Picking with Sheryl Crow: The 'Junker from Way Back' to Sell Antiques for Charity
Article by Alison Abbey
Published on Parade magazine
11 November 2015
This weekend, fans will have a chance to own a piece of Sheryl Crow. Or at least, a piece of her extensive collection of antiques. The Grammy-winning artist will be selling her wares at City Farmhouse Holiday Pop-up Fair in Franklin, Tennessee, November 14-15. Crow, 53, will donate proceeds from the sale to the World Food Program USA, a food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. The cause—and the collection—are close to Crow’s heart. Parade sat down with her while she (plus 34 other vendors) was setting up shop to talk about junking, purging and giving.
You have so many beautiful pieces in your collection. What made you decide to sell them?
I am going through a period where I feel like simplifying: I finally sold my house in a LA a couple years ago. I’d lived there for 22 years, and had collected quite a lot of stuff. I’m a junker from way back. I always went junking with my mom, that is what we called it. Touring and being able to throw things in the back of your equipment truck and drive away with it—it’s very dangerous—being lonely out on the road and soothing yourself by buying things. So when I sold my house, I wound up with two or three storage units of stuff. I’ve gone through the storage units there and I’m just simplifying, getting rid of stuff.
And how did you select World Food Program USA as the recipient of the proceeds?
I’ve worked with World Food Program for the better part of 15 years. I felt like this would be a great way to put some attention on them and what they’re doing in a lot of Third World countries, and also [places] that a lot of NGOs [non-governmental organizations] can’t—keeping in mind what’s happening with all the refugees in Europe—so I decided they’d be a very worthy recipient.
How would you describe your aesthetic taste?
Weird and wacky! For the most part I like early American, and I love to throw in French countryside with it. I like old advertising signs. I think there’s a story to almost everything that’s done by hand, so I really gravitate toward those. I gravitate to weird light fixtures; anything that has a story or that you feel must have a story, whether you know it or not. Of course now “junk” is high priced. I remember my mom always saying, “Oh my heavens, I can’t believe they’re asking that kind of money for stuff we threw away.” But I think we all long to have some connection to the way things were, and I think that’s why people gravitate so much to what you see at these popup fairs, all this primitive stuff that looks like people lived with. They lived with this furniture, they sat around these tables, they slept in these beds, and it gives us a sense of place and time.
What advice would you share with a first time popup shopper?
There are two ways to look at it: I went to a popup fair and took a picture of this table that I wanted to remember, but I wanted to walk around and think about it. When I got back, it was gone. So there’s the other school of thought if you see it and you like it, you better get it then because it’s going to be gone. But I always think walk around and see everything before you buy anything.
Are there any pieces you can’t part with? Any that you’re hoping to give to your sons, Wyatt, 8 and Levi, 5?
I’m not that really attached to any of it anymore. I think as they get older I’m going to take notice. My mom always said, “It’s fine to make a will and leave your money to people, but taking notice of something they love and putting that on a list to the side, that’s the stuff that really matters and that reminds them of you.” So I’m just always going to take notice of the things that my kids like.
Would you ever consider interior decorating as a side job?
I love doing this, but I feel like I’m at that point now of that old saying, “You’re never going to look back on your life and wish you would have worked more.” At the top of my list are my kids, and I don’t want to miss out on any of that. I love decorating, but it’s one of those things where I just love finding something and going, “OK, where is this going to go?” I guess if you were doing someone’s house it would be a blast, but it would be hard for me to pick out things that I love and then put them in somebody else’s house.
Speaking of music, what are you working on right now?
I am working on two different records, and I’m still finishing up stuff for Diner [a musical adaptation of the Barry Levinson film of the same name, with script by Levinson and music and lyrics by Crow] that’s getting ready to open in Delaware, and then hopefully on to New York. In a perfect world it would go to Broadway and have so much success that it would become a touring [production].
And you’re still touring.
I just love playing. I have a great band, and I just enjoy them. I love having that kindred experience with my audience: A lot of the audience are my age, and then we have a young audience now that come with their parents and it’s just fun to have a connection—once people put their phones down. It’s great that they get into the music and that’s what makes it all worthwhile. I really enjoy it still.
SOURCE: Parade magazine