Madison-based singer Betsy Ezell sat down with me in July to chat about her musical journey. She shared the story of how, born into a family of mathematicians, she fell in love with music early on and later found a home in jazz. Betsy also shared what it’s like to balance singing, songwriting, a PR job, and parenting—something I can’t imagine having the energy to do myself. But I left feeling fueled and uplifted by her perseverance, and I hope you do as well after listening in.
We talk a little about fighting the negative voices in our heads, the enduring nature of jazz, how Betsy scored her all-time favorite gig at Madison’s gorgeous Memorial Union Terrace (two words: bomb threat), and some of the joys and sacrifices that come with parenting two little ones.
“My kids were young when I first started songwriting [six years ago], but I didn’t do any gigging. There was definitely this sense of putting my art, putting my dreams, putting my ambitions on hold intentionally, very much as a result of the demands of parenting. … I see it as healthy; I see it as sacrificial. And that doesn’t make it easy—I think both [my husband] and I have a sense of loss and some grief around what you have to give up to be a good parent. So there is sadness in it, but it’s worth it.”
Recorded on July 22, 2017, in Madison, WI. Original theme music by Alma Cook. Additional songs featured: “Worn” by Alma.
Relevant links & mentions
Find Betsy Ezell online
- The Urbana conference put on by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship: https://urbana.org/
- Rivers of Madison, a vocal group directed by Betsy’s keyboardist Becca Grant: https://www.facebook.com/RiversofMadison/
- The Creative Company, PR firm where Betsy works: https://thecreativecompany.com/
- Betsy’s powerhouse boss, Laura Gallagher: https://www.facebook.com/laura.gallagher.125
- Gabriel Espinosa, who introduced Betsy to jazz: http://gabrielespinosamusic.com/
- Memorial Union Terrace: https://union.wisc.edu/visit/terrace-at-the-memorial-union/
You might also like…
- The VOICES podcast – Campus minister LeAnn Jenkins on letting go of “supposed to” (March 15, 2017)