Kathleen Laccinole interviews Wende Crowley, Senior Vice President of Film and TV at Sony/ATV Music, about being a Solo Mom in the music business
Music-publishing powerhouse, Wende Crowley works at Sony/ATV Music—the company that controls copyrights for more than two million of our favorite songs by artists such as The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga, to name a few. She is a Solo Mom with the dream job of music supervisor—the person who places pop music in film, television, and video games. Her credits include Annie, Easy A, Freaks and Geeks, and Arrested Development, among others.
Q: How did you get into the music business?
A: I drove cross-country from Boston to Los Angeles two days after graduating college to do an internship at Sony Records. After my internship ended, I got a job working in promotions and marketing for Nederlander Concerts and the Greek Theatre—but my dream was to become a music supervisor. There was an ad in the Hollywood Reporter as an assistant to a music supervisor. I applied and actually got the job!
Q: When and how did you become a Solo Mom?
A: I became a single mom in 2010. My ex and I decided it was time to end the marriage, but, luckily, we have remained great friends and coparents.
Q: Did being a Solo Mom impact your career in the music business?
A: Time management became a challenge. I became aware of how precious my time is with my son. It’s a constant balancing act between work and family life.
Q: How do you manage?
A: I evaluate and separate the work events I have to attend and plan accordingly. If there is something I can’t miss because we’re dealing with a big client or signing, my ex will usually help cover for me—and I do the same for him. We accommodate each other’s schedules, and we are very flexible when one of us needs coverage. I realize how rare this can be in divorce, and I am grateful for it.
Q: When your status shifted from being married to being a Solo Mom, did you feel a shift in your community?
A: No. If anything, I felt a lot of love and support from everyone. Luckily, no friends were lost in this divorce(!), although I definitely find myself seeking out other single moms or just mom friends in general. I’m always trying to pull my friends together to do things with the kids—trying to expand the circle. More people to love in your life is always a good thing.
Q: Are there specific resources that help you?
A: Having friends with kids helps. Build your network of moms, and help each other. You’ll make close friendships and so will your kids. Working in the music business means nights out from time to time. There is no way around it, so get your support system in place. There are a lot of moms in the music business. Find them!
Q: Has being a Solo Mom posed any sort of detriment to furthering your career?
A: In between the time I’ve become a single mom and now, I’ve been promoted twice, so I can say with certainly that it hasn’t held me back from furthering my career, and because I have a great relationship with my ex, he’s willing to help out if it’s “my night” and I have an important work event I need to attend. I do the same for him. We both love the extra time we get with our son, so if covering each other means we get extra time, we always take it.
Q: Was there a defining moment when you realized you were a Solo Mom?
A: My son was with his dad, and it was one of my first nights after my ex moved out. I pulled up to my house, and it was empty and dark. I sat in the driveway feeling so alone. I’ve never felt lonely as a parent, but in that moment, I felt alone as a person realizing that I was thirtysomething and single again. The feeling stunned me with deep sadness. I remember not wanting to go into the house. I think right after that I decided to throw a big party to fill up the house with people and happiness. I’ve come a long way from that night, and I can say it does get better.
Q: What are you most proud of as a Solo Mom?
A: I’m proud of how my relationship with my son only grew stronger out of this experience. Since I only have him half of the time, when I’m with him, I’m fully with him. We have more quality time, and hanging out with him is my favorite thing.
Q: What is one of your favorite single-parenting tips?
A: Sleepovers! And put your damn phone away, and be present!