Motherhood will change your life, no less so if you’re a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter approaching 50 years old, maybe one who perhaps spends a little too much time on the road and has had a history of abusing alcohol.
Amy Speace, who performs Sunday night on “Mountain Stage” at the Culture Center Theater, in Charleston, said motherhood has been awesome.
“It’s completely changed everything,” she added.
Speace, who just released her eighth record, “Me And The Ghost of Charlemagne,” was 49 when she got pregnant and not much older when she decided to use that pregnancy as part of the creative engine for her album.
Now 51, she said, “I wrote this record before and while I was pregnant, and I made this record when I was nine months pregnant. Mostly, I thought, if I don’t make this record now, I’m going to forget and there’s a chance I might never do it again.”
Being pregnant was scary for Speace as an artist. How was she supposed to raise a child and tour, write and record?
The singer said she thought, “Oh God, I don’t know what else I’m qualified to do.”
“I just didn’t know what that life was going to look like,” Speace said.
It turned out to not look that bad. Motherhood revealed a different perspective and different priorities.
“I definitely have a different appreciation of when I’m doing shows and playing,” she said. “I’m so happy to be out then, but I’m also super looking forward to getting home.”
Speace said her career had been so important to her, but then it wasn’t.
“Now my son is everything and my husband is everything and my art is everything. Writing is everything,” she said. “The singing is everything, but the career is secondary to all of that.”
The songwriter said she’d worried that motherhood would sap her creativity, but she said she feels more creative now and sort of free to open up lyrically in different directions.
She’d written a lot about heartache. Her 2015 record, “That Kind of Girl,” she said, was her big breakup record, but also about getting sober.
“It was my part in that toxic relationship,” she explained. “I think I’ve always gravitated toward love stuff, relationship stuff.”
Being a mother changed what she cared about.
“I think I kind of let myself get off that,” she said.
There are just a million other things to write about now. There are other stories and ideas she might not have explored or understood the way Speace does now.
“My father is in stage four of pancreatic cancer,” she said.
His condition is terminal, but his impending death isn’t entirely tragic, Speace said.
“He’s 83 and lived this beautiful life. The ‘gift’ of the cancer is we have an end date. We know it’s coming, and we have the time to say the things we need to say,” she said. “That’s life and that’s bigger than whether the married man I was in love with chose me or not.
“That’s so inconsequential.”
The new record is out and Speace feels productive.
She said she already has enough material for another record. Maybe she’ll record more next year. She’s also branched out into producing other artists and has a blog, “Menopausal Mommy,” an ongoing stream-of-consciousness memoir of her life as a middle-aged mother.
“Reaching 50, there’s this fear of becoming irrelevant,” she said. “All I can say is that it’s the best. It’s all good.”