Singing career + parenthood – how does it work?

What does it mean to sacrifice? As we enter a new year, most of us make resolutions, to lose weight, quit smoking, stop procrastinating or finally start that new project. In the hope of gaining something, we usually have to lose or let go of something else.

Saying farewell to 2016 was a happy occasion for me as it was a year of unexpected events. It started with a cancelled vacation because of my husband’s passport issues (no, I didn’t kill him), and was followed by surgery, another vocal haemorrhage later in the year and the heartbreaking loss of a number of music industry icons. There were positives too: I was blessed to re-unite with my Hairspray family and travelled back and forth to London several times for work. These work opportunities were fantastic, but thwarted one of my plans for 2016 – to finally start a family.

Now, most people look at me and think I’m younger than I am (I get it from my mama), and I’ve even been asked the question, “Why do you want to have kids in the prime of your career?”. Well folks, I’m older than I look and I’ve been a working singer for 20 years now. I’ve always dreamt of being a successful singer, but motherhood has always been part of the dream, too. 

I met the love of my life in 2007 while touring with Justin Timberlake and married him in 2009. After a prolonged two-year honeymoon period, I was ready to have a baby, but work has, for want of a better phrase, “got in the way”. And, by work, I mean singing background on tour for Drake (2011), Rihanna (2012), Alicia Keys (2013) and Demi Lovato (2014). I have also enjoyed a long working relationship with Robbie Williams (2012 to the present).

I have a very understanding, adventurous and supportive partner, and I know how blessed I am to have been working consistently with this kind of roster but, for me, the reality of having a baby was slim-to-none, based on an intense travelling schedule and the stress it put on my body. As a touring background vocalist, making a baby would only happen with some very careful planning. Even if we were able to make it happen, the other truth is that it would greatly affect my work.

I would have to make the transition from working on the road to staying at home, and maybe starting over in a new area of the industry or executing the “Plan B” artists are encouraged, and sometimes required, to have in case the tide changes or the proverbial well dries-up. For this working singer, in the midst of a very busy and exciting career season, I just couldn’t say “no” to the consistent income and career possibilities. So, I decided to wait for my window and in 2016 the window came – and went. Now, with 2017 here, I have a diary already full of new tour dates. So I have had to press pause on my family plans. But only pause…

With a strong desire to be a mother and with all my friends having babies, it’s not easy to wait, but I am encouraged by the strong women (and men) around me who have found a way to and through parenthood. I respect the sacrifices they have made to maintain their career and connections. I mean, if Janet Jackson wasn’t already everything to me, sacrificing a world tour to start her family at 50 has been uber inspiring. Today, we see women of all ages taking time out of their careers to become mothers: just look at Adele, JLo, Pink and Beyoncé.

Sure, they’re the captains of their own ships and have much more control than I do but, with faith and some planning, anything is possible. For me, when the time is right and my body is ready, I’ll step off the stage, but I’ll continue to work as a session singer, performance coach, and agent/contractor for other singers. The stage is my true home, so when the time comes, I’ll return and hopefully there will be a place for me.

Jory Steinberg talks With Denosh About Singing and Babies 

In this issue of iSing, I catch up with some of my favourite working singers who have taken on parenthood amidst busy careers, including Jory Steinberg. Jory is a Canadian born singer, songwriter and actress who began her career in musical theatre playing “young Cossette” in the Canadian national tour of Les Misérables. She worked on Michael Jackson’s Immortal world tour,and has sung backing vocals for Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Usher, Toto, Adam Levine, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx and Seal. On top of all of this, Jory is also the mother of twin boys. Her positive outlook is proof that singing and motherhood can bring immense joy.

In this issue of iSing, I catch up with some of my favourite working singers who have taken on parenthood amidst busy careers, including Jory Steinberg. Jory is a Canadian born singer, songwriter and actress who began her career in musical theatre playing “young Cossette” in the Canadian national tour of Les Misérables. She worked on Michael Jackson’s Immortal world tour,and has sung backing vocals for Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Usher, Toto, Adam Levine, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx and Seal. On top of all of this, Jory is also the mother of twin boys. Her positive outlook is proof that singing and motherhood can bring immense joy.

I also speak to Kenyon Dixon (Justin Timberlake, Usher, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Pharrell and John Legend), Lolah Brown (Rihanna, Pharrell and Nicki Minaj) and Kiley Dean (backing vocalist for Madonna who featured in issue 8 of iSing).

Kenyon Dixon 

Lolah Brown 

Kiley Dean 

JORY’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  1. Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready by always learning music FOR NO REASON other than to keep that muscle up. Learn all genres.
  2. Referrals are how singers get hired. Treat each gig like it’s your last and give it everything.
  3. Being a great backing vocalist is about blending and learning how to sound like the artist you are supporting. Do your homework before each gig.
  4. Never give a musical director a reason to say anything negative about you.
  5. Know yourself well so that you can always ADD to whatever group you are a part of. Team work makes the gig easier, but more importantly makes the blend better.

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http://denoshbennett.com

Denosh Bennett is a Canadian-born singer, dancer and artistic director with two decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Her versatility and broad résumé has led her to tour as a dancer and/ or backing vocalist with many international artists including Faith Evans, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Drake, Whitney Houston, Robbie Williams, Demi Lovato and Rihanna.