1. Dream Big. When your dreams do come true, then dream some more.
2. Let your musical passion lead you. Juggling a music career & your home life is a struggle, a balancing act but it’s all do-able. It’s not always a straight road to stardom. More often than not, it’s a crooked bumpy road full of dips & climbs.
3. When life knocks you down and pulls the rug out from under you, take all the time you need to get back up. Standing still is ok for a while when you are in need of healing but should not be forever. Life is relentless and will always want to pull you forward.
4. Founding a new business that is forced to come to a screeching halt before you launch takes innovation and thinking outside the box. Giving up on your dream is not an option.
Jeanette Arsenault Music Services (JAMS) Canada’s story will never be an easy one for me to tell.
Dreams Come True
I quit my day job in politics on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to follow my heart and fulfill my dream of being a singer-songwriter – a dream that I went on to live out for over 30 years.
Starting out playing mostly cover tunes in bars & lounges, I eventually recorded my own songs with a new dream to release my first album.
Studio was booked and once a week I drove 3 hours from home to studio to record for 8 hours then drove back same day. In the middle of this year-long project, I found out I was pregnant with a baby – one that I was told was medically impossible for me to have.
“Best laid plans ….”
So I like to say that I gave birth twice in 1994: first to my Debut CD, “From The Heart”, in September and second in December with the birth of my daughter, Kait.
So then the question was: to launch or not to launch? To leave baby behind & travel or to bring baby with me?
I made a decision to put aside my “musical dreams” to nurture my “Mommy dreams” and became a stay-at-home Mom while nursing my baby full time and my music career on the side
Over the next 20+ years, I did mostly local shows, benefit concerts plus I independently released 8 albums of mostly original music.
Along the way, the Universe kept sending just enough teasers to keep me motivated to keep my music dreams alive.
There were gigs that took me away for a few days here & there nationally & internationally including singing my original songs for the Canadian Olympic Team in Salt Lake City, UT (2002) and again in Athens, Greece (2004); one of those songs, “This Is My Canada/Mon cher Canada” currently has over 400,000 YouTube views. This song also got me a gig as the VIA Rail Artist on Board across Western Canada.
“Doing my best to make it all work”
It was all do-able & manageable for the most part – busy, crazy, exciting, exhausting. Balancing Mommy-hood and Music-hood the best way I could. Not always getting it right but always doing my best to try to make it all work.
A Parent’s Worst Nightmare
Then in 2014, I faced a parent’s worst nightmare. My beautiful Kait, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer (sarcoma) and she succumbed to the disease in April 2018 at the young age of 23.
You can never understand the pain of losing a child unless it happens to you and I would never want it to happen to you in order for you to understand.
“Time does NOT heal all wounds”
I can assure you that time does NOT heal all wounds. Losing Kait is a forever deep raw wound that will never heal over. What heals, eventually, is the time in between the pain. Over time, you end up falling into that pit of pain a little less often and you don’t fall quite as deep every time.
In memory of Kait, I started Kait’s Comfort Kits which have been distributed to in-hospital cancer patients. They include comforts of home such as soft face cloths, soft towels, soft kleenex, natural lip balm, natural shampoo, natural conditioner, lotion & soap, ear plugs, room darkening eye masks, to name a few.
Before Kait got sick, we had recorded a double album of children’s songs which we were going to launch as a mother/daughter duo. I still have not released it yet. One day at a time.
When you grieve such a tremendous loss, it comes to a point where you have to decide if you are going to stay forever in your dark room in your deepest depression or find ways to cope and try to get through the day.
“I chose to find ways to move forward”
I chose to try to find ways to slowly move forward and, with grief counselling, have been able to add tools to my healing tool kit to help pull me out of that grief abyss.
Flying On Your Own
As a way to keep moving forward, I founded JAMS Canada in January 2020 with a vision of “Helping Musicians Help Themselves”. My goal is to help musicians make more money, get more gigs and maximize their online presence.
“Make more money, get more gigs,
maximize online presence”
Just like the Universe said – “Surprise! You are pregnant!” when I was going to launch my debut CD, the Universe threw yet another curve ball when I was ready to launch JAMS Canada in April 2020: a deadly pandemic we all know as COVID-19.
Launching a new business for the music sector that has just had its live music revenue stream wiped out was a head-shaker for me. What am I going to do now?
“What do to?”
I decided to pivot to providing resource & information links on social media platforms to help musicians find government funding as well as ways to stay safe.
To that end, I launched #MondayMusicMatters in May with the JAMS Canada PRO Series “Here’s What I Know” featuring interviews with musicians, music & business industry experts plus experts in related/collaborative fields such as advertising, graphic design, project management to help musicians grow the business side of their music career.
Looking ahead to 2021
I predict that once live music opens up again, people are going to be so hungry for concerts and social contact that musicians won’t be able to keep up with the demand.
JAMS Canada has a message for musicians:
“JAMS Canada is ready to help you
shine like the star that you are”
JAMS Canada (Jeanette Arsenault Music Services) has set out her mission:
“Helping Musicians Help Themselves”.
With over 30 years of experience as a singer/songwriter/performing/recording artist, launching 8 albums and having produced/organized numerous benefit concerts/fundraisers/variety shows, Jeanette can help musicians focus on what they want most – more gigs, money to record, revenue streaming.
Musicians: need a gig? Contact us: email: email@example.com
Venue owners need musicians? Contact us: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for more JAMS Canada PRO Series “Here’s What I Know” Monday #MusicMatters here on our website, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In.
Some contributors also responded with videos – please subscribe to our JAMS Canada YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-CmaB7MV0r1ehhveBPmBEg