By: Patricia Walters-Fischer RN
Solange Knowles may be young, but she’s already come into her own. This singer/ songwriter/ producer/actress hit the charts with her song “Feelin’ You” in 2002 and has been a co-writer on several songs for sister, Beyonce’s group Destiny’s Child. She’s also appeared in Bring it On: All or Nothin’ and Johnson Family Vacation. Her accomplishments don’t stop there. After noticing her son, Julez’s, love for hip/hop music, she developed a hip/hop rhythm toy line for preschoolers. We had the great fortune of speaking with Solange who talked to us about her son, Julez, her career, and how she handled being a wife, mom, and divorcee by the time she was 21.
Tell me about growing up in your house. What are some of the traditions you are sharing with Julez?
Growing up in my house was always an adventure. My mother wasn’t a traditional soccer mom. She owned a successful hair salon and managed to run it, pick up and drop off three children – all at different schools – and still help with homework. I believe that us watching her juggle all of these things has instilled a great work ethic in me and my sisters. I try to do the same thing with Julez.
You’re a songwriter, a business woman, actress, producer, and single mother, what do you do to balance your day and keep your sanity?
I try not to put too much pressure in one area. If I have studio and meetings in one day, I try to schedule them late in the afternoon so that my morning and lunchtime is with Julez. Most importantly, I know how to say NO! Julez comes first and everyone has to know that.
Tell me about Baby Jamz (I love that you use Julez on the site). How did you come up with the name?
Baby Jamz was inspired by my son’s love for radio hip hop! I don’t personally listen to Solja Boy and all of those records, but my son constantly wants to hear them. So I thought, why not make traditional, kid-friendly versions of the songs – minus the cursing and the name-calling, but the same catchy tunes. My father is my partner in this company and he thinks he’s a hip Grandpa. Julez calls him “Papa G.” He thought Baby Jamz was a cool name and I thought…perfect!
I think it’s great that you’ve incorporated your business with mommyhood. Does Julez help you pick and choose products?
We absolutely test the products out with Julez. They were 100% inspired by him and the idea of the urban child. He loves the music and still makes no fuss that it’s my voice.
Growing up, my parents, brothers and I would come up with silly songs when we were traveling or about different events. You are remixing traditional nursery rhymes, but are you also creating new ones or pulling from silly songs you and your family created? That makes two of us – our family was always coming up with silly songs too…but too silly to share with the public, even if they are 2 year olds!
You have such a great twist on traditional toys. Not only do you supply cool music, but you’ve given the kids to be more interactive with the toy and the ability to create their own music. How did you come up with this idea?
My son tags along with me to the studio many days and he always wants to press buttons, hear sounds. He has a strong interest in that, as do most kids that come to the studio. I thought it would be neat for kids to have their own little version of producing. I also have to give a lot of credit to the design team at Baby Jamz. I work with a group of really talented young artists that also contribute a lot of ideas.
Tell me about what is in store for Baby Jamz.
Baby Jamz has SO much in store. It started off as a passion project and is doing so well that we’re branching out into books and even interactive DVDs!
You became a wife and mother at a young age (18) and then divorced young and became a single mother. What and/or who helped you through these transitions?
My family has been nothing but supportive through all of my transitions. I’ve had my mom, dad, sisters and wonderful friends to lean on, cry on, or even take Julez for a day or two during the divorce process when I just needed a day to sleep! Most importantly, my spirituality has carried me through!
What advice do you have for other single moms who work in and in/outside the home on how to keep your sanity and sense of self, especially through difficult times.
Number one: no pity parties!!! It’s okay to acknowledge that it’s a hard, tough job, but the longer you sit in your tears the longer you’re unable to be in the best emotional state for your child, which is most important. I think it’s important to find some kind of balance and to equally distribute the areas of your life. Your child is first and foremost, but you have to have some kind of life outside of them or you will have no sanity! I am also blessed that my son’s father and I co-parent together.
What are other projects you’ve got coming?
My album, “Sol-angel and the Hadley St. Dreams,” which is a collection of 60s and 70s soul songs inspired by my marriage, divorce, having a beautiful son, and dating again. Wonderful producers and artists have all contributed – Pharell, Q-Tip, Cee-Lo. It’s been the piece of art I’ve created that I’m most proud of!
Solange ended the interview with a few words of encouragement:
I think it’s great that us new age moms have an outlet like this to be a part of! Go Hot Moms!!!