Dani Strong - Artist
Where were you at in your music career when you had your first child? Was there much discussion about how that life choice would affect your career within the music/entertainment industry?
I had my son, Mickey, when I was in the thick of “the grind” playing the cover circuit trying to build my chops as a musician desperately trying to find people that would give value to the songs I wrote. I was 8 months pregnant carrying my own PA into and out of bars to play 4 hours of music to a drunken crowd screaming “play some Skynard” while I tested out an original song… LOL! Those were the toughest gigs. The decision to have a baby was MASSIVE as both my husband and I are musicians so we weren’t sure how much things would. However, I always just told myself that nothing is impossible.., some paths are just harder than others. Having two young children at the exact time my original career “took off” wasn’t easy - but mannnn am I grateful that I had them. MANY artists sacrifice the family life for their career (understandably), so I’m grateful I got both.
As a working parent in the music industry, what are some of the biggest challenges you are facing?
As an artist, an artist manager, the owner of a company… and a mom, the biggest challenge for me, without a doubt, is the guilt of feeling like I don’t spend enough time with my kids. I work from home and I pick them up from school everyday and am home most weekends… but the fact that I have to travel for weeks at a time as frequently as once a month is really hard. My kids are now 11 and 13 so it’s been a bit easier, they can walk home from school on their own and wait for their dad to get home. But having a daughter who is pre-teen, I just feel like it’s prime “mom time”… but we get by.
What is one small change within the industry that could make a positive impact for working parents?
I find most conferences are getting quite big/long. Condensing the events might be tough as they are all so good but spending a week at each awards show (for each region, territory, etc…) is really tough.
How do you find support and community with other working parents in or out of the music industry?
To be honest… this interaction with you (Women In Music) is the first time I’ve been involved in anything specifically related to parenting in the music industry.
What’s one specific example of an organization/venue/company doing something great to help support working parents?
I was brought to tears at the women’s brunch you (Women In Music) put on during the JUNO awards when I heard one of the panelist talk about her journey as a mother and CEO of a label. It was the first time I really realized that there are so many of us out there working our asses off and trying to be the best parents at the same time.
What could a music event (festival, conference, etc.), do or provide to make it easier for you to participate?
Same Answer as question 2
Can you shout out another music mama doing great things?
I connected with Jennifer Brown (CEO of SOCAN) at the JUNO awards in March. I was driving her back to her hotel and I was driving her back to the hotel and was telling her how nice it was to hear other moms talking at the brunch because I felt like such a failure as a mom sometimes and she said “oh Dani, I feel awful too.. I don’t even know what time my kids are done school to pick them up”. We both laughed… but it just felt SO nice to connect with a woman… the CEO of freaking SOCAN and connecting on that level just reiterating that none of us have it all together. We’re just doing what we gotta do… but also what we love… music!
Hear more from Dani Strong HERE.