Material Moms, The Mothership

[Material Moms] Being A Rockstar Mom

Linda with her family

Linda with her family

About The Author: Lawyer by training but musician at heart, Linda Ong is one third of local alternative rock/metal band, Lunarin. Formed in 1993, the band has released two albums and two EPs. They’ve also performed at Baybeats and other festivals at the Esplanade, the Substation and the Arts House. However, with the arrival of her son Damien, Linda has swapped her bass guitar for bassinets (for now)! That’s not to say she’s given up on music completely. In this post, she shares how she balances motherhood while keeping her love for music alive.

On how life has changed after having a baby

You know that scene in “Lost in Translation” where Bill Murray shares with Scarlett Johansson what it feels like to have kids? “Your life as you know it is over” he tells her as they drink sake on the bed. It’s absolutely true. Motherhood is truly the most humbling experience I’ve ever gone through. It is so easy to get lost in the confusion, the exhaustion, the chaos. I am not sure I am out of the woods yet!

That said, I am beginning to see the world in a new way, thanks to my son. I see, for example, the weird light shapes that flutter on the floor under the curtains because he saw them and were intrigued by them. I can appreciate his ability to express clearly and exactly how he feels without having to hide or be ashamed of his emotions.

On juggling motherhood with musicianship

I admit, I’m not very good at this! The band is now on hiatus because of the babies (my drummer also recently had a baby girl). It is so difficult to find time to jam nowadays. However, my bandmates and I keep in constant contact via Whatsapp. We have a bunch of new ideas which we need to work on and hopefully record. My aim is to try and re-establish a regular jamming schedule with the guys after the baby gets older and we get a helper. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later!

On keeping her passions alive

You never give up something that is a part of your life. Yes, I have stopped playing in the band (temporarily) but I certainly intend to resume when it is possible. While I don’t get as much studio time as I would like, I am still connected to my musician friends via social media. That way, I can check out their work on YouTube, buy their albums and share their tracks, etc.

If you love music or art or whatever your passion is, you never give up on those things just because you have a child. In fact, your love for these things should shape the way you bring up your child and mould you as a parent.

Linda with her Lunarin bandmates

Linda with her Lunarin bandmates

On cultivating one’s passion outside of motherhood

In the early years of the child’s life, his needs are mainly physical and immediate. He needs to be fed, clothed, bathed and cuddled. The physical demands of parenting at this early stage is so demanding that to some degree, yes, it overwhelms and takes precedence over many other things. I know of many mothers who quit their jobs because of this.

That said, as the child grows, the intellectual stimulation and nurturing that his parents provide him take precedence. That’s the stage when I believe that a parent who is well-adjusted, with a passionate world view of her own and an interest in other areas besides the domesticity of life, would be able to provide the necessary stimulation that the child needs. I think it is also important for the child to know that he is not necessarily the center and focus of his parents’ attention all of the time. He needs to learn that there are limits and demarcations of time and space applicable to himself and to others around him.

Also, for the sake of the parent’s own sanity, it would not make sense for life to stop completely and to give up on everything that you had loved before you had a child. You were a person before you became a parent. You must continue to be a person after, not this amorphous being that only posts baby pics on Facebook and yaks about lactation all day long!

On hopes for her son’s musicianship

If Damien expresses an interest, say to learn to play the piano, then I will try him out and see if he enjoys it. If it turns out he would prefer playing football and riding bikes like his dad, that’s fine too. No one forced me to play music. I picked it up myself because I had a natural love for it. My son should be given that same choice.

As a mum, how do you juggle your passions/interests outside of parenthood? Tell us in the Comments section below!

[More stories by our Material Moms]

1. [Material Moms] “Why Is School So Bossy?” – Elisa Woodward
2. [Material Moms] All You Need To Know About Car Seats – Deborah Giam
3. [Material Moms] Choosing the Right Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) – Delphine Tan
4. [Material Moms] The Veggie Dish Your Kids Will Love – Selena Quah

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Entertainment, Lifestyle

10 Minutes With … Emmy The Great – Vanessa Tai

There’s nothing new about writing songs about an ex-boyfriend, but it takes a gifted musician to move past “diary-entry songwriting” (we’re looking at you, Taylor Swift) to a more mature writing style. And that’s exactly what Emmy the Great (real name Emma Lee-Moss) has done. After her 2009 debut album, First Love, the London singer-songwriter released Virtue in 2011. While the second album also revolves around the death of a relationship, the lyrics are penned using an intriguing mix of  themes from myths, fairy tales and saints’ lives. With her mellow vocals and folksy tunes, you’ll probably like Emmy’s brand of music if you’re into singers like Laura Marling or Regina Spektor.

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With the local indie music scene blossoming, we thought it would be great to get Emmy’s advice on surviving the cut-throat nature of the music business. We caught up with her after her exclusive showcase at the recent House of Häagen-Dazs party.

What’s your number one tip for struggling musicians?
Know what you want and stick to it. It’s normal to have a lot of self-doubt, but you need to stay focused on your vision and see it through. The industry and its foibles are incidental.

How do you deal with critics?
I try to ignore it but of course most of it sticks, so sometimes, I just play therapist to myself. Also, I do a very weird thing: if someone gives me a bad review, I google their entire back catalogue so I know what kind of tastes they have.

Who are some of your favourite musicians?
My boyfriend Leo Abrahams, is the most incredible guitarist I’ve ever seen. It blows my mind even when I watch him play random notes in the studio. Another musician I really admire is drummer Andy Burrows, who’s with the band We Are Scientists. He once played drums on a track for me and I was mesmerised.

2If you could catch any musician/band – living or dead – live, who would it be and why?
Laurie Anderson, an American experimental performance artist, composer and musician who plays the violin and keyboards, and sings in a variety of experimental music and art rock styles. To me, she’s fascinating. She’s like a hypnotist.

Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a musician, I would be … ”
A brain surgeon. So someone out there is really lucky I went into music instead. Ha!

Emmy the Great’s second album, Virtue, is available on the iTunes store for S$7.98.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If you like this story, you might also like]

1. 10 Minutes With … Jonathan Meur
2. 10 Minutes With … Face Hunter
3. 15 Songs You Never Knew Were Covers

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Entertainment, Lifestyle

15 Songs You Never Knew Were Covers – Tan Lili

One of life’s greatest pleasures is to do absolutely nothing on a lazy Saturday afternoon, humming along to your favourite songs. Well, at least until you find out your whole life has been a lie, and you get clouded by the fog of betrayal – an oppressive feeling of shattered confidence, broken trust, unmet expectations.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic here. But for some music lovers, this is akin to a grown man finding out the almighty Optimus Prime and forever-sadface Eeyore were voiced by the same guy (I kid you not). Brace yourselves, for you won’t be able to un-listen what you’re about to hear.

1. “Love Hurts” by Nazareth The Everly Brothers (1960)

2. “The First Cut Is The Deepest” by Sheryl Crow Cat Stevens (1967)

3. “Without You” by Mariah Carey Badfinger (1970)

4. “Always On My Mind” by Elvis Presley Brenda Lee (1972)

5. “I Want Candy” by Aaron Carter The Strangeloves (1965)

6. “I Will Be” by Leona Lewis Avril Lavigne (2007)

7. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor The Family (1985)

8. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper Robert Hazard (1979)

9. “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia Ednaswap (1993)

10. “Emotion” by Destiny’s Child Samantha Sang (1977)

11. “The Tide Is High” by Atomic Kitten The Paragons (1967)

12. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Fugees Lori Lieberman (1972)

13. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley Leonard Cohen (1984)

14. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin Otis Redding (1965)

15. “Mandy” by Barry Manilow Scott English (1971)

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

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Gadgets & Toys, Lifestyle

On Our Want List: Wireless Speakers – Tan Lili

If you’re obsessed with music and gadgets, you’ll want to get your hands on these shiny newish things.

AudioBulb by GiiNii

Ding ding ding! What a great idea!

Ding ding ding! What a great idea!

This wireless music and lighting system allows you to use the device as a light bulb and a speaker, through which music transmits wirelessly from your iPod, iPhone, or any other auxiliary input. Plus, you can create your preferred lighting environment with the four-stage dimmer, as well as listen wirelessly with up to eight bulbs and one sound device (read: it’s your turn  to host the next house party!). AudioBulb by GiiNii, US$299.99, is available at Amazon.

Kohler Moxie Showerhead+Wireless Speaker

What's missing now is a soundproof bathroom wall.

What’s missing now is a soundproof bathroom wall.

Hands up, those of you who sing in the shower. Now, what if we told you there’s a rechargeable, wireless Bluetooth speaker that comes equipped with 60 angled nozzles to deliver a unique in-shower experience? Sing “hello” to the Moxie, a Kohler showerhead with a magnetic wireless speaker that delivers up to seven hours of music. All you need to do is sync your Bluetooth-enabled device with the Moxie (up to 10m away), and you can do a Demi Lovato in the confines of your bathroom – with excellent acoustics to boot! Kohler Moxie Showerhead+Wireless Speaker, from US$149.25, is available at Amazon.

Sony SRS-BTV5
material-world-singapore-wireless-speakers-sony-srsbtv5-black material-world-singapore-wireless-speakers-sony-srsbtv5-blue material-world-singapore-wireless-speakers-sony-srsbtv5-pink

A cutting-edge design that’s small in size but big on performance – that’s what these balls of (audio) fire claim to deliver. With Sony’s 360-degree Circle Sound audio diffusion technology, the SRS-BTV5 is able to transmit music wirelessly to every corner of a room for up to five hours. You can stream music from your Bluetooth- or NFC-enabled device (NFC, short for near-field communication, is a type of contactless communication from one device to another). What’s cool: If you stream music from your phone and a call comes in, press the answering key and the music will fade, and you can take the call hands-free. Available in black, pink, blue and white. From now until April 21, 2013, the SRS-BTV5 will be sold at $99 at all Sony stores in Singapore. After this promotional period, it will be sold at a recommended retail price of $119.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

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