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