Client Spotlight: Music and Mom Rock Star Kelly Willis Talks About Family, Health and Career

Country music star and Dancers Shape client Kelly Willis talks about touring while raising a family and staying active on the road. Despite her busy schedule, she finds time to put family and well-being first. She and her husband, Bruce Robison, released a new albumthis year titled “Cheaters Game.” We’ve been loving this song for cool down.


Q: When your kids travel on tour with you, what is the experience like for them?

A: My husband, Bruce, and I have four children: 12-year-old Dodie, 10-year-old twins Ben and Abby, and 7-year-old Joe. When we had our first baby 12 years ago, we brought him on the road with us. The fact that our marriage survived is a miracle. We rarely bring the kids on the road anymore unless it is a vacation opportunity. I hope they have fun memories of being poorly supervised and feel that no matter how bad things get, they can always sing for their supper if they have to.

Q: What is breakfast like with the family while on tour?

A: My kids get a big kick out of room service when it’s an option. They also find the continental breakfast exciting. Ah, to be young again.

Q: How do you stay connected with the family while traveling?

A: Before I leave, I plan out every detail that I can of the kids’ day and create a master schedule. I try to fit in fun activities for them. I hope they feel I’m connected to them through this schedule and that I’ve got their back. We talk at least once a day, text, and occasionally figure out how to have some face time.

Q: Music is clearly a huge part of your life. Do any of your kids have the “music bug”?

A: No one seems obsessed or anything, but they all take piano. One son plays the ukulele. And they all make up little songs and can carry a tune when pressed.

Q: When traveling a lot with a busy schedule, are you able to stay active? Do you have any suggestions for what works best to keep moving?

A: It’s very hard to keep active on the road. The day-to-day schedule is rarely the same. I often spend six hours of the day traveling, and I have to sound check, shower, and eat. Those take precedence over exercise. At the bare minimum, I stretch as much as possible. It wards off migraines, which I tend to get from the travel. If I have time, I swim a few laps in the hotel pool.

Q: Do you have a technique to stay calm and collected when the world seems to be spinning way too fast?

A: I meditate. I only remember to do it when I’m having an anxiety attack, but it always helps!

Q: What would a perfect day on tour look like?

A: Depart hotel at 10 a.m., take an hour-and-a-half drive to the next town, eat lunch, and take in the vibe. Next, I sound check, go back to the hotel, go for a swim, rest, dress, head to the venue, eat dinner, play the show, and meet Twitter friends. Finally, I sleep.

Q: We picture musical families singing all day everywhere they go — always in perfect pitch. How much singing really happens offstage in your family?

A: Well, I sing all the time. I think it’s a habit I have created to fill awkward silences. Luckily, my kids tell me to shut up frequently. My husband, Bruce, and I sing together about once a week, working up new songs or trying out new ideas. But sadly, we don’t sing and play with Bruce’s brother Charlie or his sister Robyn Ludwick unless we have a gig together. When we get together, we are more focused on each other’s kids.

Q: What drew you to the Dancers Shape studio, and how have the classes benefited you as a busy mom?

A: I was doing a boot camp and noticed that I kept getting little injuries. I thought I might want to do something that was a little more like dance — more fluid and less aggressive. I also wanted to be around more women. I was happy to discover the workout at Dancers Shape was still very intense. I love the morning classes. I can go straight from dropping the kids at school to the studio. When I work out consistently, I feel better and have less anxiety, which in turn keeps me from losing my cool as much with the kids.

We are so inspired by this rock star mom! If you want to check out her musical talent, see where she’s playing next or visit her website to listen to her music and watch videos.