Mom Muse | Leslie Cours Mather
Leslie Cours Mather knew from the time she was a young girl that she wanted to be a singer and musician. At eight years old, she begged her parents for music lessons. The family had a piano and she had been trying to write her own songs even though she didn’t know how to play. Her parents complied and hired a piano teacher – Leslie worked hard to learn and practiced non-stop, in addition to penning her own music. Her dream of having a singing career begins here.
Born in Singapore, Leslie’s father was a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and was serving as a military attaché in Indonesia at the time. The two share a common love of music, and her dad played a major role in encouraging her talent and career along the way. After graduating from high school, Leslie attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, aka “Music City,” where she fell in love with country music. Several doors opened for her in Nashville, including meeting her husband Trey. After winning a talent competition in New York, the couple moved to Los Angeles so Leslie could hone her craft and the two could start a family.
Hanging out and having fun with her kids.
Fast forward to today… this talented mother of three — Marin (15), Stefani (13) and Nathaniel (10) — and her family have endured their share of challenges over the years. At four years old, Stefani was diagnosed with leukemia and underwent chemotherapy and numerous hospitalizations. As a result, Leslie began homeschooling all three children, which she continues to still do today. Then, last December as she was planning a radio tour and music video shoot, Leslie was diagnosed with kidney failure and hospitalized for a week. For the last nine months, she has been undergoing dialysis three days a week while she waits for a transplant.
At one point, Leslie briefly debated giving up her pursuit of a career in music. She shared with us, “It just felt impossible since I couldn’t really travel and my energy level was so low. But I quickly realized that music is my joy, and my family has been cheering me on to never give up.” And, we’re so happy she didn’t. Leslie, you are truly an inspiration to never give up on your dreams and live life to its fullest.
Be sure and check out Countrified, a reality show about Leslie, her family and their journey! The fourth episode premieres this Thursday. Plus, don’t miss her uplifting patriotic song, “We Are America”!
MSL: Describe your style in five words or less.
Modern country meets adult contemporary.
Photo Credit: JSquared Photography
MSL: What inspired you to become a singer?
Since I was a kid, I’ve never imagined doing anything else. My dad inspired me. He was very musical and he saw my passion early on. He introduced me to his favorite singers. Linda Ronstadt was his favorite, and he played her a lot. I was super inspired by her powerful voice. My dad and I always shared music, so it was something that bonded us together.
MSL: What do you like best about your work? The biggest challenge?
I love the creative process of taking a song from an idea all the way through a finished product. Every layer in the studio is exhilarating. Sometimes the guitarist plays a sweet guitar solo or I sing a very moving vocal line, and everyone in the studio just revels in it for a minute. Those are magic moments. I also love performing and seeing the reaction of my audience, plus playing in venues where I can interact with people.
Leaving my family is the most challenging part of this business. I enjoy being around my kids. When things get busy and I’m traveling a lot, I miss them too much. I’m so thankful for FaceTime. That way, at night I can see their faces and virtually kiss them goodnight.
MSL: The most exciting moment of your career so far?
There have been many, but I think the first time I recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville was the highlight. Blackbird is owned by Martina and John McBride. Martina has been a huge musical influence for me. Everything about Blackbird is amazing…the Beatles décor, the giant mixing board, the isolation booths, the lounge, and the top-notch engineers and musicians that are there on a daily basis. To be in the midst of that is like, “Wow, this is really happening.”
Performing at the 2015 Special Olympics in LA.
Leslie performing at the CMA Fest 2015. Photo Credit: Megan Everett
MSL: Tell us more about your reality webshow and why you decided to do it.
Most reality shows tell a story with added drama. My life is a dramatic story as is. I am not interested in adding drama. I’m interested in inspiring and encouraging other people, especially moms. I am an advocate for home schooling, and the show is a sneak peek into the daily life of a home-school family. I want to send a message to other moms that dreams don’t die once you have kids, sacrifice is a good thing, and love matters. The show is also about my journey pursuing my career in country music while living in Los Angeles. If nothing else, the show proves that anything is possible!
Photo Credit: JSquared Photography
MSL: Any tips you can share for achieving good work-life balance?
It’s hard!! Cut yourself some slack! Teamwork is important… everyone does his or her share. My kids have learned to run the household, from doing laundry, making dinner and washing dishes to cleaning the house and letting the dog out. They’re still kids and still growing in that area, but practice makes perfect! (And don’t worry, they have plenty of time for fun.)
For me, finding balance was originally challenging because I get super focused on my music. But, after months of being too stressed and paying for it with my health, I realized there are seasons to push and seasons to let go and coast for a while. Since being diagnosed with kidney failure I have been staying home a lot more and it’s given me precious time with my kids.
MSL: The best part of being a mom? The most difficult?
I love being a mom more than anything else in the world. I think the humor is my favorite. Our whole family laughs at ourselves easily. My kids make me laugh a lot — sometimes because they are trying to, and sometimes because they do spontaneous child-like things that are better than watching a sit-com. I think the hardest thing about parenting is letting go. We like to control everything, but it’s important to let our kids have their own life story, and it’s good for them to make some mistakes. There are so many stages we go through: first baby sitter, first day of pre-school, first sleepover, first plane ride without us. My oldest is studying for her driver’s license… talk about letting go!
MSL: Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to hear.
I’m shy. I’m a cave dweller. I do love people, but I need a lot of alone time in between. People are always shocked by this because I have learned to be very outgoing and personable. I can be alone without feeling lonely.
MSL: What’s the one item in your closet you can’t live without?
In country music, boots are a “mandatory” wardrobe item. I’m good with boots, but for me they have to have some LA flair and be more on the dressy side. A stylist on a photo shoot bought a pair of bronze, metallic boots for me. I’ve never seen anything like them and I wear them with everything.
Wearing her coveted bronze boots. Photo Credit: JSquared Photography
MSL: What’s your best style advice for other moms out there?
As the mother of teenage girls, I am always preaching to them about what’s real and what’s not in the media. I’ve had a lot of experience with photo shoots. Photographers always touch up photos, and now there are apps that allow us to touch up our selfies. When I’m not working, I usually keep my makeup really light. Mascara and lip gloss, and I’m out the door. I don’t follow clothing trends, usually because I don’t find them flattering on me. I think the secret is to know what looks good on you and be confident in that. For me, it’s long lines and form-fitting silhouettes.