Julia Hulsmann – London Jazz News
“Mothers In Jazz” is a new series, launched by singer Nicky Schrire, and it is the second feature film to be released.
The initiative aims to create an online resource for jazz musicians who work with children, those considering parenthood, and jazz industry figures who work with and hire parent musicians. The insight of the musicians interviewed for this series provides valuable emotional, philosophical and logistical information and support readily available to all. “Mothers In Jazz” highlights the very specific role of being both a mother and a jazz musician.
Pianist Julia Hülsmann is a central figure in German jazz. His seventh ECM recording, “Not Far From Here,” won Album of the Year at the inaugural German Jazz Awards in 2021, and his eighth for the label, “The Next Door,” is set to be released. Among her many fans is the German head of state, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who recently invited her to host a celebration of German jazz at his official residence, Schloss Bellevue. Julia lives in Berlin with her family and has an 18-year-old child.
London Jazz News: What is the best advice you have received for balancing/juggling motherhood and career?
Julia Hulsmann: The best advice was to build a network, find friends with kids, and support each other.
LJN: What information or advice would you have liked to receive but didn’t (and had to learn by trial and error or on the go)?
JH: I wish someone had told me how absurd some books about how your child will learn to sleep through the night are! You have to follow your own feelings – every child is different and every parent is different.
LJN: Your best advice(s) for other jazz moms?
JH: You can be a jazz musician and a mother. You just have to accept that the weather is different from before. I started to be much more efficient once I had a child. For example, writing music when I only had 20 minutes to spare.
LJN: Baby/child gear tips for travel/touring:
JH: A bottle warmer for the car.
LJN: Best general tips for traveling/visiting with children:
JH: It is possible to be on tour with your child. We had a babysitter with us, everyone agreed that we needed an extra hotel room and sometimes different hours. You also need days off when touring (eg maybe after four consecutive gigs/dates).
LJN: What surprised you about becoming a parent and remaining committed to your professional pursuits and ambitions?
JH: I was surprised that it was possible to do both. I made much better use of the time I had. But I was also surprised at how much my child grounded me. You get a different view of things, of what life is. It’s pretty good not to revolve around just one thing, like music.
LJN: What limits have you set for yourself as a mother in jazz?
JH: You need to figure out what you can do successfully so that you don’t always feel overwhelmed with all the things you’re supposed to do. Plus, you learn to juggle all the love you feel for your child with the guilt you have for chasing your dream. Even if this “dream” is also a job.
The new album of the Julia Hülsmann Quartet The next door was released on ECM Records on August 26, 2022 – There will be a raffle for copies in the LJN Wednesday newsletter. SUBSCRIBE HERE
CONNECTIONS: Website / management of Julia Hülsmann
Julia Hülsmann’s artist page at ECM Records