I’ve started recording my new album. It’s the first time back in the studio since becoming a mom. This will be my twelfth release—the auspicious cyclical number in the Chinese zodiac—and as I head back into the same studio this week, I find myself thinking about how both the music industry and I have changed so much since my last album release in 2011. This theme has been the soundtrack to my thoughts lately.
Studio work can suck you in. At least, that’s how it used to be for me. Before becoming a parent, my band and I would plan a week of 10-12 hour days during which we were living and breathing each of the songs, completely immersed in their every detail, and we would emerge from these sessions proudly holding the digital files of a complete musical offering ready for pressing into a CD.
But the music industry has changed dramatically, especially since I’ve had children. In the past five years, musicians rarely even make physical CDs anymore. Everything is about videos and downloadable mp3’s. There’s no hurry to get the album to a manufacturing plant because there’s no production deadline. When it’s done, it’s uploadable. That simple. So, it’s fitting that my becoming a parent—arguably one of the life’s most major changes for anyone—occurred during a time of great transition within my industry.
And as a parent, I’m simply unable to be sucked into the vortex of an album project. My kids are my vortex (if you want to know the truth). The fact that I managed four back-to-back days of six-hour sessions two weeks ago makes me a superhero musician mom. Now this week, I’ll be going in for two four-hour sessions, and even these were tough to negotiate with my other jobs and childcare.
My kids are now 4 and 2, respectively. They’re old enough to know that mommy is coming back if she leaves and this sets my heart at ease. And if you’re into numerology, everything adds up. Their ages add up to 6 and then I have 2 of them; so 6 times 2 is: 12. Perfect. By summertime, I will be holding my 12th album—not in my hands, but most certainly in my headphones. A new musical baby that will never need its diaper changed. Hurray!
That’s already success.
Photos: Courtesy of Vanessa Mantuano