Sara Quin is beaming as she flips through photographs of her newborn son on her phone.
It’s the first time the Vancouver-based musician, one half of twin sister pop duo Tegan and Sara, has been away since he was born 11 weeks ago and she’s missing him dearly.
“Isn’t he cute?” she asks. “I love him so much.”
“I’m so excited to be a queer parent,” she adds.
Alongside her sister, the 41-year-old singer-songwriter is embarking on a milestone that’s certain to affect their lifelong musical partnership, including how they interact with fans.
As they sit together to discuss “High School,” a new TV series for Amazon that debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, the conversation veers toward how they might navigate their careers.
“When I think of the next 10 years, it starts now,” Tegan says.
“There’s TV projects, graphic novels and books, and Sara has a kid … I don’t want to go back to what we were.”
For instance, the sisters have sworn off extensive touring schedules, and Tegan says she’s crossed awards shows off her list after performing “Everything Is Awesome!!!” at the Oscars.
“I want to make art and I want to make stuff,” she adds.
That includes “High School,” based on their 2019 memoir of the same name. The series is led by TikTok creators Railey and Seazynn Gilliland who play teenage versions of the sisters immersed in 1990s grunge culture in their Calgary hometown.
The first few episodes premiere at TIFF while the entire first season debuts on Prime Video in Canada on Oct. 28.
There will also be a screening of the first three episodes of “High School” at the Calgary International Film Festival, where “High School” was shot, on Sept. 29, along with a Q&A featuring Tegan and Sara, who will also perform a brief acoustic set.
Before the nostalgic series began development, Sara was already looking to the future. She started a fertility journey with her partner that stretched over four years, as it became stalled by COVID-19 clinic closures and other complications. Her partner gave birth on June 24, the same day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.
As a sleep-deprived new parent, the timing made her consider many other women who don’t have childcare services, financial security and other support systems.
Two months after her child was born, Sara shared the news on the duo’s Instagram account, posting an image that concealed her son’s face.
She’s being cautious for now, keeping his name under wraps as she considers how much of her personal life she wants to put into the world.
“It’s a conversation I’ve had with Tegan and with my partner,” she says.
“My instinct is to share very little because I want to keep it (out of) the public domain. But then on the other hand, I’m desperate to see other versions of what I’m doing and I can’t seem to find them,” she says, of queer representation.
She points out that those who don’t give birth often seem to be missing from the conversation, especially in LGBTQ families.
“I feel like its reason enough to, with careful thought, share some of my experience,” she says.
Perhaps more than ever, the sisters are on noticeably different trajectories in their personal lives, which they acknowledge may seep into their professional work at some point.
Tegan brought home a German shepherd border collie puppy during the pandemic and started to shape a few TV pitches with other collaborators. Sara recently began shopping around her own concept for a series that’s separate from her sister.
They welcome the suggestion of recording solo music projects in the coming years, which they admit they probably wouldn’t have seriously considered earlier in their careers.
Sara’s new role as mom lingers amid all these possibilities.
Both of them have discussed whether Sara should open up her own Instagram account where she can foster a community interested in hearing about her adventures in motherhood and how she shares time with her child.
“I am going to get to show him things, lead him places and tell him about the world,” she said.
“Even silly things like I can’t wait to start swim lessons with him. I can’t wait for his personality to develop”
She adds: “I’ve been disrupting systems since I was a teenager and now I feel some weird thrill about being in a video game and it’s called ‘Being a Parent.'”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.