In every May issue of P&N, we have the privilege of sharing a peek into the lives of five fascinating mamas. Our hope is that you’ll be inspired, but more so that you’ll feel right at home in this wonderful sisterhood.
Home: Tokyo, Japan and Seattle, Washington
Kids: A daughter (4 months)
Guilty pleasure: Hotel room service
First thing you bought for baby: Ballerina shoes
Favorite way to unwind: Going to an onsen (Japanese hot spring)
Pregnancy craving: Fresh-pressed juices—and Shake Shack
Last song you listened to: “Queen Bee” by Taj Mahal
Travel essentials: Oil-based facial cleanser, eye mask and ear plugs
Depending on whether she’s on tour or debuting a new album, singer-songwriter Emi Meyer essentially has two work modes: massive crunch time and total freedom. “During crunch time, our house will become a mess as I go from band rehearsals to performances to interviews for many days without a break,” the mom of one explains. “Once that circuit calms down, I will have days to organize the house, cook at home and just recharge.”
That is the perfect way to sum up the past year for Meyer, who recently gave birth to a baby girl—but not before releasing a U.S. edition of her 2015 album Monochrome and embarking on a cross-country road trip to record her upcoming album (look for it this summer!) in Nashville, all during her second trimester. “Most [of the] musicians and producers already had kids, so we would work from morning till late afternoon,” she recalls. “It was the perfect environment for me, and I was even able to write a lullaby to include on the album.”
It’s been a long-time goal of Meyer’s to have a record released in the U.S., and the label, Origin Records, just so happens to be based in her hometown of Seattle, which made it all the more special. “My grand piano is still at my parents’ house there, so I love being able to go and take hikes, write songs and enjoy home cooking,” she shares. “There’s also a DIY spirit about the town that prepared me to handle my own in the music business.”
Meyer grew up playing classical piano and later branched into jazz. “From the tools I learned with jazz, I was able to collaborate with other genres as well as start composing my own pieces, which I found really excited me the most,” she says. Singing, however, came later when she was 17. “[That] makes me quite a late bloomer, but that is something I’d like to help my daughter realize—as long as you pursue things that you enjoy with dedication, more doors will open up both around you and inside of you.”
Although her childhood was rooted in the Pacific Northwest, Meyer splits her time between Seattle and Tokyo, where she lives with her husband and 4-month-old. With frequent jaunts between her home cities—not to mention going on tours—she’s no stranger to travel. (Her tips for jet-setting with a bump: Bring your own pillow and plenty of healthy snacks.)
Because she and her husband knew they’d be staying put after her daughter’s birth, the couple prioritized travel when it was just the two of them. “[We] made sure to do all our bucket list traveling before getting pregnant,” she shares. “Now we are very OK being homebodies for a while.”
Meyer has been sticking close to Tokyo as she adjusts to life with a newbie. “The lack of sleep and around-the-clock feedings are tough,” she confesses, especially when her daughter cluster feeds. “I have a deeper respect for all moms since the beginning of time.” Although her days look different now that they revolve around an adorable little girl, the new mom is in no rush to change that. “I thought I would be raring to go back to work ASAP, but I’ve found that I am seriously enjoying being at home and focusing my time and energy on my daughter,” she says.
In light of her own multicultural upbringing, Meyer hopes to pass on many of those lessons to her daughter. “I loved growing up in Seattle … there is something that comes with fending for yourself in a melting pot of cultures that urges you to both speak up, defend yourself, but also learn to empathize,” she explains. “[And] I love the attention to others that the Japanese culture encourages. It’s an awareness of how your actions affect other people, and at the same time that gives you a lot of self-awareness.” She adds that people are rarely late—even for coffee with friends. “For my husband and I, it is the perfect home to start our family, but we both consider the U.S. a home, too.”
Meyer, who speaks both Japanese and English, is also planning to raise her daughter to be bilingual. “Even if we speak to her in English, her environment and many of our conversations with friends will be in Japanese.” Just another perk of having two home sweet homes.