Sue Drew, Music Publisher

Image Credit: Sue Drew

A Solo Mom finds success in the music industry

Born and raised in Southern California, University of Southern California graduate Sue Drew is the quintessential fresh-faced California girl. She’s also the poster child for solo motherhood. She’s successfully raised her daughter, Catherine Jones (15), while ascending the creative and corporate ladder in the über-competitive world of music—and she found her happy ending in the process.

Currently the general manager of creative and acquisitions at Kobalt Music Publishing, Drew is responsible for managing Kobalt’s growing roster by signing songwriters, acquiring catalogues, and finding creative opportunities, as well as pitching songs, facilitating collaborations, and exploring film and TV opportunities. Prior to this, Drew worked in artists and repertoire (A&R) for more than 20 years and held executive positions at Elektra Records, Chrysalis Records/EMI, and Reprise Records.

She met her current husband at a party celebrating her divorce from her daughter’s father.

She chatted with ESME about her work, being a mom, and finding joy.

What musicians are you excited about right now?

I just signed the Lionel Richie catalogue. That’s a big one. I’m excited about a young songwriter I’m developing named Jackson Morgan who is a tremendous top-liner. And I signed two bands that I think are amazing: The Punch Brothers and The Lone Bellow. Oh, and I signed Giorgio Moroder for his new album. Super fun.

Can you recommend any resources for Solo Moms wanting to get into the music industry?

The ASCAP Expo is an incredible resource. It’s a three-day conference that takes place in Los Angeles in April where they have songwriting panels, master sessions, and mentoring—an amazing experience. Take advantage of these opportunities to connect and learn. If you’re going to invest in a sitter, this would be the time.

When did you become a Solo Mom?

I was briefly married to a musician turned TV show-runner. We broke up around 2002 when Catherine was two, but it took many years for the divorce to be final.

Did you find that being a Solo Mom impacted your career?

Being a mom in general impacted my career. When I had my daughter, I quit working full time and started doing consulting. I had already been in the business for twenty years so I had that flexibility. I was able to work from home and take her to and from school, lessons, and playdates. In all honesty, I don’t know how much help I got from my husband to begin with, so it wasn’t that much different.

How are you managing now with a teenager?

It became more difficult when I went back to work full time. Catherine was nine, and I needed to hire someone to drive her around and stay with her until I got home from work. And that’s still the case because she’s not able to drive yet. In a pinch, [my husband] Jon will pick her up.

When you went from being married to being a Solo Mom, did you feel a shift in your community?

Yes, definitely. It was far more isolating for me during that time because I was living in Lake Tahoe for the first two to three years. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I didn’t have family nearby. So it was just me and a toddler. It was lonely. When I moved back to Los Angeles, my community became other single moms.

Has being a Solo Mom posed any detriment to furthering your career?

I manage it as best I can. I’ve been fortunate to work for people that have children and understand the obligation.

Was there a defining moment that drove home the realization that you were raising a child on your own?

The worst would have to be when we were robbed. I came home from picking Catherine up at camp and they were still in the house. They ran out the back. I truly didn’t know what to do or where to take her. She needed to spend the night somewhere. I had this feeling of, “Oh my goodness: I’m alone in this house with this seven-year-old girl and there were robbers just in it.” The capper was when I got my cable bill and they had ordered porn. One was called, “Hot Moms and their Sexy Daughters.” Can you believe it?!

What are you the most proud of as a Solo Mom?

I’m proud that my daughter is a very solid, consistent, easy-going, flexible, and wonderful person. Raising her is probably the most important thing I’ve done. And she is so far, so good.

What’s your favorite solo parenting tip?

I think letting her help me in the kitchen is a good thing to do because I’m a control freak and I like to do it all myself. But letting her be involved in things is my best tip—so she learns how to do things on her own and doesn’t need me to do everything for her.

E.G. Daily: A Winning Voice

Image via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

E.G. Daily, voice of Rugrats’ Tommy Pickles and participant on The Voice, shares her optimistic approach to work and solo parenting

E.G. Daily has starred in movies, topped the charts as a singer/songwriter, is the voice of Tommy Pickles from Rugrats, and has voiced other notable characters. In 2013, Daily sauntered onto the stage of The Voice and blew everyone away with her rendition of “Breathe,” joining Team Blake after the performance. Yet Daily’s greatest success is solo-mothering daughters Hunter (19) and Tyson (16). Seriously, how many kids can say their mom is a Powerpuff Girl?

Which career came first—singing or acting?

It’s really one career with all sorts of tentacles. It all goes back to my voice.

When I was young I’d make up pretend voices. And I loved to sing. I taught myself how to play the guitar so I could sing and write songs. I starred in the school musicals. Then right after high school, I started booking movies.

But no matter what I was doing, I was singing and developing my voice. My voice had been so developed as a singer, and my acting so developed as an actor, that the voice-over made sense. It contorted everything together into animation, radio, TV, and commercials.

How did you land in the voice-over business?

I was doing a musical about female wrestlers. The play involved my character’s voice at different ages. Jeff Danis saw me at a performance and told me I should pursue voice-over. He’s still my agent to this day.

But I did not do the play for any reason other than I wanted to be singing. My motives were clean. And I ended up getting all these accolades, getting a record deal, breaking into voice-over. All these great things happened because I did something solely because I loved it. I talk about this in my seminars.

When and how did you become a Solo Mom?

I always had a feeling I would be a single mom. There was too much pressure to meet guys. At 32 I decided to do it myself. I made the plan with my doctor. The pressure was off. Then I went to a barbecue, met this guy, and five weeks later got married in Vegas. I got knocked up on my wedding night. Completely unplanned!

I loved him. We had two kids. But he had a problem with drugs—so I ultimately left him. I knew it wasn’t healthy for the kids and me. Years later he got sober, and over time we learned to care about each other. Now he’s my best friend. It was painful at first, but I feel blessed that I got way more from the universe than I’d asked.

How did you manage being in a creative field while solo parenting?

I could do voice-over and bring the babies with me. I literally nursed while I was working. If I was working remotely, I could have a baby on the boob and they never knew. I did not sacrifice anything to take care of my kids.

Was there a defining moment that drove home you were raising kids alone?

My youngest had baby asthma. I’d have to grab both babies, throw them in the car, and rush to the hospital. I cried all the time because I never slept. I’d have one baby on the boob and the other on a nebulizer, and I would move my arms around like an octopus, grabbing this and that. That’s when I decided to ask for help. My family was amazing. If I had $80, I’d hire someone. Peace at any cost.

Can you recommend resources for women trying to break into voice-over or music?

My voice-over seminar is great and teaches a spiritual approach. As for singing, if you love it, sing! Take lessons. Do open mics. Bigger things will start happening.

What are you most proud of as a Solo Mom?

I’m proud of the work I’ve done on myself so I could be the parent I wanted for my girls. I didn’t follow the pattern and I think my kids are amazing because of it. I taught them to believe that if life alters things, it’s for the better. It’s not happening to you, it’s happening for you. There are no rules—it’s only what is beautiful and fantastic. Having a miserable married couple as parents is not fantastic, as opposed to pure mama love. I want my kids to not just tolerate—but to lean into all joy.

What’s your favorite single-parenting tip?

Write little notes with beautiful affirmations. Color them up and sparkle them out and put them in their lunch box and backpacks. “You’re beautiful.” “You are magical.” “You are everything I could have ever dreamed I’d want for a kid.”