Did you think it would be easy being a musician and a parent? If you did then you were wrong. Being a new Father in the music business comes with a new level of challenges.
Tell us what it’s been like being a Dad for the first time after this first year??
Becoming a parent is a crazy shift, and having the first kid in July 2020 during a global pandemic? That’s got its own set of interesting challenges.
(Have you seen ‘The Lighthouse’ with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson)?
Creatively, it’s been the deepest project management I’ve ever encountered. Managing a band, a record label/business, and recording sessions is a good foundation. The real issue is you’re dealing with a small human being with only one way to express themselves, and often, doing so very loudly. Translation, communication, and harmonization take on a whole new definition.
Describe how you manage your time. Bringing up a human certainly cuts into the already small amounts of time a musician has to create and perform live.
Time management has always been an ongoing challenge for me. I was diagnosed with adult ADHD in my 30’s. Putting a name to some of my quirks helped tremendously. My success at keeping a balance is the result of ruthless prioritization, partnership and delegation, over-communicating, and adaptability. Things like booking time for writing and recording become all the more pre-planned. And sometimes you have to adapt in the moment.
A great example: I had a week put aside to write and record new songs this month. Everything was mic’d: drums, piano, amps, and my home studio was completely free of distraction and activity every day from 9-2pm. And wouldn’t you know it that pollen season started. My allergies literally hijacked my entire life. Taking the drugs made me groggy and lethargic. Without them, I couldn’t breathe or sing. So what I’d hoped would be a dozen or so songs became three songs and some instrumental hooks. Such is life!
Touring is even more planned out. Not only am I dealing with baby management but also 2 to 4 other musicians, bookers, clubs, weather… COVID.
The tour we are starting this week has been planned since January. Luckily my relationships with so many of the people involved helped make the process smooth and relatively painless. The last thing you want is unexpected life stuff destroying your vibe. Developing adaptability is maybe the most useful tool in the emotional arsenal. (Like today the van a/c died, and we got a flat tire! So I have time to answer these questions with you!)
Do you absolutely have to have a two parent household to be a musician or full-time musician or could you manage it as a one-parent household? What would you suggest to a musician in this situation or thinking about managing this situation?
I have no idea how single parents make it work, and I know several of them. They have all my admiration. There are a zillion books and quotes about communities and tribes helping raise better humans. It’s true — all of it. Without help, it’s impossible to parent, especially at the youngest stages of a kid’s life. They will literally die without someone to feed them.
Having said all of that, putting together the right ‘band’, so to speak, to help raise a kid makes being a musician not only manageable but even more fruitful.
Learning to sandbag energy for evenings after the child goes down is an art. And the creative inspiration my daughter provides is worth the trouble. My lyrics have never been more meaningful to me. It’s a profound shift for an artistic person to step into this role, and as long as the t’s are crossed and I’s dotted for the functional stuff, even more fruitful, creatively.
What do you wish you knew now that you have managed to make music, record music, rehearse and tour while still being a full-time Dad?
Even before I became a parent, I did a full soul search around why making music is important to me. My family is full of artists. The issue always was the ‘nights and weekends’ thing: like living the creative life equates to golfing or something. So getting past that stigma in my early days was hard. And often I was misunderstood.
I was a terrible person to manage in the workplace.
There’s only so much compromise one can do to pay the rent. And when that friction becomes too high, it’s time to try something else. The myth of the starving artist is powerful and wrong. We aren’t all Mötley Crüe sleeping on our girlfriends’ couches. If you can’t eat, and you don’t have shelter, you’re unable to access the higher levels of creativity. And there’s great satisfaction in taking the money you earn and putting it towards gas to tour, or making tour merch. Be your own investor!
And the bottom line, if you decide to parent, is to love the shit out of your kid. And the only way to do that properly is to be the best human you can be, do the work on yourself, and know what makes YOU tick. Yea, it was hard to be away on tour for 5 weeks last fall as a dad. And having a partner that understands the importance of living a creative life is paramount to staying healthy.
You do sacrifice so much becoming a parent, however, you should never sacrifice your own inspirations and goals. You owe it to your child to be the best person you can be, and sometimes that means being away from them for periods of time. Plus that’s when you get all the great new stories to tell them!
More about this artist:
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