Balancing work and family is hard (but worth it) for Woodstock Couple

Author: Jay Blotcher
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010

Woodstock residents Kate Hyman and Kevin Salem created Little Monster Records as a passion and continuously work hard at juggling both life and work. While Kate puts in a full work week in the publicity department at Warner Brothers’ New York City offices, Kevin spends most of his time upriver. (They keep an apartment in Manhattan’s East Village.) As for balancing work and home life, he pledges to do the bulk of his work when Emily is asleep. He awakens at 5am to write songs, and he does his recording when she is at school. “My work ethic is to try and do as much as in as little time as possible,” he says.

Kevin also has side projects related to kids and music. In January, he traveled to Israel with folk legend Peter Yarrow, whose organization Operation Respect performed a concert on the West Bank for Jewish and Palestinian children. Kevin will record the singer’s next album, to be called Songs that Made America. The album will introduce a new generation to classic protest songs.

Kevin Salem welcomes all artists who want to create music for Little Monster. But he remains wary of those who think recording a CD for kids is just a marketing gimmick aimed at increasing a fan base. For some musicians, he says, the plan is merely a “cynical ploy.”


Worth the effort


Kate and Kevin remain effortlessly simpatico as partners in business and in life. Kate focuses on navigating the often-maddening structures of the corporate music system, while Kevin discovers new ways to surmount those barriers through cyber-distribution. (Little Monster’s first release for 2010 is Rise and Shine by Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke. Both the CD and a companion coloring book are downloadable.)

The next title scheduled for release, the label’s sixth, is Magical Creatures, Musical Pets. Songs will immortalize companions ranging from puppies to dragons. Following that will be a CD of party dances for kids, including “The Cupid Shuffle,” and a CD-cookbook project saluting foods most liked by kids.

Creating musical joys for children is not always easy, the pair admits. In a music industry that is cutting back, a small indie label faces huge struggles. Some days, after trying to hack out a deal with corporate bullies, the pair may come home and say, “It was a pretty rugged day today; we got beat up pretty good.”

But when they enter their Ulster County house, and see Emily happily playing with the dogs in the living room, the aggravation falls away and the harmony takes over once again.

See Kate and Kevin talk about how they balance their lives together.


Jay Blotcher writes frequently for Hudson Valley Life.

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