A Cup of Tea with Dawn Upshaw

8. Family and Career

FRANK J. OTERI: You’re here today with your lovely daughter who’s just sitting over there off camera.

DAWN UPSHAW: Yes! Very patiently I might add.

FRANK J. OTERI: How do you balance your family and your musical career?

DAWN UPSHAW: It’s a day-by-day venture. Certainly having my husband home full time with the kids is a big answer to the question. And you know, life’s complicated. Life’s complicated for lots of people, I think, no matter what you do. Perhaps what ends up being a little bit harder on me and on my family is my being away for extended periods of time, but we have family rules about that that we stick to about how long I’ll stay away without seeing them and then they’ll come and spend time with me. In the end, even though sometimes it’s complicated, it is really the focal point of my life. My top priorities begin there and I think that it affects everything that I do in a wonderful way. Having that unit, that love that comes from those relationships that touches on everything that I do. I’m sure that’s true no matter what anybody does for a career. But what I enjoy is how I can bring that into music making.

FRANK J. OTERI: Well, to turn the question upside down, how does the music making affect you as a parent? Are you constantly a missionary for the cause of music? I suppose we should probably turn the camera around for that one (laughs)…

DAWN UPSHAW: I don’t think I’m pushing music so much in the house. I mean, the kids take music lessons. If they didn’t want to, we wouldn’t have them take music lessons. I’ve talked a little bit about how the greatest music along with touching me teaches me something. Spiritually sometimes, it teaches me emotionally, it teaches me even maybe how to be more loving and generous. There is something about music making that keeps all of that, the healing aspects of music and of love, alive.

FRANK J. OTERI: And new music?

DAWN UPSHAW: Any kind of music.

FRANK J. OTERI: In the household?

DAWN UPSHAW: New music… Well, we listen to pop radio stations. Right now we’re playing the Beatles all the time, the kids are really into the Beatles and so it changes and sometimes we listen to, I still listen a lot to Steely Dan and so they hear all kinds of music in the house. Even just if they come to my rehearsals, of course, they’re hearing all kinds of music. I think music adds so much to living whether, you know, whether it is your source of income or not and that’s what I hope for my children is that they will have an appreciation and a love music that will allow music to touch their lives the way that I think it can which is a wonderful gift.

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