Stars say maternity has been the real mother of invention
Two of the UK’s top female singers made a powerful case yesterday for greater understanding of how women are positively impacted by having children: “We need to think about motherhood as a strength,” said Paloma Faith during the Music and Motherhood session. “I feel guilty and sad that I ever believed that it would compromise me as an artist, where in fact it has made me much more focused and efficient. I work on songs then head off to breast feed, and you have to be very organised to do that stuff, and that impacts positively on your career.
“My accountant’s wife took maternity leave, and while she was away, she had loads of ideas about how to improve the company where she worked. They were so good that when she came back, they had implemented them and she had been promoted to company director.”
Jessie Ware agreed: “I also was nervous about the impact that it might have on my career, but Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac told me if I wanted to have a kid, to just go for it,” she explained. “But because I was worried I worked pretty much all the way through my pregnancy and then came back after 10 weeks which was probably too early. That said, it was only two songs at a show with Pete Tong so it wasn’t super stressful. And I’m happy to say that I am a better songwriter since I became a Mum.”
Both women also agreed that the music industry and society at large need to redress their gender balance: “I never used to say anything if I wasn’t happy with how a song was developing,” Ware said. “But now I’ve had three hit albums I have the confidence to speak up. But women are usually afraid to rock the boat because they know they’re expected to put up and shut up.”