Cyndi Dawson of NYC Band The Cynz Talks Rock, Poetry and Supporting the Music Scene

The first time I listen to NYC band The Cynz, I’m in rock n’ roll heaven. Frontwoman Cyndi Dawson’s aggressive, low vocals soar over layers of delicious, distorted guitars, bass and drums. It’s fierce, it’s intense, and suddenly I’m fired up! Ready to go! Let’s do this.

Then I remember that we’re in a pandemic. And damn. It’ll be a while before I get to bathe in the manic fury of loud, live rock n’ roll in the city. None of us do. But hopefully, God willing, soon. 

Cyndi Dawson (photo by Alan Rand)

Until then, we can only dream. 

Recently, our friend and fellow rockmommy Rew Starr interviewed Ms. Dawson, on what’s next for the author of Outside Girl (Poets Wear Prada Press)— and what we can expect in the post-pandemic future. — MTB

Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?

Cyndi Dawson: It’s been a tough year as you know. Trying to save a business, keep a band together — between no gigs and some personal stuff going on with various band members) has been a creative equation we are continually trying to resolve. We are writing new songs, recorded some early on and trying to help others with fundraising events. 

Rew Starr: I know you are the Queen of decorations, how long does it take to put them all up? Put them all away? What’s the next one?

Cyndi Dawson: It takes me a full week of working every day for hours to put it all up and probably the same to take it all down. That’s not even counting the outside decorations. I kind of am over it by New Years so basically I decorate September until January.  


Rew Starr: What are your kids up to these days? 

Cyndi Dawson: I have one human daughter, who is on her own already, a Yorkichon named Bowie and a litter of three once feral cats I took as a unit — two boys (Bob and Bree) and a girl (Puck, who was named Puck because I thought she was a boy. Now I call her MISS Puck!) 


Rew Starr: Your daughter is beyond gorgeous inside and out. What do you see of you and what do you see that’s all her?

Cyndi Dawson: She’s artsy and creative — more so than me — and she’s very musical. She plays several instruments which I could never figure out. My brain cannot comprehend notes and stringed things. I’m rhythmic so I’m a good dancer; I feel music in terms of beats. She is great at yoga which is way too slow for me. Her sense of humor reminds me of me but her sarcastic bent is my mother all the way. 

Rew Starr: I remember the first  time it hit me you looked exactly like [Barbara Eden of] I DREAM OF JEANNIE. How long have  you been hearing that?

Cyndi Dawson: Probably since I was 18! 


Rew Starr: I know  gymnastics, dance, acting and poetry came first, so how did it all begin and what led you to being a ROCKSTAR?

Cyndi Dawson: My first band was when I was 17 — an all-girl band with great backing and management waiting for us. Great concept — Kamikaze Kitty and the Attack Kats and all the songs were based on mysticism and Kitty vibes. Unfortunately it didn’t last because of our key members moved back to the South. How I ended up a front woman SINGING is solely due to Henry. I’ve always fronted s band doing poetry. Henry said I should sing. I thought he was nuts. 


Rew Starr: We met when you came to ‘ReW & WhO?’ and it was all kizmit from the start, do you follow a spiritual path?

Cyndi Dawson: I do. Probably a mix of several things I’ve delved into over the years, probably more Wiccan-based than anything. 


Rew Starr: You also are a bar owner. That must be a giant challenge these days. How can people support your bar? 

Cyndi Dawson: Drinking in the bar supports the bar, there really is nothing more complicated to offer, lol! But that is complicated in Covid times. We’ve implemented all the safety mechanisms so it’s a matter of people’s comfort levels whether or not they feel safe in a bar or restaurant. We also built a beautiful beer garden with heaters, which is great when it’s not absurdly cold out. 

Rew Starr: Are you making any new music?

Cyndi Dawson: We recorded and released two new singles this summer which got great airplay. Pretty happy about that. We are also working on finishing other songs we recorded, recording more new ones we’ve started rehearsing and releasing a ‘best of with bonus new tracks’ to be distributed in Europe and the USA.  


Rew Starr: What about playing out? Have there been opportunities?

Cyndi Dawson: Early on [in the pandemic] I did the Thunder’s tribute for Steve Krebs at Bowery Electric but that was with Jesse Malin’s band. Then The Cynz did a fundraising gig for The Brighton Bar in Long Branch. Last week Henry and I did an acoustic set on Facebook Live for Outlaw Renegade Radio to help them out. Just trying to support radio and venues that support bands! 

Rew Starr: Tell us something we don’t know about you?

Cyndi Dawson: Oh boy! I’m such an open book online! As a poet I reveal a lot and I’m also a diarist. So I reveal so much. There is a reason I don’t reveal certain things but what I want people to know about me is pretty much out there. I’m a survivor — I also am easily hurt and I have a hard time with rejection or what I perceive to be rejection. I’m not as tough as I try to appear. 


Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?

Cyndi Dawson: I think I instilled a love for music in my daughter. I also hope she gets that life in the arts doesn’t need to end because you aren’t in your twenties or you are a mom. 

Rew Starr is an actor and musician who lives in New York City

Elena Moon Park’s ‘Reimagined’ Folk, Inspired by East and Southeast Asian Classics, Offers the Springtime Songs We All Need

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Elena Moon Park describes her music as reimagined folk and children’s music from around the globe — with an emphasis on East and Southeast Asia — but I’d also call it joyful, whimsical, and inspiring. 

After watching the video for “Flower Dance,” directed and animated by Andrew Benincasa, I felt the urge to step outside and twirl in the sunlight. I literally said to myself, “I can’t wait until my kids get home from school so I can show them this!” 

Elena Moon Park (Photo by Alexia Webster)

And as I navigated Park’s impressive video library, it became clear that this Spring-friendly song is just one of many jubilant tunes and impressive accomplishments. 

A freelance violist who calls Brooklyn, N.Y., home, Park has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in other countries — including the Southbank Centre and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. When she’s not creating music, she’s the co-Artistic Director of the Brooklyn-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, which uses collaborative music creation to connect people across cultural divides.

“I love to learn and sing songs in different languages, and to incorporate a lot of different kinds of instruments and musical traditions into the song choices,” Park tells Rockmommy. All of the music I create is driven first and foremost by my love of collaboration, with musicians, visual artists, friends and family who I admire.”

We caught up with Elena recently to talk about life, artistic expression, and making “unhurried” music during uncertain times.

Rockmommy: What were some of the biggest challenges of creating music over the last year? 

Elena Moon Park: Like many moments in life, I think the biggest challenges in the last 12 months also revealed some big opportunities for me. Of course, we’ve communally faced a tremendous challenge, perhaps the greatest global challenge of our lifetimes; but hopefully in that process, we were given some opportunity to be able to reflect and focus on the things that are most important to us, whatever those things may be. 

Facing big challenges can remind us what we value most in our lives. And in particular, this challenge to stay in one place and to slow down, as many of us experienced this year, gave me an opportunity to reflect. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to safely work from home and have this opportunity of time — as I know not everyone did — and I am also incredibly grateful for those who have had to move into higher gear to keep us all safe or to keep themselves or their families afloat. I have spent a lot of time in this past year connecting or reconnecting with family and friends, and connecting with the natural world around me, and that has kept me grounded. 

Elena Moon Park

Rockmommy: How did the past 12 months influence your music and creative process? 

Elena Moon Park: For several months starting in March 2020, I took slow walks around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, closely watching the trees and flowers bloom in the springtime, blossom and wilt in the summer, and change into vibrant colors in the fall. I don’t think I’ve ever paid such close attention to these things in this busy, fast-paced NYC world, and, as I mentioned above, it left me feeling very grounded and meditative. During that same time, I was gearing up to release a new family music album, aptly titled “Unhurried Journey” — dedicated to taking a deep breath and slowing down. The album ended up coming out alongside another major shift in energy, just as the resurgence of protests for racial justice hit the streets across the nation, so the Unhurried Journey message was not quite fitting for that moment — although I do believe that the communal slowing down played a key role in bringing much-needed nationwide attention to the movement and to the message.

But in the months leading up to its release, I ended up making 15 lyric videos for each of the 15 songs, inspired by the beautiful artwork of my collaborator Kristiana Parn and by these meditative walks I was taking every day around my neighborhood. The videos still make me think back to that time, and I am so thankful for those moments.

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 

Elena Moon Park: I hope that we (or I) can keep remembering to reflect on what is important, to be present in the moment, especially in our time spent with loved ones, and to appreciate and respect the natural world around us. I hope we will also find ways to support one another as we continue this communal struggle, and to support positive change, guided by radical compassion, listening and love for the people and things around us.  

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Elena Moon Park: It’s similarly challenging to plan for any projects these days, but I am having a lovely time daydreaming of what it could be like to turn my Unhurried Journey album into a storybook of some kind. I also look forward to creating more music or music videos with artistic collaborators, if and when the time is right.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy. 

Should I Stay or Should I Go (Out)?

After a year of being shuttered mostly indoors with my family, I’m feeling a mad kind of spring fever. I want to go out in a big way. Not outdoors, to the beach, or the fire pit, but out out — like I did in 2019. I want my band to play in a bar. I want to sip drinks idly, as I watch live music.

Who doesn’t want all the things?

The author, mulling whether to go out

The problem is, I’m not vaccinated. Not yet.

A few weeks ago, I was informed of a fun, relatively “safe” event — a lip-sync mask “battle” at the Cellar, a cool, indie music bar in Hamden, Connecticut. My fellow musician friend (and parent) Dustin posted a flier and invited everyone to compete safely. Masks are required (except when you’re eating). Performers will wear a clear one. Sanitizer and precautions will abound from every corner of the indoor space.

I was “in” the moment I saw the announcement, and began crafting my burlesque-without-the-stripping lip-sync choreography for “Wrecking Ball” in earnest — it’s taking shape, and after weeks of rehearsal, it’s awesome. I’m stoked to perform it later. I’m stoked to be out, with creative people, doing creative things. I feel alive just thinking about it.

But the venue’s event is in its indoor space. My partner is not OK with that.

It’s an indoor bar, Marisa, he reminds me. People at their tables won’t be wearing masks. Once people start drinking, they’ll be mingling. If one person in that room has Covid, you’e f*cked.

coffeehouse vibes

See, as I’m writing this I’m sitting in an indoor space — Candlewood Market in Fairfield. It’s a beautiful, ample coffeehouse with an industrial warehouse vibe, succulents and weathered wooden signage. Photography and botany and sunshine. I love it here. I go once a week, while my sons are in ninja class next door (masked up, of course). The guy at the table next to mine isn’t wearing his mask, so I only pull mine down when I need a sip of coffee.

I always need coffee.

But anyways, it’s hard to be excited about a fun night that really isn’t any more risky than my time at this coffeehouse (sitting exactly six feet away from the unmasked patron, only because I moved my chair) when my partner thinks that I’m taking a gigantic risk.

Which brings me to the dilemma: I’m one week away from my first vaccine. I’ve spent a year working hard to avoid Covid. Is it really worth it for me to go out now and take any risk? Like The Clash sings in its infamous song, ‘if I go there will be trouble, but if I stay there will be double.” (Double, because I’ll regret not doing something really fun that I’ve been excited about, while disappointing my friends who want to come out with me).

Decisions, decisions! What would you do?

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

Richard Demko on Challenges, Changes and Keeping Connecticut’s Live Music Scene Thriving

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

If anyone my local music scene in Southern Connecticut is deserving of the ‘jack of all trades’ designation, it’s Richard Demko, longtime multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, promoter and more. He has an ear for talent and a knack for making things happen. He’s a dad, too, which is awesome. 

I had the honor of meeting Demko — a.k.a., ‘Rick’ — in early 2020 at Café Nine in New Haven, through a mutual friend who invited him to see my band Trashing Violet play its third-ever gig. But although his reputation as a superstar engineer and founder of independent label NeuroTronix Records made me feel a little intimidated, his easygoing, engaged personality immediately put me at ease. 

For Demko, a man who is still busy juggling family life, with pressures to create, support and promote in spite of Covid-related restrictions, a pandemic silver lining was a surge of creativity. In early March 2021, Demko released his first orchestral single “Through Time and Space” (available on iTunesSpotify and Amazon), and is organizing as many outdoor shows as possible so his musician peers can play again. 

We recently caught up with Demko to chat about new music, summer plans, parenting and more. 

Richard Demko, of NeuroTronix Records, hard at work at Horizon Studio.


Rockmommy: What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months?

Richard Demko: My biggest challenges in the past 12 months have been juggling writing, producing, promoting and all the label obligations I have with my whole household being home due to distance learning and working. 

It’s also been a challenge promoting albums because live music is a big part of getting music out there. With no live music, I’ve had to be creative on how we promote releases and singles. There is no script to what has had to occur to try and keep everyone out there and moving. 

I have a lot of sympathy for working musicians and venue owners who have been hit very hard this year. I’ve been lucky because I’m blessed to have great clients who have sent me lots of remote mixing work, writing and session work, and some decent album promotional campaigns. Because if that, I make it a point to try and give back to organizations and places that are supporting local working musicians and various venue relief efforts as much as I can. 

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 


Richard Demko: 2020 has had a big influence on my solo writing, as I’ve written a few pandemic-themed songs, including a Christmas tune released exclusively for the 2020 holiday season called “Merry Christmas From a Distance.” I’ve also written a few songs for sync licensing that pertain to certain aspects of the pandemic. 

Richard Demko “Through Time And Space”


Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 


Richard Demko: I am hopeful that the pandemic will come to an end and we can return to live music! I am also hopeful from a label perspective that Connecticut will gain some serious attention in the mainstream music scene, as we have so many great artists and bands in our area! 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Richard Demko: As a solo writer, I plan on releasing of a few singles early in 2021, maybe a new Demkovic single will drop too. Passing Strange has a new album that we will be starting to track, which I’m really excited about. 

[SEE RELATED: Passing Strange Share Their Journey to ‘The Water and the Woods’ and What They Want Most in the Post-Pandemic World]

Rockmommy: What can you tell us about your new song? How did it come about? 

Richard Demko: This song was started 7 years ago. I never finished it and it just sat on the storage drive and I kinda forgot about it. About two months ago, I was going through some of the stuff on my storage drive and I came across this and decided to take a listen. One thing led to the next and I ended up finishing it. Normally a song like this I would submit to one of the music libraries I work with for sync licensing, but I really was digging this one and wanted to keep it for myself so I decided to release it to the world under my name. 

Rockmommy: You’re also a big supporter and promoter of indie rock– both independently and through NeuroTronix Records. What can artists hope for in Connecticut this summer? How are you navigating some of the new rules and challenges to bring live music back? 

Richard Demko: I think this summer is going to be pretty good for outdoor music. I’ve got a few places I’m working with to promote live outdoor shows, one being 10selden where I have exclusive access to the bookings calendar. During the spring and summer months, I tend to enjoy outdoor music under normal circumstances, so I think regardless of the changes in the indoor venue guidelines, I’m going to stick with promoting mainly outdoor shows — at least at 10selden. I wouldn’t say I’m just a supporter of indie rock, I support indie artists of all genres, and hopefully once things start to go back to normal, the label will be actively scouting again to expand its roster. I’ve got a few artists I’m keeping an eye on, but that’s all I will say about that for the moment. 

Rockmommy: What advice do you have on balancing parenthood with creative life?

Richard Demko: The best advice I can give to creative parents would be to just do the best you can with the time you have. Modify your creative schedule so that your family has the attention they need. When you get stressed, put that energy into writing or creating when you get the time, and it will not only come out more emotional, it will mean so much more in the end. I love being able to spend all this time with my kids and wife with everyone being home, however making the time to create is a very important part of having a balanced life.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Sonia De Los Santos on Welcoming Hope – and ‘Esperanza’ – This Spring

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Sonia De Los Santos creates music for children and families inspired by the Latin American folk music traditions. And although her songs are primarily in Spanish, the music is universally triumphant, filled with guitar, trumpet, violin, accordion, drums, but also other traditional instruments like the Mexican jaranaleona and the Colombian native flute: gaita.

Sonia De Los Santos

We recently caught up with Sonia find out what’s next, as the cooler weather starts to taper off.

Rockmommy: It’s been one year since the pandemic became our daily reality. What are the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months? 

Sonia De Los Santos: One of the biggest challenges has been learning to perform without a physical audience in sight. To me, singing and playing for the camera feels very different from doing it in a theater. It might seem easy to turn the camera on and start playing but putting on a virtual show seamlessly takes a lot of energy and test runs! On the upside, I’ve learned a couple of tech tricks that have hopefully taught me how to make better videos!

Rockmommy: How did 2020 influence your music and creative process? 

Sonia De Los Santos: My creative process got turned upside down in 2020. Inspiration as I knew it, had a different face this year and it was hard to recognize what the “right” moment was to sit down and write. In past years, I would return from a tour or rehearsal with an idea to develop, and sometimes that idea would be fleshed out with words, rhythm and melody within hours! I’ve been writing songs during the pandemic, but at some point I felt like I was going in circles! So, yes, I struggled a lot more to be in a particular creative space all the time, so I tricked myself to get there. On the other hand, I wrote some songs that I would’ve never written had I been living my past life, so it’s all good! 

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021? 

Sonia De Los Santos: I’m hopeful that we will find a way to go back to our lives in a better fashion. Having learned about what’s truly essential will hopefully present other ways of living, being aware of the impact we have on the planet, in our communities, and in what we choose to fight for. 

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share? 

Sonia De Los Santos: I’m currently recording our next studio album Esperanza (Hope) that will be released in 2021, so we’ll have more hopeful songs to share with you in the months to come! Although the writing and production process has been a little bit different with this one, we’ve made it work. It draws inspiration from these challenging times and offers a message of hope and resilience for what’s coming next.

Last October, we put out the first single called ¡Fiesta, Fiesta! and it’s available in my website and all digital platforms. If you haven’t listened, go check it out and let me know what you think!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

NYC’s DonBlackCat, Rockdaddy and Longtime Guitarist, Plays on

interview by Rew Starr, Rockmommy contributor

It’s been a rough year for so many of us, including NYC-area musician DonBlackCat ( Donald Sztabnik), who lost his brother from the disease. But the guitarist, a frequent guest on the Pandemic Party/Rew & Who Show and the #rockdaddy of on-air personality/Z100 host Erica America, is still playing virtually and looking forward to a better 2021. 

DonBlackCat playing guitar

Rew: What have you been doing these days?

DonBlackCat: We all are suffering and trying to navigate through the challenges of the Covid-19 maelstrom … I lost my brother from this terrifying disease. I know many people who felt this pain up close and personal. But somehow we keep going and the music is always our friend, sometimes our only friend. To me the Guitar is like a Rubic’s Cube … simple yet a mystery that gets more Byzantine each time I pick one up. I have many laying around all over my house whispering to me ‘I dare you to try and play me !’ I continue to take bait… like Sirens wailing in the storm tempting me into frustration… I need to put wax into my ears to get some peace of mind. 

Rew Starr: Can you tell us about your kids?

DonBlackCat: My daughter Erica ( aka Erica America ) and my son Brian both look like me and for that I apologize to them both! I could not have asked for better kids who are now adults… ( Rew, are we adults yet… please let me know?). They like different music than me, but I do like what they listen to…

Rew Starr: How many major concerts and backstages have you been to thanks to her?

DonBlackCat: Erica is an on air personality for Z-100 so I have been to all the Z-100 Jingle Ball Concerts since she joined the on air roster a decade ago… so many great pop artists have graced the Madison Square Garden Stage. Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Pitbull, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Camilla Cabello, Justin Bieber, Bebe Rexa, Ed Sheeran, among many others. My new favorite is Dua Lipa, with a sultry voice and great dance songs… one year backstage at MSG I got to meet the very special Christy Turlington who was gracious, funny and very down to earth… and she laughed at my jokes!

DonBlackCat and his daughter Erica America (of Z-100)

Rew Starr: How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a Rockstar? 

DonBlackCat: I was just 13 when I heard the Beatles on the radio for the first time on Thanksgiving night in 1963. It was on a small radio in the office of a local gas station. The WABC disc jockey said these lads from Liverpool had long hair and wore leather jackets and were called … The Beatles. 

I was struck by lightning, frozen in place staring at a tiny radio with a single speaker hearing ‘I wan to hold your hand’… that was the moment of moments for me. From then on it was the Beatles and all that followed, The Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who, along with my folk and blues favorites like Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzey.  

To me, the guitar was a magical instrument. How could so many artists playing guitar sound so different and so good? I borrowed an older acoustic guitar and struggled to learn a few chords. I have never stopped since and my guitars are my friends… they frustrate me one day and bring me immense joy the next! … ha!… just like kids!

Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a ROCKDADDY?

DonBlackCat: The greatest thing about being a rockdaddy is having two kids that gained me entry into this esteemed club. They are my greatest songs and they keep me younger every day. I give sincere thanks that I have remained active in music and that the thrill is not gone. I’m blessed and I appreciate every note!

Rew Starr is a musician, actor and mom who lives in New York City.

Monique DeBose, on Creating New, Purposeful Art on the Heels of 2020’s Urgent ‘Rally Call’

By Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Monique DeBose’s song ‘Rally Call’ was one of the most impactful pieces of art to emerge from the most tumultuous year in recent history — but creating the song, and other music in 2020, was a process wrought with challenges.

With two young sons at home all the time amid the pandemic and the broader fight against racial injustice, finding the quiet moments for art sometimes felt impossible, according to the musician mama.

Monique DeBose

“Raising children through all the turmoil and racial reckoning required surgeon-like skills with how I shared information and life lessons with my 9-year-old and 7-year-old,” Monique tells Rockmommy. “I had a hard time carving out space for me to restore, meditate, be with my Self.”

[SEE RELATED: Monique DeBose: On Creating ‘Rally Call’ and Music That Inspires Change]

But with spring right around the corner, there is a renewed sense of hope in the air. We recently connected with Monique to talk about the re-release of her 2018 project (The Sovereign One), a new podcast (coming this spring!) and how she’s meeting the challenges of motherhood during the ongoing pandemic.  

Rockmommy: For those who might not be familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

Monique DeBose: Some would call my music jazzy pop infused with soul. I call it medicine. I create it to speak truth to power, to fear, to doubt. Everything I do is about owning all the parts of yourself. I believe that until we own all the parts of ourselves, only then can we truly be free. I am about creating more space in our nervous systems to be more loving to the things we’ve been ashamed of, embarrassed by and outright hated about ourselves. I do that through music, the written word and performance. 

Rockmommy: What were the biggest challenges you encountered in the last 12 months? 

Monique DeBose: The biggest challenge has been confronting the fact that many of my fellow Americans choose (consciously or unconsciously) to turn away from the injustices that are our country. It’s such a mindf*ck to know that everything we’ve built our lives on is so much more complex than the narrative that America was founded by the underdogs who worked hard and found prosperity. Having to accept that this bitter pill has colored every aspect of my life — raising my mixed/remixed boys, how I create art and what themes my works have, being married to a white, English, Jewish man, how I stand and support people who look like me- everything. 

That being said, raising children through all the turmoil and racial reckoning required surgeon-like skills with how I shared information and life lessons with my 9-year-old and 7-year-old. 

I had to face things with them that I didn’t think was fair to have to share with such young souls. Some people have the ‘privilege’ of not having to share the facts of life (as we presently know to be true) and I choose not to use that privilege. Using it only keeps the world in the state of denial that has brought all of what the summer of racial reckoning brought. 

Having kids at home 24/7 because of the global pandemic has also been ridiculous. There is no space to have the quiet moments I need as an artist. There is a constant piece of my consciousness with them — if they need homework help, emotional support, food — I begrudgingly made the choice to support them instead of keeping boundaries to be in my art/work. Each person who is blessed to be a parent must face this choice, pandemic or not- it’s a tough one. 

Also, regarding mental health, I had a hard time carving out space for me to restore, meditate, be with my Self. 

Rockmommy: What are you most hopeful for in 2021?

Monique DeBose: I’m most hopeful that people will continue down the path of taking an honest look at our lives — looking at the limiting beliefs we are letting run us at the detriment of our fellow community members. I am most hopeful that our nervous systems will keep expanding to be able to hold seemingly diametrically opposed beliefs so that we can be more loving with each other. That’s the 30,000 foot hope. Here on the ground, in my own life, I am hopeful that my voice will reach thousands upon thousands of people who feel fed by the medicine I’m sharing through song, the written and spoken word- through all my creative projects. 

Monique DeBose (credit: JQ Williams)

Rockmommy: Any recent or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Monique DeBose: I am working on the re-release of my 2018 project, the Sovereign One. It was such a beautiful accomplishment to put this project out. The collection of songs are all about integrating all the parts of ourselves that we often compartmentalize for survival’s sake. It debuted at #2 on the iTunes charts. I cried ugly tears as I watched that happen! I’ve teamed back up with my songwriting partners, Isaac and Thorald Koren of the Kin fame, and we’re adding to the story. After all that transpired this past summer and the need for us to come together — to integrate all of our history — there is more of this story to tell. That will be released later this summer 2021. 

I’m also in the midst of recording a podcast called ‘More with Monique.’ After the success of my song ‘More,’ which was released in October 2020, we saw there was a global movement where women were inspired to choose more for themselves. Women around the world participated by declaring what they wanted to choose more of in their lives and held up signs letting their community know to hold them accountable. We’ve got the first season mapped out with some extraordinary and extra ordinary women sharing stories of when they chose more for themselves. We will release the project late spring 2021. 

Rockmommy: What advice do you have on balancing parenthood with creative life? 

Monique DeBose: There is no balance in my life if I’m honest. I find I put my attention on one thing and the other may suffer. It’s just part of the game. What I do attempt to do is accept that this is part of life, do my best to be gentle with myself, and remember, that there is something much bigger at play here. Whether I’m being the best, or the ‘crap’ parent, it is my job to remember that these precious souls that AGREED to come in and be parented by me, are resilient. They have their own entelechy, their own internal intelligence that will unfold, independent of me putting them to bed seven nights a week or four.

Please remember that we are all divine beings having a human experience and at this particular time, there is so much we are processing and integrating. And … we were built for this time — all of us, including our little ones. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.