Inside: Q&A with Chrissi Poland, the artist behind the new album and single, Destination Home. Coming November 5, 2021.
Have you ever dreamed about what it might be like to be a professional singer?
You and the band, up there on the stage, belting out a tune and seeing folks soak in the joy that is your voice and music.
Even if you can barely carry a tune in a bucket, it’s one of those dreams I think a lot of us have had at one point or another. (In fact, somewhere out there is a hopefully now destroyed demo tape of me singing “A Rose is a Rose” recorded from my old boombox… #musicgoals)
So when I got the chance to interview professional singer, Chrissi Poland, who has collaborated with some of the biggest names in the biz (you need to check out the list below!) I was thrilled! Music AND Motherhood – amazing.
With Love, Becca readers, meet mom and singer, Chrissi!
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Meet Chrissi Poland
Becca: Thanks for being with us, Chrissi! For those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us about yourself?
Chrissi: Hello there! I’m originally from Southern Massachusetts, a town called Marshfield. Work is full of touring, studio sessions, some lessons/masterclasses, and writing and releasing new music…all the things I love.
Aside from music, I’m a budding landscape enthusiast and have been having fun designing plant and flower scapes for our new yard that are timed with the seasons. I love to take a couple of hours cooking a meal for my family to enjoy (while sipping sauvignon blanc and listening to Yacht Rock playlists), and of course, spending time laughing and learning with our daughter.
Let’s Talk Music!
Becca: Did you always want to be a performer growing up?
Chrissi: YES. From the time I could walk, around 1 year old, I was singing, playing an instrument that was lying around, dancing, etc. Dance classes started at 2 and once I hit that stage, I never looked back.
Becca: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your music career? How about the toughest lessons learned?
Chrissi: Some moments I feel very proud of are instances when I set my sights on a certain incredible human that I wanted to work with and made that happen. By showing up, networking, making sure the goods are there to back it up, and being able to answer the call when the moment came- these moments left me with the feeling that you really can make your dreams come true. Working with people like Nile Rodgers, Bette Midler, Marc Cohn and even now (I’m on the road singing duets with Michael Bolton) all have stemmed from that “set my sights on it” philosophy.
The toughest lessons learned are how to handle and let go of an opportunity I wanted but didn’t get. How to reconcile that, how to not ruminate, feel depressed, and at times even hopeless. The rejections always FAR outweigh the successes, but that’s the name of the game in this business. It’s tough and also difficult to learn how to use the rejections to press on, and that can and has led to other successes.
(Quick aside here from Becca to say “See, networking works!!! Chrissi Poland did it and you can too. Here’s how.“)
Working Mom Life & “Destination Home”
Becca: In your song, “Destination Home,” you talk about how traveling for your career felt different after having your child. Can you share about that experience?
Chrissi: Before becoming a mother, any travel I did was “untethered”. Even being married, we are both adults, we can care for ourselves, distance makes the heart grow fonder!
Touring now is equal parts thrilling as ever and terribly difficult on an emotional level. However, with a lot of preparation (for my mind, that is), I’m able to stay connected as much as I can and also let go a bit, knowing she is well cared for, loved, with her Dad and family members, and thriving.
I remind myself that there is an example I’m setting, that you can be a mother, and still do the job you love. Especially with all the love and support I have.
Moms Helping Moms
Becca: Can you talk a bit about how you manage your time as a parent and performer? Don’t worry, I’m not asking “how you do it all?” It’s more what tips, tricks, and strategies have you picked up to make things even a little bit easier?
Chrissi: We all learn from one another! I definitely do NOT do it all! I’ve tried to, and it leads to unhealthy levels of stress and anxiety, I don’t recommend it!
Honestly, I try to stick to the philosophy of “do what you can”. I tell myself this a lot, especially when I’m in crazy juggle mode, between organizing things for my daughter’s needs, life, new school, as well as my own career, and the everyday dealings we all have (laundry, house stuff, groceries, walking the dog). I have an incredibly supportive partner and we certainly have our roles, the things we each take on, to make everything run a bit smoother.
But in the end, if I feel like it’s all just too much, I try to step back. Say no to the social engagement, or even say no to a gig! (That’s tough, because you become conditioned to say yes to EVERYTHING in this business, to keep up, to not miss out…it can be a slippery slope.)
And lastly, I’m getting better at asking for help. For speaking up and saying “this is too much, I need help”, with whatever the task or situation may be. Being alright with balance and not doing every single thing.
Chrissi’s Career Sweet Spot
Becca: How have you gone about finding your Career Sweet Spot (the intersection of your passions, skills, and value you add to others) as an artist and performer?
Chrissi: I find that when I am splitting my musical career between touring/live performance, releasing new music, performing alongside iconic artists I adore, and writing for other artists or for licensing pitches, I feel like I’m hitting all aspects of my musician happy place.
When my schedule allows, I love to take on a few students or to give a small master class. I feel I’ll do even more of that as time goes on, it really is a thrill to pass on my knowledge and experience, especially when I recognize that familiar fire in someone else’s eyes.
(Becca aside again! I love how Chrissi brings multiple passions, skills, and value add to her Sweet Spot. Your career is not ONE thing. It can be multidimensional. Find your Career Sweet Spot.)
That 90s Show
Becca: Time for a little fun! I make A LOT of 90s references here as a proud elder millennial. Can we do some 90s favorites rapid style? Musician, TV show, overly processed food, fashion trend!
Chrissi: Ohhh yes, please!
Musician – Pearl Jam
TV Show – Fresh Prince
Overly Processed Food – Bugles
Fashion Trend – Docs and flannel shirts!
Chrissi’s Parenting Advice
Becca: Last question! Any piece of parental wisdom you’d like to drop on us? I always like to share that my go-to piece of advice is “none of us know what we’re doing” so the bar is quite low on this.
Chrissi: Ha, it’s true, we just have to figure it out, right?
Best advice I could give, three years in, is to lead by example. I didn’t teach my daughter to say “thank you”, I just would say it a lot around her, to my husband, even to our dog! Now, all day every day, it’s “oh, thank you, Mumma!”
They are so perceptive, they pick up on the energy around them so quickly. I see her absorbing so much, so we try each day to show her kindness, strength, bravery, deep breathing, love, wisdom, and music, by example.
I try desperately not to butt into these Q&As with my own thoughts and tangents but I had to do it TWICE here because I was so inspired by Chrissi’s ability to network, define success for herself, go after her dreams, and create a multidimensional career.
How. Flippin. Cool.