Archive for the ‘Artist Profiles’ Category

Hudson 2yrs, Caiden 4 yrs

A beautifully tired young mother sits at home tonight. It’s 7:30 P.M., and rather than performing for a crowd, former season 11 American Idol contestant, Britnee Kellogg, just finished reading stories and singing songs to her little ones. Caiden is four, an exhausting boy whose energy is only outpaced by his nearly autistic bright mind. He’s been a blessed handful since birth and was diagnosed this past week with severe ADHD. Two-year-old Hudson merrily jabbers in his captain’s bed, as only two-year-olds do. They giggle under airplane patterned bed sheets. The pilots turn the engines down as they prepare for slumber in their cozy hangar. Heavy lashes fall and the vinyl scrolled walls call them to, “Come Fly With Me.”

Their mother has been up since 5:30 A.M., but can’t be tired. She worked a full day at the local Vancouver, Wash. branch of Regents Bank, spent two precious hours with the boys, but has yet to start her second job. She’s stuck to this regimen since the divorce in 2010. It was then that Kellogg began balancing a full-time job, family, and a dream. She told American Idol about it, “I was married and he held me back from doing what I want to do and this is what I want to do. I pursued his dreams with him, then he decided to go pursue other women . . .” The nationally televised audition was posted online. Most were supportive, but her ex-husband’s friends weren’t silent, and it hurt. 75Honeydip posted, “I know for a fact her ex is the boys’ primary caregiver and they broke up because her ‘career’ was more important. Using a ‘cheating ex’ was the only way she could stand out from the rest. Booo, I hate dramatic small town girls!!” Others, like fellow single mom and Idol judge, Jennifer Lopez, encouraged Kellogg to pursue her dreams as a single mother, “You have to be happy so they [your kids] are happy,” said Lopez, “When you have dreams you make them happen and they’re only better for it.”

Britnee Kellogg Season 11 American Idol Audition

The experience on American Idol gave Kellogg a “fire,” as she calls it in our interview. It served as a musical turning point, fueling her commitment to make her country-music dreams a reality, “This is what I want to do. This is my passion; this is my dream,” says the former contestant. “If I were able to just do music and be a mom, that would be my dream job.” The single mother pursues her dream by adhering to a strict schedule, blocking her hours for work, children, and music. Balancing career, kids, and passions is an enormous challenge for any mother, let alone a single mom. “I personally do not know how she does everything in her life,” said close friend and stay-at-home mother of two, Hayley Frohs, in a phone interview. “The girl has an insane amount of energy. . . I mean, the girl works all day long and then manages to make dinner for her kids, and spend quality time with her kids, puts them to bed, and then goes and works five more hours on stage. It is exhausting.”

The budding music artist is just beginning her journey in the ranks of single mothers who are trying to do it all. According to Fox News Insider, stay-at-home moms are a shrinking minority, and the US Census shows there are 13.7 million single custodial parents in the United States raising 22 million children under the age of 21. Fifty-four percent of these single parents work full-time, and 82.2% of them are working single mothers. Working full-time to provide for her children means less time for Kellogg to be with her boys, and she “hate[s]” it. “It’s hard because I would love to be home with them at least half a day. I would feel more fulfilled.” The single mother shares, “I never wanted to be in this place. I was a stay-at-home mom before all of this happened.” Her current work schedule only allows an hour in the morning with the boys and two in the evenings before their bedtime. Weekends with Caiden and Hudson are sacred and reserved for church and family adventures, like trips to Slappy Cakes and JJ Jump.

Some criticize Britnee Kellogg for pursuing a career in music as a single mom, rather than putting that focus on her children. Many single entertainer moms have trouble maintaining a healthy career and motherhood. One of the most publicized of these is Britney Spears, who is closely followed by the media in and out of drug rehab, during custody hearings, and through child abuse allegations. It’s much harder to find single moms in the entertainment industry who appear to find a balance, like Sheryl Crow, who believes her two adopted sons make her music “better” and, like Kellogg, prays with and tucks her kids into bed before stepping on the stage.

Britnee Kellogg with sons Caiden and Hudson

Despite the challenges of making it in the industry as a single parent, Kellogg regards her country-music goals as a better solution to caring for her children than working in a more traditional field. Her intention is to work under a self-imposed grueling schedule for the next six to twelve months to drive her music career to the next level. She hopes the effort and sacrifice will produce results that can change her life. The goal is to become a full-time music artist with a more flexible schedule, allowing her increased time with the boys. “For me,” explains Kellogg, “if I work really hard for six months to a year and I get to that point, then I think the six months of sacrifice to be able to be home with them while they’re in school is way more worth it than just giving up and working a full-time job and never being able to be with them.”

Some may see Kellogg’s goal as unrealistic, especially when the odds are stacked against her. However, those closest to her see the drive, passion, and commitment she has as both a mother and entertainer, and can’t help but applaud her. “She’s always known what she wanted to do career-wise but didn’t quite know how to do it with little kids,” shared childhood friend Hayley Frohs, “I think some people have kind of discouraged her from taking it to the professional level for singing because they think that she shouldn’t try to do it at that level while having kids. I think the biggest struggle has been feeling guilty about being the kind of mom she wants to be and still doing music, but she’s managed to do it all, so I’m glad she didn’t listen to people.”

Britnee Kellogg, single mother, entertainer

Whether or not Kellogg can live up to the expectation is yet to be seen. Tonight though, she’s doing it as she admonishes bedtime informant Caiden to, “go to bed” during our interview, and we hope to continue seeing her fuel that dream through the season 12 American Idol auditions this summer. The future contestant’s last thoughts before closing our interview were for other mothers with aspirations, “Don’t give up just because other people don’t think you should be doing something,” encourages Kellogg. “If you are passionate about something, then you need to do it, regardless of what people think or what people say. I don’t see anything wrong with being a mom and pursuing your dreams.”

Connect with Britnee Kellogg: Website, Twitter @BritneeKellogg, Facebook, Reverbnation, Youtube, Myspace

By: Marzee Dyer
Video By: Jason Cook
Photos Courtesy: Britnee Kellogg, American Idol
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