04 Joy on Motherhood and Creativity

Photo by Joy Williams

How do you compartmentalize your “real life” from your creative life?

Having a child has made me more disciplined. I’m now working with a finite amount of time, and any amount of time that I’m spending in the studio, I’m not spending with my son. There’s a strange tug and pull to that. Making music is something I absolutely love, but now it’s tinged with a bittersweetness I’ve never known before, because I know I’m missing out on something else while I’m investing in that. But I can’t fold into one thing entirely. If I were to focus on just one, I’d be shutting the doors to all the other parts of me. I don’t even believe in the idea of balance but I do think the tension has made me more focused and disciplined as a creative person.

Did you feel a surge in creativity after having a child?

Having Miles and then going immediately into the studio opened up a major door for me. I felt that much more connected to the rawest part of my emotions and I feel like I sang that way. I can hear it when I listen back to it. There’s a great undoing that happens after you have a child—and whether it’s sleep deprivation or the natural high of oxytocin—it opens up different doors within. At least it did with me. I felt freer. I felt more fully myself, more tapped into the mainline nerve that buzzes within me.

And you seem fiercer, too.

I do feel fiercer. After having a child and going through that process, there’s an amazing sense of empowerment, because no one had that baby for me. I had that baby. Drug free. And that is the most creative thing I’ve done in the last year and a half.