Mothers In Jazz (37): Rebecca Hennessy

Mothers In Jazz” is a new series, started by vocalist Nicky Schrire. The initiative aims to create an online resource for working jazz musicians with children, those contemplating parenthood, and jazz industry figures who work with and hire musicians who are parents. The insight of the musicians interviewed for this series provides valuable emotional, philosophical and logistical information and support that is easily accessible to all. “Mothers In Jazz” shines a light on the very specific role of being both a mother and a performing jazz musician.

Rebecca Hennessy is a Canadian trumpeter, vocalist, composer and bandleader. In 2018, she won the Toronto Arts Foundation Rising Jazz Artist Award and her debut album “All The Little Things You Do” was released in 2020 to critical acclaim. Rebecca was both a featured composer and trumpeter in Christine Jensen’s =Jazz Orchestra, a big band assembled for the 2019 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival to celebrate the composing and playing of female musicians. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, bassist Michael Herring, and their 21 month-old child.

Rebecca Hennessy. Photo credit: Karl Leung

LondonJazz News: What is the best advice you received about balancing/juggling motherhood and career?

Rebecca Hennessy: It’s ok to use a babysitter/get help to get your work done, practice, check emails, etc.

LJN: Your top tip(s) for other mothers in jazz:

RH: Make time for being creative. Call the babysitter, get help, be creative with your baby! It all counts. If you can afford it, go to therapy and get massages, body work etc. It’s an important practice for building resilience, creative space, and general well-being.

LJN: What has surprised you about becoming a parent and remaining engaged with your professional activities and ambitions?

RH: Having a baby has made my priorities in life more clear. It is easier to say YES to the opportunities I want to do and NO to the things that aren’t worth my time. When I have a moment to practice or write, I always take it, unless catching up on rest is more important.

What boundaries have you set for yourself as a mother in jazz (could be related to travel/touring, riders, personal parameters, child care decisions, etc.)?

RH: I’m working on trying not to overbook myself, and prioritize my own creative projects over other work. I use childcare to work on my music and also take the occasional break, although I still think I could use more actual breaks these days!

Rebecca’s new album “Joy Will Find Us” is out at the end of this week, on Friday 14 April 2023
LINKS: Artist website

More interviews in the Mothers in Jazz series

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