Becoming a professional singer is a dream for some and a reality for others. Have you ever asked yourself the question, “How can I become a professional singer” and then be overcome with a sense of guilt because you wonder how you’re going to be a parent too?
Well according to Derek Presnell becoming and being a professional singer is perfectly balanced between his love for his kids, Max and Willa, being a devoted Dad and being a singer in a band. He said it’s a kind of art. The art of being a cool dad.
Kevin Coffey decided to interview a number of parents that are singers and artists, including Derek. Here’s a few snippets of what he found.
Max and Willa Presnall’s dad doesn’t clock in. He doesn’t work in an office. His co-workers don’t meet in the cafeteria for lunch.
Nope. None of that. When Derek Presnall heads to work, it’s to play keyboards, write lyrics, sing songs and dance in a band.
During the day, Presnall stays home with Willa, 2, and Max, 7 months, while his wife, Jamie, works as a teacher. At night, he heads out to play, practice and write with his band Icky Blossoms, which is preparing to release an eponymous album on Saddle Creek Records and embark on a tour.
Well I’ve heard of the phrase ‘stay-at-home-dad’ but I’ve not necessarily seen it in this context before. How cool would it have been if your dad was there with you in your early years during the day – instead of at the office? What kind of bond would you of created?
But is Derek one in a million? Is this lifestyle just a pipe dream? Apparently not.
Become a Professional Singer and be a Dad too
Presnall’s not alone in his non-office job. With its ever-growing arts community, Omaha is home to many young dads who balance fatherhood with work in music, theater and the arts. Differences in careers aside, fledgling fathers in the arts have the same experience as fathers everywhere. They’ll celebrate Father’s Day today, they work hard and they love to spend time with their families.
Of course, being a dad means they have less time to hang out after a concert or during band practice. Presnall said band practice used to be mostly socializing. Now it’s different.
“It’s completely focused,” he said. “It’s like, ‘I’m here. Let’s start working.’”
Artists also find that being a dad influences their art, even if they’re not painting portraits of their kids or writing songs about them.
I can relate to the fact of getting more focused when it’s ‘work-time’ but what do Derek’s kids think of his job? Can they understand that it is his job or is it too abstract? Derek had this to say on the matter…
Like any parent, artists can find it hard to explain their careers to their children.
Presnall showed his kids clips of his other band, Tilly and the Wall, on “Sesame Street.” Though she’s seen him play music at home, Presnall’s daughter didn’t really understand.
“I’d explain I’m in a band. It was still a very abstract concept,” he said. “She got to come see (Icky Blossoms) perform. It really clicked then. I think it’s one thing for Dad to play keyboards on the kitchen table compared to Dad performing on a big stage at the park.”
Now Willa wants nothing more than to play guitar, sing songs and get on stage, just like her dad.
And Derek isn’t the only father that is a professional singer that has a family life like this:
Chris Senseney, singer and guitarist in Big Harp and a former Omahan, balances a full work day with being in a touring band and having a family.
His job involves an hour commute, but after a long day, he still finds time to play music and play with his children, Twyla, 2, and Hank, 4.
“He does a great job,” said his wife, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, who also plays in Big Harp. “The best thing is that even if he’s stressed out, he doesn’t take it out on anyone else. He still helps me where I need help, and he’s awesome with the kids.”
During a recent studio recording session with another band, Senseney took breaks to call his wife and check on her and their kids.
“He’s so considerate,” Drootin-Senseney said. “Everything he does is for the kids and I. He has a job for us. He wants success from our band for us. He is the kindest father and an amazing teacher.”
So if you have a family and have the dream and ambition to become a singer, and even have the desire to become a professional singer but you’re full of doubts there really is a way.
Remember Derek Presnell and Chris Senseney with determination, belief and the support of your immediate family there is always a way. Many may tell you to stop dreaming, and say it can’t be done but the choice is yours to either believe them or believe in yourself.
Keep practicing, keep moving forward, get your singing exercises established and if deep down you know this is what you’re destined for you’ll find a way.
Here’s a way you can help.
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