Parenting isn’t easy, everyone tells us that. Now add that to being a (semi) professional musician and you have a really fascinating challenge.
I started my musical career in my 20’s. My ska punk band Agent 99 landed in the “almost famous” category. My bands Brave New Girl and Dubistry have won global critical acclaim and we’re still waiting for the big bucks.
During these years, I’ve gotten married and had two children. My husband is also my bass player and collaborator, so touring sans kids is pretty much off the table. We have had to be creative about how we keep our music going.
Fortunately, the landscape has changed for musicians making money and that goes double for those of us raising families. Yes, I said “fortunately”, because despite what the RIAA is telling everyone, for the first time in centuries, there are more ways for more people to make money making music.
For those of us whose passion is music and who didn’t take every tour opportunity and chance to sell out and still decided to procreate, there is an added level of “is she totally crazy?” underneath it all. One cannot simply walk a child into a nightclub.
No, a musical parent needs sympathetic others, whether they be friends, family members or generous care providers. Musical parents need people. People to distribute music and flyers. People to help.
Modern technology has made things a lot more flexible. One way to get out there is by live streaming concerts. Live streaming services are abundant these days and involve anything from linking up to your studio space to using a venue’s internal connection. Many clubs have the ability to stream your shows these days. Otherwise, Livestream and Ustream are two popular services, or you could even use Google Hangouts for a more intimate setting.
Licensing opportunities are increasing as advertising and media move out of traditional media onto our handheld and mobile devices. And there are evermore ways to sell merchandise. Recordings are simpler to make now and we can stream them worldwide to get our names out there.
The ultimate goal as a musical parent is, of course, a family tour – part family vacation/part gigging – because music is ultimately about personal connection. The Dixie Chicks and the E Street band have managed this, but I don’t hear about it too often for non-mega bands. Maybe a resort gig in Anguilla is in our future. Maybe a tour with the Wanderlust Festival. We’re working on it.