The Rock-N-Roll Mama Chronicles With Artemis “Byrd” Jasper

Photos Courtesy of Artemis “Byrd” Jasper 

Being a Rock-n-Roll Mama can be as heavy as Metal and even more rewarding than a Grammy. The balancing act is a sacrifice for mama and her little wings. That maternal instinct can conjure mom guilt, while that musical passion can  help pay the bills and give her inner peace. Somewhere in between we must find that happy place for ourselves, our children and our partners in rhyme. Not one story is the same, but maybe if we exchange our experiences, we can find similarity enough to realize that we are not alone and that our village can extend to each other. Here is a Rock-n-Roll mom narrative about a young lady named Artemis “Byrd” Jasper who put her love for music to the side, but is gradually coming back to it. 

Samantha Hollins: Tell me about who you are as an artist?

Artemis Jasper: I’m a simple Southern girl who been through a lot and wants to sing out her pain, experiences, triumphs, highs and lows. I just want to sing and compose music. I hope to one day have an EP and it touches people like me who never felt like they “fit in”. I make songs for the underdog. Rock, Folk, Blues are my genres cause they give me the space to hurt, to get over something, to scream out when the world wants me to shut up. 

Samantha Hollins: When did your passion for music start?  

Artemis Jasper: Very young. My father is a drummer and his passion for music trickled down to me. My favorite thing about going to church was the music. Every time someone sang at the altar I always wanted to trade places with them. 

Samantha Hollins: Where are you from? How did that atmosphere shape you as an artist?

Artemis Jasper: I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. I had a hard time coming of age there, but I am very proud of my roots and where I come from. It took me some time to get here. I am an Army veteran and been away from my hometown for some time, but I realized at some point I had to be proud of where I’m from and embrace the rich musical history that it has…and that would never leave me no matter how hard I try. My roots will always be in my music.

Photos Courtesy of Artemis “Byrd” Jasper 

Samantha Hollins: When you became a mom and wife did you feel like you had to give up being a creative artist? Did anyone ever make you feel that way? If so how did you overcome that? 

Artemis Jasper: I definitely hate that I felt that way but I did feel that as a Mom and a wife. My creative endeavors and things that I wanted to do as an artist was too late. I put down music and various other things that I do artistically. My music suffered the most. Last year I picked up a guitar and I got lessons, not even cause I wanted to be a guitarist as much as I wanted to be musical again and tap back into something that was inside of me that I could never shake off. Music is my life, my real life partner and for so long I abandoned her…and I am doing my best now to make it up to her and all she’s done for me . 

Samantha Hollins: How many children do you have and how old are they? 

Artemis Jasper: I have 4, aged 12, 9, 4 and 3. 

Samantha Hollins: Being a Rock-n-Roll mama is a true balancing act. How do you find time to stay creative? 

Artemis Jasper: It is very hard. I don’t want my kids to see me in my element in something I love and I am angry and frustrated with them because I can’t get something done. I try to sometimes get them into the things that I’m doing in hopes that they see that this is something very special to me and it’s a beautiful thing that mommy is making music. Also I live with my best friend and we raise our kids together…and she was very supportive of everything I’m trying to do musically and her support has been my rock. Sometimes she’ll see that I’m writing a song or trying to learn a song on my guitar and she’ll distract the babies for me while I’m trying to let the creative energy out. I don’t know if I’d be able to do this without her.

Samantha Hollins: Do you have a sacred space that you can work on your projects with no interruptions? 

Artemis Jasper: My closet for now is where I record; also I carved out a little space in my living room with my guitar hanging on the wall and I have a little music stand there where I write songs and practice. They know that they shouldn’t interrupt me when I’m making music but they’re so tiny that it happens. Thanks to my best friend, my sister/partner-in-crime, it happens a lot less then it probably would if I was here alone with my kids.

Samantha Hollins: A lot of times when our little ones watch and hear us create it is passed on to them. Do any of your children seem to be following in your musical footsteps? 

Artemis Jasper: My daughter has a great voice but she’s a little shy. I’m trying my best to get her out of that. My youngest, my four year old, he loves music. He’s very musically judgmental; my harshest critic. I would not be surprised if any of them told me one day they wanted to be a rapper or something but I do try to pass on all of the musical knowledge I have if it means opportunities for them just having musical literacy. 

Photos Courtesy of Artemis “Byrd” Jasper 

Funny story: my kids were playing charades one day and my four year old got “Drums”, and he started to motion like he was playing the bass drum like he’s in an HBCU marching band! It was adorable and the funniest thing, to see how my musical tastes and the culture I expose them to impacts them! 

Samantha Hollins: Leaving can be quite hard to do. What did it feel like when you had to travel/tour without your child for the first time? 

Artemis Jasper: It was hell on my mental. I am in Army veteran and the first time I had to leave my baby to go train was the day I did not want to be in the service anymore. As a musician I struggle with it now. Of course I’m gonna have to travel and do shows where my kids can’t come with but they have my best friend, their dads and people who love them and support me. I think we’ll be fine in the event I had to travel for work, although I would miss them to pieces. They’re my little ducklings we go everywhere and do everything together. 

Samantha Hollins: I know sometimes that babysitting plan don’t always workout. I also know children can be unpredictable. Were there times you had to cancel an engagement or take your child with you? What did you learn from those moments?

Artemis Jasper: Oh I have been in this position more times than I want to admit. I missed opportunities because I could not find a babysitter.  I missed opportunities because I showed up late or with kids in tow. As an artist it kind of makes you feel inadequate that you can not create and get your vision out to the masses at the same rate you see your childless peers do. I believe that my ancestors and the most high are watching over me and my children. And any opportunity that I miss as a result of being a mom wasn’t for me, and my time will come even if it’s not as soon as I want.

Samantha Hollins: What is the most amazing and valuable thing you’ve learned from motherhood that you can apply to your career journey? 

Artemis Jasper: What I learned from motherhood is how to love unconditionally and accept things for what they are; thinking fast and problem-solving. I look at songs that I write as almost babies that need to be nurtured nursed and grow organically through love commitment and compassion

Samantha Hollins: What do you want your children to learn from witnessing your evolution as a mom and artist? 

Artemis Jasper: I want them to know that they are never too small to do any of the big things that they ever wanna do in this world. I hope that they feel like they come from good stock and that there’s nothing that they can not do…that mom had a vision and she had a passion and she didn’t let anything come between her and that no matter who told her it was too late or it was a hobby or that nothing will come of it…

Samantha Hollins: When was the first time you fell in love with Rock-n-Roll? Do your little ones dig Rock music? 

Artemis Jasper: I’m a 90s millennial born in the late, very late 80s and I can’t remember when I fell in love with Rock. I always grew up with it and it was a big part of 90s culture so it stuck with me throughout the years. Rock music had a very significant impact on my formative years. Women like KelisAlanis Morissette and Courtney Love…the way they sang the screams…That feminine rage was always so cathartic to me and I always wanted to be like them and make music like them. Beautiful women, powerful women but also in pain. I’m not stuffing that pain down to make people comfortable. I always thought that was so beautiful. 

Samantha Hollins: What is the most vital thing you want to shift into your legacy? 

Artemis Jasper: I want my children to be proud of themselves and where they come from. I want them to use their creative gifts, to have a positive impact on the people in their lives. I hope they know they have a bad-ass Rock and Roll mama doing her best to break generational curses so they can be happy and care-free Rock ‘n’ Roll Black kids. 

Photos Courtesy of Artemis “Byrd” Jasper 

Samantha Hollins: Thank you Artemis “Byrd” Jasper for sharing your Rock-n-Roll Mama heartstrings! I am inspired and wish you prosperous vibrations. I look forward to witnessing your journey and will keep our Culture Rock Griot audience updated on your forthcoming music.

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