Jill Barber has spent the last 20 years captivating audiences across the globe with her performances at nearly every folk and jazz festival in Canada, as well as in Japan, Europe, Australia, Mexico, South America, the USA, and the Middle East. With her latest album, Homemaker, Barber delivers quietly profound songs about the complexities of motherhood, marriage, and the struggle to feel at home in one’s own identity.
Return to Folk Roots
Homemaker is a return to Barber’s folk roots. Whereas her most recent albums have been bathed in lush string arrangements, Homemaker sees emotions laid bare, with a stripped-down production style reminiscent of her acclaimed debut Oh Heart and double Juno Award-nominated follow-up For All Time.
The Disparity Between Public Image and Reality
It was over the past few years that Barber began to feel an increasing disparity between her public image as “Canada’s Sweetheart” and the reality of her domestic life as an exhausted wife and mother. “One day I was headlining Massey Hall, and the next day I’m sweeping a messy hall,” she quips. “I was afraid to break the spell of the more romantic version of myself that I put out there in the world and which helped define my career, but I eventually reached a breaking point where I needed to write this album in order to reconcile these two versions of myself and feel okay about all aspects of who I am.”
The Homemaker as the Hero
These songs tell the story of what happens to the young romantic when she reaches “middle age,” with Barber recasting “The Homemaker” as the hero of her own story, reclaiming its power for herself and others.
Juggling Family and Career
When asked about how hard it was to juggle two kids while recording an album, Barber shared, “Well, the trick was not to accidentally drop one of them and ruin a vocal take. But seriously! Any working mother knows it’s a balancing act. I wrote a lot of these songs when my kids were either at school or asleep. My husband took on extra duties while I was doing long days and nights in the recording studio.”
Recasting Yourself as the Hero of Your Own Story
As a woman also approaching middle age, Barber was asked about what it means to recast yourself as the hero of your own story. She responded, “Let’s be real: every mother is a superhero. But society doesn’t always see it that way. As mothers, we often fall into a supporting role, and as aging women, we can seem to fade into the background. As a result, we sometimes lose sight of our own narratives. But when we are able to self-actualize as individuals, separate from our identities as wives, mothers, or caregivers, we can step into our own power as women, and play the leading role in our own lives.”
Balancing Family and Professional Success
When asked about balancing family and professional success, Barber shared, “It feels great to receive professional accolades, but the majority of the time being an independent musician is as humbling as being a parent of young kids. It takes lots of fails before you achieve a win. But as challenging as it is, I swear the music business is still easier than this parenting business. If I could hand out trophies to moms on the street, I would. Lifetime achievement awards for all the parents who stick it out!”
Barber also acknowledges the trade-offs that come with balancing family and career, sharing, “Putting extra energy into my career takes time away from my family. Putting extra time into my family takes time away from my career. If you’re lucky you can put time and energy into both and do a decent job all ‘round. As they say: You can have it all… just not at the same time ; )”
When asked about who she looks up to as a role model, Barber shared, “My amazing community of Mom friends are my everyday role models. When I see a slick mom move, I announce loudly: “I’m taking notes.” Mothers everywhere amaze me all the time. Moms are the best.”
Jill Barber is a singer-songwriter who has captivated audiences worldwide and has a career spanning over 20 years. Her latest album, Homemaker, is a return to her folk roots and delves into the complexities of motherhood, marriage, and the struggle to feel at home in one’s own identity. Barber is not afraid to be honest about the challenges of balancing family and career, and she looks to other mothers as her role models. With her powerful voice and thought-provoking lyrics, Barber continues to inspire and empower women everywhere.
Maria Spanadoris an experienced online writer with a passion for general entertainment stories. As a Greek mom, Maria brings her unique perspective to her writing, infusing her work with warmth and humor. She has been writing online for over 20 years, starting her career at thecelebritycafe.com. Since then, Maria has honed her skills as a writer, developing a talent for crafting engaging and informative content that keeps her readers coming back for more. Whether she's covering the latest celebrity gossip or writing about her own experiences as a mom, Maria's writing is always relatable and engaging.