We’ve been longtime fans of Frockstar™ and singer/songwriter Helen Austin’s music and style- and were overjoyed when she took some time out of her busy schedule and took us away for an interview.
The Karina Chronicles: You’re a +40 year old artist/musician, wife and mother, among other titles, so let me cut to the chase: how do you manage it all? How have you found a balance between juggling your personal life against your professional one?
Helen: It has taken me a while to figure out how to switch between roles as musician, mother, wife etc. but now I see all the roles as essential to having a varied life. As soon as the kids go to school I am a musician, I force myself to stop for lunch, then at 2pm I am in mom role, picking up kids and the usual activities, dinner etc. But having it split up so cleanly means I enjoy each one and resent neither.
The Karina Chronicles: Is it different being in your 40s in an industry often obsessed with youth? What does being over the age of forty bring to the table when it comes to your music?
Helen: Last year I was offered a huge opportunity with my music but it was going to involve traveling a lot, having a stylist and generally not being in a world where I could be comfortable being over 40. For this reason I turned it down. I want to be my age and what I bring to the table with my age is a confidence and knowing who I am and I think that comes through in my music. When another opportunity came up a few weeks ago, but this time with my new band, Big Little Lions, with a guy, also over 40, I took it. Not being the sole front person feels like it won’t be about being young and sexy and will be more about the music, as it should be. So I am hoping that this means I get to keep a style that I love. At my age, I know what suits me and what doesn’t!
The Karina Chronicles: What words of advice would you like to share with other women who seek to eek out a living in a creative field? What advice do you give to yourself when the “tough get going.”
Helen: My advice to others in the arts is to forget about what others are doing and just concentrate on your own art. Time spent envying others success is wasted and takes energy away from your own endeavors. Keep your eye on the goal and enjoy it… oh, and relax occasionally!
The Karina Chronicles: Is there a favorite recent performance of yours where all the elements just came together?
Helen: My favourite gig this year was at the Bella Coola Music Festival when Daisy and I played a set as usual, but the sun was shining, the view magnificent, people were attentive and I felt we played a really great show
The Karina Chronicles: Any projects on the horizon for you?
Helen: I have a major project on the horizon. My band with Paul Otten from Ohio, Big Little Lions, just signed with a Nashville manager and we are working hard to get that going and put an EP out soon.
The Karina Chronicles: Do you have any “tricks of the trade” in balancing home life vs the creative one?
Helen: I think I just concentrate on the thing that I am doing in that moment. When I am cooking for the family I do that. When I am writing a song, that is where my head is and when I am out with the family I concentrate on them… for the most part. I don’t always get it right but my intention is there.
Check out Helen’s latest video: Take Me Away