Mothers In Jazz (65): Lina Nyberg

Mothers In Jazz” is a 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.

Vocalist Lina Nyberg is one of Sweden’s most creative and innovative jazz singers and contemporary composers. For more than 20 years she has been attracting consistent and widespread attention, mainly in Scandinavia, but also in many other parts of the world. She has collaborated with musicians including Magnus Lindgren, Karin Hammar, and Esbjorn Svensson. During 2022-2023, she was Composer in Residence at Vara Konserthus and wrote a new work, to be performed with the Bohuslän Big Band. Lina lives in Stockholm with her fifteen year-old daughter.

Lina Nyberg. Photo credit: Elvira Glänte

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

Lina Nyberg: That showing your kids that your work is important to you and something that you enjoy doing also makes you a role model for your kids when they grow up-both in their choice of occupation but also as human beings.

LJN: What information or advice do you wish you’d received but didn’t (and had to learn through trial and error or on the go)?

LN: The type of challenges your kid faces change as they grow. One might think that a 3 year old needs you more than a teenager, but that is not always the case.

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

LN: Try not to judge yourself for being away from home. When you are gone, your child will cultivate other important relationships for life, and learn from your independence.

LJN: Baby/child gear tips for travel/touring/gigging:

LN: With small kids, keep snacks on hand, like raisins, pieces of fruit, carrots or crackers in small packs while traveling as well as pens and paper, books for distraction. We always brought a mini suitcase with my daughter’s favorite figurines to keep her busy on airplanes and trains.

LJN: Best general travel/gigging/tour-with-child advice:

LN: Only bring your kid if necessary. It will distract you from your work. The kid might, after all, be better at home with your partner or a close relative.

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

LN: How extremely efficient it made me when it comes to creative work, but also how much inspiration I get from my lovely daughter, as a fellow human, but also as a creative artist.

LJN: 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.)?

LN: I can’t think of any. Perhaps, I wouldn’t be away from her for more than two weeks unless in exceptional cases.

Lina’s latest album “The Dance” was released on 17 February 2023. The recording contains a commissioned work in seven parts that follows the dramaturgy of a Broadway musical. Each part is dedicated to different musical role models such as Norma Winstone, Carmen McRae, John Taylor, Jan Johansson and Lennart Åberg. 

LINKS: Artist website
The complete archive of Nicky Schrire’s Mothers in Jazz series

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