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Mother's Day

9 Musicians With Rockin' Moms

Here's our Mother’s Day salute to moms that had it going on years before their kids made it in the music biz

1 / 10

“Cool mom.” The term might sound like an oxymoron to some or make you think of Amy Poehler’s sad character in Mean Girls ("what's the cool jams?"). But as those surprising vintage photos we find of our parents looking like hip strangers prove, moms are people, too. And some of these mothers played in bands and starred in cult TV shows!

Click NXT to meet the moms that were making it happen even before they made the musicians you know today:

2 / 10

Cissy Houston (Mom to Whitney)

Less than a year after Whitney Houston’s untimely death, her mother Cissy Houston released Remembering Whitney, a controversial book chronicling their relationship and the singer’s stormy life. But Cissy was a gospel and soul singer in her own right, and before she gave birth to “Nippy" she sang backup for legends like Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley

3 / 10

Mary Jo Deschanel (Mom to Zooey)

She & Him singer/New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel's mother Mary Jo has some serious '90s nostalgia cred: She played Donna Hayward’s mom on Twin Peaks. Wonder how many dates Zooey and ex-husband Ben Gibbard went on before she mentioned that her mom used to hang out with the Log Lady? 

4 / 10

Jada Pinkett Smith (Mom to Willow)

Willow Smith taught us to whip our hair back and forth to shake off all the haters, but her mom Jada Pinkett Smith is more into headbanging. As Jada Koren, the actress became lead singer for the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom  in 2002, which morphed into the softer-edged Wicked Evolution in 2011.

5 / 10

Elka Zolot (Mom to Kreayshawn)

According to Kreayshawn’s Instagram, the “Gucci Gucci” rapper is a mom to be. And if she has a daughter, they should form a three-generation all-girl band with Kreay’s mother Elka Zolot, a singer and guitarist best known for her surf-punk trio the Trashwomen, who were seriously badass. It must feel weird to be out-cooled by your own mom.

6 / 10

Patricia Hickey Carey (Mom to Mariah)

Mariah Carey was just 20 when she released her self-titled debut, and growing up in a musical household gave her an early start: Her mother Patricia Hickey Carey was an opera singer and vocal coach. Mimi and mama shared the stage in 2010 for Mariah’s ABC Christmas special. 
7 / 10

Yoko Ono (Mom to Sean Lennon)

Sean Lennon was a wee 5 year old when he started recording with one of the most recognizable names in rock history: His mom, artist and activist Yoko Ono. Being the spawn of rock royalty is a lot to live up to, but judging by their most recent collab—"Please Don’t Frack My Mother" performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon—Sean’s clearly proud to have an awesome mom.

8 / 10

Kate McGarrigle (Mom to Rufus Wainwright)

Rufus Wainwright was born into the family business—both parents were established singer-songwriters. His mother Kate McGarrigle was a celebrated Canadian folk musician who performed solo, as a duo with her sister Anna and alongside her children Rufus and Martha until her death in 2010.

9 / 10

Michelle Phillips (Mom to Chynna Phillips)

Wilson Phillips scored a major 90s hit with “Hold On” which, as Bridesmaids reminded us, is an American treasure. While group members Carnie and Wendy are Brian Wilson’s daughters, third member Chynna Phillips had a famous mama—Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas.

10 / 10

Maybelle Carter (Mom to June Carter Cash)

“Mama Maybelle” Carter sang and played the guitar, banjo and autoharp in the country music dynasty that was the Carter Family. June joined the family band at age 10 and later played with her mom and siblings in Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters. Basically, Johnny Cash had the coolest mother-in-law ever.


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