Was Nicky Minaj right to quit music to have a baby?

Nicky Minaj quits music

Rapper Nicky Minaj shocked the music world last week when she announced that she was retiring to start a family.

The ten-time Grammy nominee revealed on social media that she planned to swap world tours for the school run. Her decision prompted much speculation. Was it a publicity stunt? Will she be back? And the one that interested us most: Can’t a woman have a performing career and be a mother?

Over the years iSingmag has spoken to many singers who juggle motherhood with a professional career. We don’t claim it’s easy, but many amazing women prove it can be done.

Take Katie Holmes-Smith for example. Earlier this year the leading backing vocalist spoke to iSingmag about returning to work after having her baby son.

Holmes-Smith, currently touring with Olly Murs, often takes baby Jude on the road with her.

“I have less time now so I can’t work at the rate I used to,” she says. “So I’m finding more value in what I’m doing as a singer. It makes every job I do now so much more valuable. Thankfully I can pick and choose to a degree what I want to be doing with my time.”

Then there’s Jory Steinberg, a Canadian who has sung backing vocals for Stevie Wonder, Toto, Quincy Jones and Sting.

She admits that before returning to work after having her twins she had to put in some groundwork: “Definitely there were calls to be made and hustling on my part.”

But now she’s back she has no regrets. And as for the actual logistics of sorting gigs and childcare, it’s all down to good planning, she says. “If you’re a good planner, you’ll be great at working and being a mum (or dad). You just kind of figure stuff out. It sounds harder than it is.”

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Lolah Brown, a BV who returned to work when her son was seven months old (he’s now nine), says: “There are many positive aspects to it. Get rid of the conventional rules and regulations that say that as a woman you can’t do this or that. You can do whatever you put your mind to. Even though there are some challenges, it’s been great.”

If you do find the demands of life on the road and parenthood difficult to reconcile, there are other music opportunities out there. And you can, of course, create your own. When Tashara Forrest found life as a BV with Soul II Soul incompatible with raising a child, she started her own music collective.

“I realised that I needed to be more in control of my own schedule and be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to things depending on what was going on in my life,” she says.

The Londoner finds being her own boss is hard work, but rewarding. “I know what I do isn’t for everyone,” she says. “But for me, this is what works. I can sing, so I sing as much as I can. It’s exciting to have so much going on.”