Interview: An inspirational Mum

Today on Singlemummy.net I have an interview for you from an admirable mother. Stacey Jackson,  41, Mum of Four, Ambassador for Music for Youth and floor filler artist. Stacey grew up in Canada and from a young age was dancing, singing and performing. For many years Stacey was a Publicist for CBS News and then onto Lifetime Television. In 1999 Stacey and her husband moved to London to raise their four children here, currently 14,11, 7 and 2. Stacey had a difficult year in 2006 with personal issues and this compelled her to follow her dreams and get an album out. However she wasn’t in it to make money, instead the profits from her album went to the charity she is ambassador for, Music for Youth, the children from the charity even helped with much of the recording!

How do your children find having a rockstar Mum?
I think they respect the fact that I am doing something I love so much. A happy Stacey is a happy Mummy. They do have very strong opinions though – they don’t approve of me wearing anything too risqué or skimpy on stage or in photoshoots! But I get that. I am a mummy first and wouldn’t want to be perceived as mutton dressed as lamb.

Having four children ranging from 15 to 3yrs old must make juggling a music career hard work?
Yes! I get very little sleep! I would be out doing a live PA for instance, performing at midnight and not getting back till 3AM. Then it’s up with the family the next morning. Obviously I choose my PA dates very carefully and work around my families schedule. They are my priority. Rehearsals and studio work are mostly done while the kids are at school.

Is your husband jealous of the attention you get from fans or is he quite happy to take a back seat?

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My husband is really supportive and loves that I am doing something that makes me happy. He comes to some gigs too!

There are many charities out there, why did you choose to work with Music for Youth?
I was impressed at the scope of talent that are involved – They are the largest youth festival in the country and they have been going strong for over 40 years. Each year after the festivals run from city to city in the UK, the season culminates with three days of schools proms at the Royal Albert Hall which is quite exciting for these kids.

Working on your album you gave some of the young people from “Music for youth” the chance to record in some of the finest studios in the world, was it an experience you would like your children to have one day?
I think that giving young people any positive experience that they wouldn’t have necessarily had is terrific. I hope that my kids will get opportunities to experience positive things that they can take with them for the rest of their lives, whether it be in music or any career they choose.

If you hadn’t decided to hit the music industry what do you think you would be doing now?
I’d just be a soccer mum, not a rocker mum!

You had a very successful career in media working with companies such as CBS and BBC before you had your children, was there any reason for not hitting the music scene full storm at that time?

I loved my time in television PR but even while I was doing that, I was also in a Motown band called Fuzzy Dice back in New York. When I started having a family something had to give so I left TV but kept playing with Fuzzy Dice and we played in fabulous clubs and bars around New York. Then my family and I moved to London and I submerged myself with all that, there was something still missing in my life and I knew I was ready to go back to music.

Moving to London was a big upheaval for you leaving New York and your band, do you now feel that London is home?
Absolutely. I’m now settled here family-wise and music-wise. I have amazing producers who’ve worked with James Morrison, Annie Lennox, Girls Aloud, Gabrielle Cilmi to name a few and when I play live the musicians are all first rate guys who play with the likes of Take That so I’ve been very lucky to have surrounded myself with a network of serious talent.

Following a hard year in 2006 you say you had an epiphany and decided to get your album out, what made you decide then? Was it a case of now or never?
Yes, I didn’t want to be in my 60s and think “Darn, I should have given that a try!” I think it’s also very encouraging for my kids to see that even at any age you can get off your bum and live your dream.

“Upside Down” has quite a rock style feel to it, were you always quite a rock chick?
Yes I was in an original hard rock band back in Canada when I was 15 called Coldfront. I love heavy guitar- which always seems to be my signature even in my more dance-based pop songs. I listened to Motley Crue and Guns N Roses, Heart.. Anything rocky during my teens but I always had a place in my heart for Motown too.

Hideously cheesy question I know but it has to be asked. If you could duet with one person (dead or alive) who would it be?
A very juxtoposed answer: Diana Ross and Tinie Tempah!

Your album upside down spans the decades, you say you wanted to appeal to listeners young and old, do you feel you’ve achieved this?
I hope so! There are songs on my first album that kids never even heard of, when the children from music for youth recorded on some of the tracks, they had never heard of “I hear a symphony”, only my version! But what was fun was I was able to play them the original and they were shocked at how much I changed up the song to make it my own – but keeping the integrity of the original track. I think that when the older generation listens to it, they are able to sing along and think “Why do I know this song?”

As well as the rock feel to the album you have also taken the dance floor by storm with your hits reaching as high as 9 in the club charts, up there with the likes of Lady Gaga, how did that make you feel?
I still can’t get over it! I’m now getting calls from producers and DJ’s saying that my vocals are so well-suited to this genre of music so my new track “I am a woman” is much more pop/dance based. Even though there are many remix versions available of the track, my original still has the heavy guitar in it – I just can’t get rid of my rock roots.

Your latest single “I am a woman” sounds pretty bold and strong, is that how you would describe yourself?
Yeah I guess that’s how some people would describe me, I’m really quite ambitious.

You’ve had a year working on your album and with Music 4 Youth, what does 2011 hold for you?
The video to my new track “I am a woman” will be released at the beginning of next year. It’s really amazing and the dancers and I had such a blast filming it. I am also finishing up the follow-up single and I’m looking for a rapper to collaborate with. I will definitely be working with MFY again in some capacity. I’m hoping to get other artists involved as well – perhaps as mentors making a charity single with talented musicians from MFY.

For all those women out there consider
ing a bold career move what advice would you give them?

If you are a mum looking to go back to work, don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask for help from friends, family or even a nanny if you can. No one can be in ten different places at one time and if you don’t have good support then one of the balls you are juggling will surely drop. If you are changing your career entirely, keep your eyes open, don’t be scared to learn. As an independent artist I am learning new things about the music industry each day!

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