Off The Stage: Domino Kirke

For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates artists’ paths to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

“For me, doula work is heart work. It’s a way for me to be connected to a higher purpose and my higher self. Music is also a way to do that, but it’s very different, and the two sort of bookend my personality,” says folk artist Domino Kirke, who recently released a new album, Beyond Waves. Kirke is the daughter of Simon Kirke, of Free and Bad Company fame. “I got a lot of inspiration all the time from different artists coming through our home, and from my father himself, the stories he had to tell about touring and whatnot,” continues the gentle-voiced Kirke in her beautiful British accent. “It inspired me to pursue music at a very young age, which was really a blessing. Both of my parents were very into my siblings and I pursing the arts,” she continues, referring to sisters Jemima and Lola, who are also involved in the entertainment industry.

The acoustically smooth, conversational poetry of Kirke’s new album is a vast departure from her previous release, Independent Channel. “The electronica vibe on my 2015 EP was very much an experimental time in my life, and hadn’t decided where my sound was going to land,” she explains. “I’d always been very into the songwriter/folk scene. I resonated with it more than I did anything the genre. I always knew I’d end up back in folk music,” she adds. “We worked with a lot of journaling, arranging songs from old journal entries. It was a way for me to get rid of some skeletons, it was something I’d been trying to do for a long time,” she continues. “It was a cathartic experience.”

Kirke strikes a fine balance with both realms of her life’s work, finding that creating her art and supporting clients in the birthing process, while different, fulfill her in similar ways. “In order for me to be good at what I do and stay interested in the creative arts, I feel like I have to do something that’s grounding and selfless at the same time,” she explains. “It mimics life in that you never know what’s going to happen, at any point I have to drop everything and go be of service to someone else,” she says of tending to the clients she helps through her doula collective, Carriage House Birth, which has, to date, served over 1,500 families in New York and Los Angeles. “That’s life, we never know what will happen in a day. I think that my job is to really be in that mindset is humbling and exciting. I really love it. Watching people give birth is incredible, and it right-sizes anything else going on in your life at that point.”

While she relishes the opportunity to walk alongside families in this miraculous process, Kirke acknowledges that like any other career, there has to be a lot of boundary-setting and self-care involved, “It’s a bonding experience with other people, but it’s my job, and I have to close the door so I can go back to my own life and my own family,” she says “You have to practice a healthy detachment. That’s how it is when you play music too, it’s a service, it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s also a job. I also have to trust the universe, and not take a ton of clients when I know there’s a lot of music engagements on the horizon,” she adds of focusing on the support of her album at the moment. “It’s always there for me when I need it though,” she laughs. “People are always giving birth.”

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