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Daniel Tashian: “A good parent can get on a kids level at the right times and stay above it when necessary too”

I think I’m more interested in how they deal with failure. Failure is important and most people are scared of it. I told my oldest daughter, who was sad that a cake recipe hadn’t turned out, that it’s important to fail and not be afraid of it. Then, if you fail a lot, you will […]


I think I’m more interested in how they deal with failure. Failure is important and most people are scared of it. I told my oldest daughter, who was sad that a cake recipe hadn’t turned out, that it’s important to fail and not be afraid of it. Then, if you fail a lot, you will also succeed sometimes. Big dreams can have their place for sure, but those are things that are a little bit personal and they evolve over time as well. To realize big dreams takes hard work. That’s how I would characterize big dreams


As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interviewing Daniel Tashian.

Danny is a 2018 GRAMMY Album of the Year winner for his production work on Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Golden Hour.’ In addition to his award-winning work with Musgraves, Tashian has also worked with artists including Little Big Town, Tenille Townes, Lily & Madeleine and others, including his own critically acclaimed indie pop-rock band The Silver Seas which has released several critically acclaimed albums in the US and UK.

Tashian will release his latest album ‘Mr. Moonlight’ due Fri., Jun. 5 via Big Yellow Dog Music. ‘Mr. Moonlight’ was written and recorded by Tashian and his daughters Tigerlily, Tinkerbell and Matilda, while quarantined in their Nashville home. The family used equipment and instruments from their home on all tracks and Tashian’s wife created the album artwork. The new album follows Tashian’s 2019 Best Children’s Music Album-nominated record ‘I Love Rainy Days’ (5.3.19).


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was a curious child and very much an explorer.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I began writing songs and making music in my bedroom as a teenager in Nashville. I was fortunate enough to be in a good location for doing that stuff and have had some smart people help me along the way.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I’ll have breakfast with the family, send the kids off to school and then have coffee with my wife and maybe go for a walk. I’m in the studio by 11 AM, work until 7 PM, then go home for dinner with my girls, prep bath time and read them a story before bedtime. Sometimes, I’ll go back to the studio until midnight.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

If you are in the process of developing — and I am always in that process — you want to feel that someone is with you — by your side. Sometimes this is possible but not always. To know you are loved and encouraged to explore is best done in person.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

Parents and kids don’t always want to do the same thing. Sharing the same space, letting each person do what they like and being happy together doing our own things is good.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

  • Watching the films of Hayao Miyazake.
  • Gardening
  • Water play, pool
  • Cooking and eating
  • Reading time
  • Bath time.
  • Park exploring
  • Shopping
  • Road trip
  • Beach time
  • Music time jamming singing
  • Dance Party
  • Drawing/ painting

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

I’m sort of uncomfortable defining “quality” attention because I believe there are times when we are more attentive than others. For instance, if I was a novelist and I was writing a novel, I would need to concentrate and if someone interrupts me it could set me back.

So, you need that space to make a living but then, when work time is over, it can be hard to turn it off — let’s say if you were thinking about a certain part of the novel that felt unresolved. So, the process of parenting is one of being able to compartmentalize your life so that when you are with your family you hopefully realize, this is family time. My goal here is to be in the mix and be a part of it, not thinking about my novel.

Don’t feel bad if that seems not always easy because tenacious thought is a habit of the greats.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent can get on a kids level at the right times and stay above it when necessary too.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I think I’m more interested in how they deal with failure. Failure is important and most people are scared of it. I told my oldest daughter, who was sad that a cake recipe hadn’t turned out, that it’s important to fail and not be afraid of it. Then, if you fail a lot, you will also succeed sometimes. Big dreams can have their place for sure, but those are things that are a little bit personal and they evolve over time as well. To realize big dreams takes hard work. That’s how I would characterize big dreams.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I don’t know how I define that. Someone told me their grandma used to say, “if I can lie down at night and say to myself that I did my best, given the circumstances, then that’s success.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

The “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast because I think it’s funny. I also enjoy “Brian Funk’s Music Production Podcast” because he is a great coach and gives encouragement.

I like the songs “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I think “hang in there” is a great one because it can apply in so many ways. A lot of times you can find a solution if you just don’t quit. I’m a 20-year overnight success. I just wouldn’t quit.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A movement is interesting. I think a community of mutual artistic respect and a society of kindness, generosity and wisdom is always a goal. We sometimes (frequently) fall short of that, but we need each other, and we could try recognizing that and moving away from the more solo person celebrity. Group psychology of peace, kindness and mindfulness is the movement I’d like to inspire. Sounds like Woodstock! ✌🏼✌🏼✌🏼

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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