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Shaneen Robinson - Manitoba Music

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 my oldest son was born in August 2014 I was in the midst of my journalism career working at APTN National News as a correspondent and casual host. I had also been co-host of NCI FM’s Radio show “Friends on Friday” for many years. This along with emceeing, planning and promoting music events as well as helping showcase artists through my storytelling on air. The discussion about the future of my career didn’t happen with anyone but my husband. At the time I thought that I would take my time as a mother and come back to my career and be able to continue to move forward and grow. I don’t think I was prepared for the stigma mothers with demanding high paced careers face from society, peers, even superiors in the workforce. Music has been a part of my life and career for more than twenty years and I always knew it would be part of my journey no matter what. My career brought me to Manitoba Music and I’m proud and grateful to be able to advocate for other moms in music and make space for our families in the unique world of Indigenous Music and bring that knowledge to the mainstream. 

As a working parent in the music industry, what are some of the biggest challenges you are facing?

Making space for my children, husband and parents in the work I do is a priority for me and is always something I keep in mind for other parents in the industry. It is a challenge sometimes to find inclusive spaces for children and Elders. I find that the mainstream music industry including major funders don’t see the importance of Indigenous families being a part of the world we work in. There have been generations of imposed barriers and restrictions on our people and culture and I would love to see our industry see that family is important in reclaiming and restoring our communities. 

What is one small change within the industry that could make a positive impact for working parents? 

Including our families in our spaces. More funding for things like travel and childcare. 

How do you find support and community with other working parents in or out of the music industry? 

I know many artists and industry with similar lifestyles as mine. We keep in touch and always try to make time for one another in common spaces. My husband and I also have a small, but strong support system made up of some close family and friends to lean on. 

What’s one specific example of an organization/venue/company doing something great to help support working parents? 

I am proud of the work we do at Manitoba Music/Indigenous Music to have healthy conversations and work towards positive changes for families. Not only for employees, but for the artists we work for. 

What could a music event (festival, conference, etc.), do or provide to make it easier for you to participate?

I would love to attend a festival/conference where I could be funded to bring my children and a caregiver to help. If this could include child friendly programming and spaces with affordable options for families, now that would be an absolute dream. 

Can you shout out another music mama doing great things? 

I know so many amazing moms just working so hard and being boss mamas in this industry it’s absolutely incredible. Shout outs to my sisters in music Jade Turner, Desiree Dorion, Pauline Leung, Elise Roller and the dozens of others that are doing great things in this music world and being the best moms they can be.