Keziah Myers - ADVANCE
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?
When I had my first child, I was in a contract position at SOCAN (account manager, Media), ironically covering a mat leave. I actually found out that I was pregnant 3 months after I started the position, and had to complete the mat leave contract early. There was nervousness about how I was going to move forward with no guarantee of a job when I returned. I decided to ignore any feelings of pregnancy, and push as hard as I could, to show myself invaluable to SOCAN, in hopes of receiving a full time offer. The last day before heading off for mat leave (which was my due date), I received notice that SOCAN was hiring me full time, and that I would start back at SOCAN in 1 year.
There wasn’t much discussion around this surprise, except that I needed to find a full time job with benefits. We had not had conversations around my place in the industry because I didn’t think it should matter. While I was at SOCAN I did not have a forward facing position, therefore I was not as concerned about FOMO on mat leave. If I had a child now, however, that would be a very real concern.
As a working parent in the music industry, what are some of the biggest challenges you are facing?
Over the years some of the biggest challenges I have faced are around childcare. It has always been a challenge to arrange childcare after hours. There is a pressure felt, that you need to be present at everything. There is a fear of scarcity, and not being in the room when networking happens, so I do all that I can to ensure that I can attend. This forces me, sometimes, to forgo the time with children, miss bedtimes, and crucial moments – which is an internal struggle I battle with.
In 2021 I was leading my first AGM in this role, and my daughter joined the call, allowing me to share my home life during COVID, with members, industry partners, executives and funders. I had to have an on camera conversation with her, give her my time, and allow her to sit with me while I completed the business overview and presentation 😊 This is life – roll with it, and don’t apologize for it. Instead use it as an opportunity to grow in patience, and be vulnerable in front of those that look up to you – allowing them to do the same.
What is one small change within the industry that could make a positive impact for working parents?
I would support childcare at events, shows, concerts etc.
I would also strongly encourage the industry to consider childcare chits (similar to taxi chits), which cover childcare – an expense that cannot be expensed via most company expense policies.
How do you find support and community with other working parents in or out of the music industry?
It has been great to have more moms in the industry. They have been a big part of how I find support. It is open conversations that build community, and foster support, so a lot of the time I am open about the challenges that I have around being a parent, and others share the same feelings. I also have had the pleasure of working with moms that speak openly about their parenthood. They have been able to support and inspire me.
What’s one specific example of an organization/venue/company doing something great to help support working parents?
Ontario Creates had an offsite event recently, and travelled to SixNations for an activation. They allowed me to bring my 7year old son, made him feel included (made a nametag for him), and helped to expose him to a new experience. We collectively understand that this is a great opportunity for exposure, and simultaneously allowed me to bring my son to work, sharing my wonderful work life with him – on a Saturday.
What could a music event (festival, conference, etc.), do or provide to make it easier for you to participate?
Provide childcare and discounts for child packages for parents who both work in the industry.
Can you shout out another music mama doing great things?
Jordan Rudder, Insight Productions