This is a picture of myself, my daughter, and pop singer Nelly Furtado. I had the opportunity to take advantage of a VIP ticket package to Nelly's recent concert in my town, which included a meet-and-greet (which is basically music industry-speak for a backstage session where fans/contest winners/people who pulled some strings get herded through a backstage hospitality room to get a quick autograph/photo with the artist) and private acoustic set. I'm not the world's biggest Nelly Furtado fan myself, but I do like her music well enough and I have a soft spot because she was the first big artist interview I did after Ruby was born (it was a phoner and as a mom I figured she wouldn't be upset if the baby woke up and started crying during our conversation).
I decided to bring Ruby as my date for a couple of reasons. First off, I think Nelly is a great role model for young girls -- she writes her own music, her songs aren't just all about boys, she's a mom who is still pursing a career of her own, and by all accounts she's a really nice person. Ruby has developed a recent interest in pop music and I thought it would be a good introduction to a pop artist who doesn't shoot whipped cream from her bra cups or brood over bad-news dudes like John Mayer.
Also, I wanted to demystify the pop star and backstage experience for her. I've been backstage at more than a few concerts in my time, sometimes professionally, sometimes socially. And Ruby learned a very important lesson of music industry culture the other night -- hanging backstage is more often than not incredibly boring. It involves a lot of waiting, usually in plainly decorated, boring hospitality rooms, while other people are working hard to put the show together. And while pop stars are usually super attractive and have magnetic personalities, they're just regular people, not any more exciting than any other adults she comes across. I wanted her to appreciate that the lady she met was singing so well on stage, but I also wanted her to appreciate that that lady is also not all that different from her mom, her teacher, or the other adults she knows.
So, hopefully this, and any future opportunities (though my music world ties are getting fewer and fewer) will get Ruby to a place where she can enjoy music without the hero worship that caused me so much angst in my teenage years. Because as much fun as I had, say, sneaking backstage at concerts when I was 17 to hang out with guys in their 20s or 30s, I don't think that's necessarily what I want for my daughter. And if she is going to be hanging out backstage, I'd rather it be because she's IN the band, not hanging off a member of the band.