut album, The Animal Choir, sold out of its first run in two weeks. The second Mr Yipadee album, The Yes I Can Club recently topped the iTunes Children's Chart.

Mr O'Brien's reward has been messages from parents all over the world telling him how much they love Mr Yipadee.

They include a handwritten card from inspirational best-selling author Dr John Gray (Men Are From Mars - Women Are From Venus).

''His letter says, 'We have been playing it [Mr Yipadee] for our 4-year-old grandson and he loves it!','' O'Brien said. ''I didn't sleep for two days from the excitement.''

Mr O'Brien, whose parents still live in Mosgiel, plans to return home this year for a series of free concerts.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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