What changed when Barbra Lica and Sammy Jackson became mothers
By Raina Hersh2023/05/09
Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Barbra Lica just released her latest album Imposter Syndrome. Released in October, it features original music arranged for her new chamber orchestra of 16 musicians.
Meanwhile, Juno winner Sammy Jackson’s incredible vocals and personal songwriting on her With You EP captured the attention of listeners and critics alike.
Ahead of their special Mother’s Day show on Thursday, May 11, at the El Mocambo, they joined us for a conversation and a duet performance of one of Barbra Lica’s currently unreleased songs.
You two have performed together before. How did you meet?
Barbra Lica: Sammy and I went to [the University of Toronto] together and basically didn’t talk to each other the entire time.
Sammy Jackson: But I admired Barb from afar and fan-girled every day.
Barbra Lica: She watched me get in trouble with all my professors, who used to mark all my papers with, “What were you smoking?” We were playing with a bunch of the same people and ended up being in the same circles all the time, and we realized that we like each other. [Laughs]
What do you like most about performing together?
Barbra Lica: I love Sammy’s voice. I think her voice is like silk. Who doesn’t want to put on a bit of silk?
Sammy Jackson: For me, it’s seeing Barbra’s work ethic and how much she really cares about her music. Her shows are always well put-together and well thought-out.
Barbra Lica: I like that I’m giving you that impression. I definitely don’t write set lists on the morning of the shows. Never, ever.
You’re playing this Mother’s Day concert together, and you’re both moms.
Barbra Lica: We’re both moms! Can you believe it?
Who’s more surprised that you’re a mom?
Barbra Lica: Everybody’s surprised that I’m a mom. Nobody thought that was going to happen.
How did becoming a mom change the way that you approach your music?
Sammy Jackson: I was more particular with how I spent my time, and my priorities shifted. Maybe I won’t spend an entire day practising — I might spend half an hour.
Barbra Lica: Musically, we’ve both changed, too. I’ve sort of gone back to an era of writing love songs. I was writing a lot of depressing songs that sounded like breakup songs but were really just me raging against… um, you know, my career. Now I’m back in this era of love songs because I’m completely smitten. And I’ve heard [Sammy’s] love songs. We’re just troubadouring all over for these boys we’re in love with who give us all the affection we’ve always wanted. We’re just two fools in love. A Mother’s Day concert is an opportunity to sing the love songs we want to sing.
Has there been a piece of advice about motherhood that has stuck with you?
Sammy Jackson: The only advice I kept getting was “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Barbra Lica: I got all kinds of advice about all the stuff I should give up and compromise, and instead I have a written agreement with my husband that he will be the primary caregiver. I’m just trying to not take any advice at all and just do it my way.