Gwen Stefani is getting better with age — of course, we can tell that by just looking at her. But creatively, she's also maturing. In fact, the No Doubt singer tells Marie Claire that her band's upcoming sixth album in 20 years, Push and Shove, is "my favorite record. I mean, your favorite record is always the last one you did, but it really is — it's a really great record."
But it took a lot of sacrifice — not just on her part, but also for her bandmates Tony Kanal, Adrian Young, and Tom Dumont. The group is all married with kids, and the long hours spent in the studio trying to perfect their new songs took its toll. And that's where they found their inspiration. "There are a lot of feelings of being overworked, overwhelmed: 'Can't we just slow this down? I can't enjoy everything because I'm doing too many things,'" says Stefani, who has two sons, Kingston, 6, and Zuma, 4, with her husband of a decade Gavin Rossdale. Her band, she adds, "all have kids and they all get it."
For Stefani, 42, it was especially hard juggling being a mother, a fashion designer (she has three labels), a wife, and the lead singer of a super-successful band. But she still found time to write for Push and Shove, which has been four years in the making since she wrapped touring for her second solo album, The Sweet Escape.
"I would be up all night because my second baby didn't sleep, and he had a lot of ear infections," explains Stefani. "Then I'd wake up in the morning and do my workout, which I always felt I had to do, and then meetings for my three clothing lines, and then hang out with my kids, take them to preschool, da-da-da. And then at 4 o'clock, I'd be like, 'All right, I'm out of here, I'm going to go to the studio' and try to write a record. Sit on the couch [with my bandmates] and be like, 'Let's do this now because I'm missing time with my kids; I could be having dinner with them and putting them to bed.' It was really hard."
Now, Stefani has learned how to avoid being forced to divide her time between all her many ventures. Not only has she stopped working out (gasp!), but she has kissed her solo career goodbye and also pulled back from being so involved in every last minor detail of her L.A.M.B. and Harajuku Lovers lines. "It still looks awesome, but did I pick out the buttons? No, I didn't. I missed the last two Fashion Weeks because they were when school started; I can't miss the first week of kindergarten."
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