Jill Barber - 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?
The dream of a career in music was my first baby, so yes, there was much discussion, consternation and genuine fear that becoming a parent would derail all that I’d worked so hard for over the course of a decade before having my first child.
A word to prospective musician Mums: it’s all possible!!! …but not without support (additional childcare), and not without resources (additional expenses), and not without tears (sorry).
As a working parent in the music industry, what are some of the biggest challenges you are facing?
The additional expense and stress of touring with children/the emotional toil of leaving them at home with another parent/caregiver.
What is one small change within the industry that could make a positive impact for working parents?
I would like to see a progressive shift in attitude from the industry- one that celebrates matriarchal musicians as the potent and strong artists we have proven ourselves to be; by hiring us, and better positioning us as role models for a younger generation, rather than overlooking artists that reach a certain age or parental status.
How do you find support and community with other working parents in or out of the music industry?
We working musician mothers know how to find one other. We seek each other out in any and every way we can. We share intel. We are an ever-expanding community that lovingly embraces and cares for each new member. We know there is strength and power in numbers. If that sounds cultish or witchy, it’s because it is.
What’s one specific example of an organization/venue/company doing something great to help support working parents?
I have to give a huge shout-out to my label Outside Music. They support many women on their roster, including those who have entered their parenting journey like me, Tami Nielsen, and Charlotte Cornfield. They are signing new artists that are already mothers, because they know how hard they work and understand how committed they are to their craft to want to juggle it all. They have always had my back and are like family when it comes to advocating for me and my needs as a working musician parent.
What could a music event (festival, conference, etc.), do or provide to make it easier for you to participate?
Professional on-site childcare.
Can you shout out another music mama doing great things?
My sister-friend Jenn Grant is a badass touring mama with two under five that continues to produce incredible visual and musical art every day, and deliver it to audiences everywhere. Caroline Brooks (The Good Lovelies) wrote an excellent blog about hitting the road with her baby that empowered me during a time when I needed to know it was possible, and more recently released a gorgeous solo album called Everything at the Same Time that perfectly captures the feeling of motherhood. Jenny Whitely, Suzie Ungerleider, and Amy Millan (Stars) were all early mother mentors to me, for which I am deeply grateful. And opera singer Measha Brueggergosman reached out to me when I was pregnant to give me the best pep talk of my life. Actually, it was more of a prep talk… which is even more valuable, because as every mother knows, being prepared is everything.
Learn more about Jill Barber HERE.