The work-life struggle is real. Having successes in both career and parenting isn’t just about the balancing act. Parents of young children quickly learn that the real struggle is in the realization that more often than not, your time is not your own. For professional musicians, the freedom to commit to musical endeavors is often subject to a metaphorical tightening of the belt, this time at the expense of your craft. It’s not just late-night gigs but late-night feedings, too.

However, many musicians have found a balance between pursuing their creative outlets and their responsibilities to remaining a good caretaker and role model. We talked to local parent-musicians to find out what their approaches are to staying productive.


Alex Koenig with Lucy.

Alex Koenig

Musical Bio: Alex Koenig is a renowned Vaporwave composer who currently operates under the name Nmesh and occasionally as ZONΞ ΞATΞR, his side project.

Child: Lucy, 2

How he balances work and parenting:

What used to be an all-afternoon-into-the-evening affair in my 20’s, has evolved into putting in work “after-hours” in order to accomplish things. I don’t really have the luxury of goofing around anymore. I have to focus on the more lucrative tasks or at least ones that count for something in the long run. Meeting deadlines is more of a challenge. Sometimes when I’m in a crunch, I’ll put on a pot of coffee at 11 p.m. and work well into the wee hours of the morning.

On incorporating his daughter into his music:

I started producing all these super experimental short pieces that would range from dark ambient to harsh noise to entirely beat-driven ‘pop’ tracks. My initial idea was to put it out on her first birthday (I missed that deadline). All proceeds were to go to her diaper fund. If I wait much longer to drop this record, I’ll have to modify that to her college fund.


David Bird with Leroy.

David Bird

Musical Bio: David Bird has performed with a variety of bands including Hedge, Out., Will Oldham, Bad Blood, Verktum, Sean Garrison and the Five Finger Discount, American Lesions, and more, as a multi-instrumentalist and often vocalist. He currently performs in a duo with his partner named Bird/Trooper.

Child: Leroy, 6

How he balances work and parenting:

I’m not interested in very much else. We have a music room in our house that we all use. Can’t recommend that arrangement enough. Start a combo with the people you live with and practice at home. You end up playing music with the people you love most instead of looking at separate screens or whatever else. It rules, and your band gets good really fast, like from the very start.


Romell Weaver

Musical Bio: Otherwise known as the mighty emcee Rmllw2llz, Romell Weaver is a committed struggling to maintain the balance between family and the pursuit of his dreams.

Children: Romell Jr., 7; RZA, a toddler; and a foster child, 8

How he balances work and parenting:

You gotta give up something. There have been times where it was hard, but I can always find a way to devote a couple minutes a day to work on my craft. It takes 10,000 hours to be considered a master, no one said you had to grab them all at once.

My children are my work, the source of the majority of my inspiration, including my lovely wife. I used my son and new daughter in my largest video “So Amerikkkan,” and my son on previous album covers and videos. I love the chances I get to incorporate them into my work.


Stephanie Abbary with Cohen.

Stephanie Abbary

Musical Bio: Guitarist and vocalist Stephanie Abbary has performed with largely female populated bands Venus Trap and Julie of the Wolves. Abbary was also instrumental in helping to organize the Louisville Outskirts Festival.

Child: Cohen, 3.

How she balances work and parenting:

Honestly, 99 percent of my music making (and about 50 percent of my music listening) is now centered around a toddler and his whims. My house is a little less than 900 square feet, and it is really difficult to not only find time but also find a space to be noisy. My DIY recording studio turned into a playroom, then lived for a short time in the laundry room, and is now just a laptop on a rolling cart.

I have always tried to make music a big part of our days, so we make up a lot of silly songs, we have little jam sessions. My son has gone thru a drum phase, a keyboard phase, a ukulele phase, and is now really into trumpet.

I’m definitely still figuring how to balance this new role as a musician and the primary caregiver of a little human. These days I make a lot of quick recordings on my phone when I get an idea I don’t want to lose. Some nights I sit outside with my acoustic, or I plug my electric into my laptop and use headphones to work on songs. I’ve made a ton of very quiet recordings the past two years.


Syd is a freelance writer and musician. He co-runs the Louisville Music and Culture blog Never Nervous, and has contributed to The LEO Weekly, Louisville Magazine, The Courier Journal, WFPL, and the Voice Tribune. You can follow Syd on twitter @ttaurisb and find samples of his work at


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