They seduce us. Skilled hands moving confidently over keys, kits, and frets. Drenched in the sweat that comes from hot lights and loud music, they serenade us with songs of love won and love lost, urging us to make a move, reminding us that all we have is “tonight!”
Well, scientific research now supports what rockstars have known all along: women are more attracted to men who produce music. Originally, Darwin hypothesized that the prime function of music was to “aid sexual courtship.” Then, a couple of years ago a study from France showed women were more likely to give out their number if the man was simply holding a guitar case. But now it’s thought that men who have strong musical abilities carry better genes.
Better genes? Maybe. Tighter jeans. Certainly.
I’m dating a musician. He’s terrific. He’s certainly a different breed of boyfriend. At first dating him was like a Bermuda-love-triangle. Somewhere between him, me, and the music was a sea of inexplicable disappearances of normal boyfriend behaviour. But over time I came to better understand, and accept, what dating a musician really means. And through this understanding, our compass was recalibrated, and we’ve been pointed towards a good relationship ever since.
Setting expectations, being patient, being OK with them being gone, and not being jealous of their musical love affair are just some of the big lessons I’ve learned in creating a successful relationship.
But don’t take it from me. Here, I ask five musicians—from rock to country to classical—their advice on dating.
Work twice as hard
“Really basic stuff, like honesty, trust, communication, all that stuff actually does help. Lying and hiding things and not talking about how you feel, crap like that is usually a relationship killer, and you’ve got to be ready to work twice as hard to keep a relationship going when you’re on the road. I send flowers once a week if I can… so stuff like that helps, just any gestures that show you’re thinking about the person.”
“Most important, if that person doesn’t know, like, if they don’t understand what they’re getting into, if they never sort of get it, then it’s never gonna’ work. They have to know that you’re not gonna be around all the time, and this is your job, whether you’re a crew member and you’re touring or you’re a band member, they’ve got to be understanding that it’s not like, you know, ideal to be gone all the time, but it’s the life that you chose, and them dating you, they have to understand that, they can’t force you to stop just because you met them.”
–Joe Trohman, Fall Out Boy.
Joe Trohman married a very “normal” person in 2011: “What I found attractive about her is she’s not a girl who goes to shows, she’s not a typical, like, ‘scene girl’ you know?” She and his wife welcomed their first-born in April 2014.
Get a tiny dog & quit your job (aka do what works for you)
“Every relationship is different, and that’s what my wife Cecilia and I had to realize,there’s no recipe for success, you build your own, you figure out what works for you and try to, for us we try to block out outside influences in the sense of if it works for us and it doesn’t work for someone else, that’s OK.”
“I noticed very early on that it’s very difficult for me to be away from her, so she quit her job to travel around with me. Even if it’s just to be there at night, or for her to be around, that’s what we found that works.”
“We take our little puppy Charlie on the road with us. He travels with us too, he’s only like 9 pounds, so he’s Cecilia’s carry on, it’s our little family and we’re good to go.”
Brett Kissel married Cecilia in 2011. You can find their carry-on-cutie on Twitter and Instagram @OhMyCharlie. Charlie and Cecilia both have cameos in Brett’s rockin’ title track to his album “Started With A Song”:
“You have to be OK with that person spending countless hours in the studio, with them spending lots of time being away from home doing shows. Depending on videos, you have to be OK with videos that are suggestive to them with the opposite sex. Remember it’s just a music video, it’s not real life. Those would be my three main points.”
iSH is currently dating fellow actor and singer Cory Lee.
Be Patient & Communicate Expectations
“One of the biggest things that I’ve learned is it takes a lot of patience. Most of the people that we date are other musicians because those are the kinds of people that we meet, sometimes not…I’m dating a former musician. He was in a very successful band and now isn’t, and he has a job, and it’s worked really well in some ways because he understands my life… but it takes a really long time to get from point A to point B when you’re dating a musicians, whether it’s male or female, because of the amount of time you spend apart, and the emotional rollercoaster that any woman or man has to experience within themselves trying to be successful at art, at something that’s so close to their heart, in terms of a job. Sometimes you feel like it takes six months to get where two regular people would take a month, because you have a whole other lover, which is your career, that takes up so much of your space, and you’re never there.”
–Anna Ruddick, (upright bass, electric bass, vocals) Ladies of the Canyon
“Whether you’re the musician or the person who’s dating the musician, I think it’s important to be an ultra-good communicator, just try as much as possible to set people’s expectations.”
–Tara Martin, (drums, vocals) Ladies of the Canyon
“Don’t do it. Don’t date any of us.”
–Maïa Davies, (vocals, lead guitar, keys) Ladies of the Canyon
From married, to single, the ladies of Ladies of the Canyon offer the full-spectrum of dating. Everybody’s looking for love in their track “Let’s Take The Night.” Read more about the ladies in our feature article “Ladies of the Canyon Talk People of the Sun.”
Don’t kill the music
“Basically you have to let that musician do their thing, and not cramp their style, not make them feel claustrophobic, let them be creative…You’ve got to be understanding… You can’t try and keep them to certain hours…You’ve got to be very tolerant and very patient. And don’t be resentful, but every relationship is of course very different.”
“I’m still looking for the right combination of somebody that can obviously appreciate my music, but not want to smother it, not want to kill it.”
Liona Boyd is not only a Canadian guitar legend, but she was famously the girlfriend of Pierre Trudeau. Liona married “Mr. Beverly Hills,” John Simon, in 1992. They divorced 12 years later. Liona sings an honest account of now living her life alone on her latest album The Return…To Canada With Love. Read our interview with Liona and see her performance of “Living My Life Alone” on Canada AM.
And if you want to take your relationship to the next level, Kristin Russo can tell you how she nabbed Jenny Owen Youngs in her article How To Marry A Musician in 10 Easy Steps.