Aloe Blacc & Maya Jupiter on How Music — and 'No Sugar and No TV' — are Key to Their Parenting Philosophy

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How I Parent
Photo: Aloe Blacc

Name: Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter

Location: Los Angeles, California

Occupation: Aloe Blacc is a singer-songwriter (who just released an album, All Love Everything); Maya Jupiter is a hip-hop artist

Family situation: We're married with two kids ages 4 and 7.

Parenting "philosophy" in a sentence: Our children need us to be consistent with our presence and actions, they need to trust us to provide a calm environment and they deserve our unconditional compassion.

How I Parent
Aloe Blacc

What was your journey to having the family life you have today?

Aloe: Maya and I met while I was at a music conference in Melbourne, Australia. Maya was hosting a national radio and television show and interviewed me. This was before I had any major success, so I was lucky to get an interview. We kept in touch and when she came to the U.S. in 2007 for the Grammys, I got lucky with another interview.

At the time, it was Valentine's week, so I decided to ask her out. I took her to a concert at the House of Blues and that's what started the beginning of our dating relationship.

Maya: We spent about one year dating long distance. I was living in Sydney and he was living in Los Angeles. I eventually moved to L.A. to see how things would go and about two years later, we got married.

Aloe: During one of our first conversations, I had mentioned that I wanted to have a big family.

Maya: There was so much I wanted to do before having children, but when I met Aloe, I knew that he was going to be the father of my kids. We both come from big families, and so far we've managed two.

Aloe: We're happy with our two kids, but we'll see what our future holds.

How have your kids responded to being raised in such a creative environment?

Aloe: Our kids get to see all sides of what we do. They see us writing songs and recording music, but they also see the business side, which is just as important.

Maya: They've been immersed in it since before they were born — from me being pregnant and recording in the studio to holding my daughter in an Ergo while I have rehearsals. They also love to watch daddy perform from the side of the stage.

Do you see music as a career for them in the future?

Aloe: Absolutely, I think they're going to be playing instruments, singing and writing songs. It doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be a career for them — they could choose to be astrophysicists and want to write songs on Mars.

Maya: To me, it's not about whether or not they're going to have a career in music, it's about understanding that music and art are fundamental to the development of a child. In our society, art gets discounted all the time, as though it's just an extracurricular activity. It's not. It's important for brain development and it informs language learning, math, science and critical thinking. There are so many benefits to playing an instrument and learning music theory. I'm very passionate about the role music plays in our children's development.

How did your upbringing influence your parenting style?

Aloe: Growing up, my parents were extremely focused on academic achievement in the traditional sense. However, our kids go to a more progressive school whose curriculum expands on the importance of morals and character building.

Maya: I grew up in a multicultural home in Australia. My mom always taught us to be engaged with the community and to stand up for what's right. She taught us how to have empathy for all.

When it comes to our kids, our ultimate goal has always been to raise good human beings with values and respect for one another. We want them to be kind and have compassion. We want them to treat others with dignity and respect. That's the goal.

What's your favorite thing about parenting?

Aloe: My favorite thing about parenting is playing with the kids, finding new ways to entertain and also educate them. When my daughter was very young, I loved teaching her the alphabet with some of the games and tools we had at home. It was so much fun. With my son, he's a very physical kid so I'm helping him learn how to do handstands and flips.

Maya: He is constantly flipping on our bed.

For me, I love seeing their personalities blossom and having conversations before bedtime when they're laying down, and all of these thoughts come flooding out. I get to listen to everything that's on their minds and what they're processing, and it's really beautiful to see how they interact with the world. I love our conversations.

What's the hardest part?

Aloe: The hardest part is trying to parent in a constructive way when your kids are rebelling. This morning, my son didn't want to brush his teeth when I asked him to. Rather than yelling and forcing him to do it in that moment, I gave it some time. Instead of making it a fight, I let the moment dissipate and then I came back to it later on my terms.

Maya: It's also being able to step back to ask yourself, what's happening here? Is something deeper going on?

Another challenge for us is to make sure we're on the same page as parents. We constantly have to keep communicating and checking in with one another to find middle ground within our own personal beliefs and how we want to be viewed as a united front. That's the challenge.

How I Parent
Cesar Alvarez

What's the best advice you can share with new parents?

Maya: Trust your intuition and make decisions that are right for you and your family. There's no right or wrong way.

Aloe: My advice is: No sugar and no TV.

What would you want your kids to say about you as a parent?

Aloe: I want my kids to say that they had a lot of fun with me and I always made them laugh.

Maya: That our parents loved us and did the best they could.

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