Meet the Parents: Canadian Musicians on the Joys and Challenges of Raising Kids

Show & Tell

Lido Pimienta, Shad, Said the Whale's Tyler Bancroft, Jill Barber and more discuss parenthood

Photo: Daniela Murillo

BY Alex HudsonPublished Aug 10, 2023

Musicians are creators who deliver art into the world — and what could be more creative than literally bringing a new human life into existence?

We spoke with some of the Canadian musicians who are also parents about the joys of raising kids, as well as the incredible challenges that come with parenting a child while maintaining a career in a field that is already notoriously difficult to make a living in. Everyone we spoke with agrees: as hard as it is, they wouldn't change it for anything.

See the photos below, and check out past editions of Exclaim!'s Show & Tell here.

Jill Barber

Photo courtesy of the artist

When Jill Barber had her first baby, she questioned whether should would be able to maintain her music career. "The good news is: it's all possible!" she tells Exclaim! "But not without support (additional childcare), and not without resources (additional expenses), and not without extra stress and tears (sorry)." She gives special thanks to her label, Outside Music, for supporting her and fellow musical parents like Tami Nielsen and Charlotte Cornfield. "It would be great to see a progressive shift in attitude from the industry — one that celebrates matriarchal musicians as the potent and strong artists we have proven ourselves to be." These topics are at the heart of her new album, Homemaker, released earlier this year.

Kathryn Calder

Photo: Kate Todoruk

Solo songwriter (and member of the New Pornographers and Frontperson) Kathryn Calder describes herself as "a kid at heart," so playing with her two-year-old daughter gives her a chance to revisit the joys of childhood: "The little dips and rises along the path that feel like big hills to a small child, throwing rocks in a puddle to make a big splash, or making new furry friends like this sweet goat at Bear N Bee Farm," she says. "Needless to say, there's lots of silly made-up songs about animals (and whatever else) happening over at our place."

Neil Bednis and Melanie St-Pierre of Casper Skulls

Photo courtesy of the artists

Casper Skulls co-founders Bednis and St-Pierre have been taking some time away from the road to raise Molly, who was born in May. Fans will surely hope that Molly is a good sleeper, because that's the time Bednis and St-Pierre have been using to work on the follow-up to 2021's Knows No Kindness. They tell Exclaim!, "Maybe one day when she's older she'll start a band, but knowing kids, she'll probably rebel and become a scientist. Oh well, the sky's the limit!"

Hannah Epperson

Photo: Matthew McFeely

Violinist Hannah Epperson has two daughters, Lyra (who is two) and Hazel (who was born this spring). She acknowledges that she's no longer able to focus on her music quite like she used to, but calls being a parent "the most creative journey I've embarked on yet." What's more, she tells Exclaim! that her career as touring musician prepared her well for motherhood: "The strings of sleepless nights, the logistical problem solving, the daily world-building and dismantling, the emotional roller coasters, the unimaginable balance of total organization and absolute chaos."

Lido Pimienta

Photo: Daniela Murillo

Lido Pimienta has raised two children and her nephew in the same small apartment — which makes her sentimental about leaving it this summer. Now that her youngest is five years old, she's keen to have another child and once again experience the "chaotic, beautiful, heartbreaking, ungrateful, isolating, wonderful thing of raising kids." The affordability crisis has made her question whether this will be possible, however.

"Our generation is being pushed out of the city and the suburbs are not well designed for fostering culture," she reflects. "By the way, what is up with the urban planing and architecture of Canada? Why do we want to pretend we live in the US in the '50s? Ban HGTV!" 

Tyler Bancroft of Said the Whale

Photo courtesy of the artist

Singer-guitarist Tyler Bancoft has two sons, aged seven and four, and one of them has recently discovered dad's band: "As I write this, Grayson has just fallen asleep to Said the Whale in his headphones," Bancroft says. "He's been doing this every night for the past nine months or so. It's probably a phase but I'm lapping it up."

His youngest, Everett, prefers Taylor Swift, although Bancroft isn't forcing his love for music on either of them. "Instead, I try to facilitate whatever interests they naturally gravitate towards," he says. "So far that's been science, spells and potions for Grayson, and sharks and dinosaurs for Everett." Similarly sweet, supportive sentiments can be heard in STW's fatherhood anthem, "Level Best."


Photo courtesy of the artist

As a father of two girls, aged three and five, TAO rapper Shad marvels at the duality of fatherhood, which is both "kinda surreal" and "as regular as it gets." He tells Exclaim!, "The biggest surprise for me has been the change in my motivation. I always thought having kids would make me work harder out of a scarcity mentality, but I actually find it harder to motivate now. Partly because I'm low-grade tired at almost all times, but also because the kids give me a pretty deep sense of contentment, if that's not too clichéd to say."

Terry Uyarak

Photo courtesy of the artist

Nunavut songwriter Terry Uyarak has three children — ages 13, seven and four — and he says they're the reason he makes music. "If I ever pass away, they can listen to my words if they needed me," he says. "Often I write music for my dear wife to tell her I love her, but they could very much have the same meaning to my children." The latest of these messages to his family is the album Unnuaq, released in June.

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage