E199 Not Willing to Take a Back Seat with Lisa Bell

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What did you give up for your kids?

Lisa Bell Back Seat

Did you willingly put yourself and your career in the back seat while raising kids? Of course you did.

But to what extent?  You may have fully committed to being a stay at home parent, or leaned in and pulled back as your family’s needs changed over time. So, how does that feel when the kids no longer require so much of your time and attention and you face the reality of what you gave up?

In speaking with recording artist Lisa Bell, 53, we talk about her 20+ year singing career while parenting a blended family with 3 kids, turning 50, and rebooting her career as an empty nester with the release of her new album, Back Seat. The album includes 12 original tracks, each reflecting on the full range of experiences we face at midlife.

A new conversation on empty nest reflections

This is a new conversation for me. I’ve never spoken with anyone who was so honest in sharing their feelings about looking at the impact parenthood had on her career as she watches her son’s music career skyrocket.

While raising her kids, she shared the stage with Christopher Cross, opened for Oleta Adams, and then went home to help with homework and drive her son to music lessons.

Lisa is realistic that she could have been there more for her kids while she was recording, performing, and touring. She also had a successful career in marketing at the same time. But she also could have been there less. We all did our best to strike the right balance. She has no regrets but is honest about some feelings of envy toward her son’s career. I imagine we all have questions of “What if?”

Marriage at midlife

Upheaval in Lisa’s relationship with her husband can also be found in What Went Wrong and other songs on Back Seat. 

It is extremely common for marriages to hit a bump when the kids move out but few of us bare our souls to the world. Kudos to Lisa’s husband for seeing the value in sharing their experience.



Lisa Bell was born and raised in Colorado. She has her B.A. in Vocal Performance from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has had a successful music career for the past 20 years, performing around the US and abroad, including at the JVC Winter Park Jazz Festival, on the same bill as Christopher Cross and Boney James. She has also opened for Stanley Jordan and Oleta Adams. In addition, Bell has toured Italy with her original music. She has released 5 albums, including her latest album, Back Seat, with 12 original tracks by Bell with the theme of life in your 50s as an “empty nester”.

Music used with permission, courtesy of Lisa Bell Music:

Back Seat ©2019 Lisa Bell Music

What Went Wrong ©2019 Lisa Bell Music

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