With Vip.de's journalist Nicole. The interview will be available soon! -
[CANDID] Köln, Germany
Photo: Sheryl Crow -
[CANDID] Berlin, Germany, 28 January
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Sheryl being interviewed high above Berlin
(Photo by Peter Stroud via FB) -
[Q&A] Sunday Express (UK) - 26 January
By Rachel Corcoran
SHERYL Crow opens up about the bravest thing she's ever done, her desire to have a straighter nose and the best days of her life…
The singer, 51, lives in Nashville with her adopted sons, Wyatt, six and Levi, three. Not a lot of people know this but I’m very good at…wolf-whistling. I’m an excellent trampolinist, too, and also a good shot – I can hit a tin can from 70 yards.
My best friend is… my manager. His name’s Scooter and he’s been with me for 20 years. We’ve been through each other’s break-ups, divorces, kids and all of that. I admire him a lot.
My nickname is… when I was a kid it used to be Bird Legs, as I had skinny pins. I don’t think I have a nickname now.
The bravest thing I’ve ever done is… go on Larry King Live and talk about having breast cancer. It was a hard thing to do but also a game-changer – I think people saw me in a different light after that, and also it made them realise that it can happen to anyone. My perfect evening is…last night was pretty good – it was a mums’ night out where we went for dinner and then on to see a girlfriend play at a club.
My favourite TV show is… Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Some of the comic stuff he does is just beyond brilliant. I’m not watching Downton Abbey ever again, though – I’m mad after they killed off Matthew. It was very cruel.
I’d like to say sorry to… there is nobody who I have to say sorry to. If I need to apologise, I usually say it right there and then.
My first kiss was with… Joe Elton Stillman in sixth grade, so I was 11 years old. We were playing spin the bottle. The one thing I’d change about myself is… I’d like to be two inches taller – I’m 5ft 4ins. I’d also straighten my nose and have bigger boobs.
The last time I cried was… eight days ago, when I got hit in the eye by a tennis ball. I’m still having eye problems but my six year old has an incredible forehand.
The first record I ever bought was…Chicago when I was nine or 10 years old.
It’s not good for my image but I like… Lay’s potato chips and Diet Coke.
My greatest weakness is…eBay. I’ve bought lots on there.
The most expensive thing I’ve ever splashed out on is…some recording equipment called a Neve console. I bought it years ago when I was doing my second album. That cost a fortune.
I drive…a hybrid and a minivan.
I’m currently reading… Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. He’s a comic writer and it’s all about parenthood – it’s hysterical. I’m also reading an excellent biography of Nelson Mandela.
My perfect Sunday is… not having any chores to do. I’ll get out, drink coffee, play with my sons, go swimming, have a picnic, ride horses, order takeaway, then crawl into bed with my kids and watch a movie.
My favourite place in Britain is…the Covent Garden Hotel. I have such great memories of that place. My last holiday was…last week – I took five days off to go waterskiing with my kids, my brother and his family. We went to Lake Watauga in Tennessee. My three year old was riding along, going, “Faster, faster!”
The best day of my life was…I have two. The first was the day I brought my elder son home. The second was picking up his brother. If I had half an hour left on Earth…I’d take my boys somewhere beautiful to sit and relax.
Sheryl’s new album Feels Like Home is out tomorrow.
She’s a chart-topping solo artist, but says she was happiest being on stage with the legend. Could that be anything to do with the fact that this God-fearing, nail-biting party girl forgets the lyrics to her own hit songs
What is your earliest memory?
I must have been two. I remember lying in an old crib at my grandmother’s house. I could hear my mum, my grandma and my two aunts in the kitchen laughing their heads off. I was wide awake and I kept wondering when they were coming to get me. But everything was fine with the world at that moment because the house was full of laughter. You can’t beat the sound of genuine laughter, knowing people around you are having a great time.
What sort of child were you?
I grew up in Missouri, in a strong God-fearing community. There was always music around me. My dad played trumpet. My mum played piano and sang. I was a big reader. I loved books and thought I might become a novelist but music always drew me back. I was very driven. That came out of being a real people-pleaser. I figured that, if I excelled, people would like me more.
When were you last really happy?
Being Michael Jackson’s backing singer on his Bad tour from 1987 to 1989. I was in my mid-20s. I hadn’t released any records. I didn’t even own a passport when I landed the job. And there I was, travelling the world with the biggest pop star on the planet. Walking out in front of full stadiums every night was exhilarating enough. To be performing alongside Jackson was something else altogether. Seeing him dance a few feet away from me was an other-worldly experience. It was the happiest of times.
What are you best at?
I throw a good party. I have a barn with a bar on my property in Nashville, a perfect party venue.
What would you like to be better at?
I come from an artistic family but I seem to be the only one who is useless at drawing. Ask me to draw a person and you’ll get something that resembles a stick insect.
Who would your dream dinner date be?
I’d be torn between Mahatma Gandhi and Ricky Gervais. I often wonder what it would have been like to sit in Gandhi’s presence and listen to him talk about how he changed the world through entirely peaceful means. And I’ve been a huge Ricky Gervais fan since The Office. He never fails to make me laugh. Gervais and Gandhi together would be an interesting combination.
What is your best character trait?
I never get bored.
What is your worst character trait?
I’m a compulsive cuticle-biter. I’m forever gnawing away at my fingernails and I’m completely aware that it’s far from being the most attractive thing about me.
What is your most treasured possession?
My 1964 Gibson Country Western. It was one of the first guitars I ever bought, in 1990, just after I’d come off tour with Jackson. I call that guitar the old money-maker, because all the hits I’ve ever had were written on it. One time I dropped it and broke the neck off it. I cried my eyes out until I found a guy who could fix it.
Tell us a secret about yourself
Not many people know that I’m a collector of weird junk. If you come to my house you’ll more than likely trip over piles of antique devices used in eye surgery, innumerable doll heads, bizarre examples of folk art and some of the world’s strangest advertising signs. It makes for a very intriguing house.
What was your best night out?
I’ve had so many memorable nights but the evening of December 19, 1997, would be hard to beat. That night I stood on stage at a theatre in Los Angeles and sang Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door with Bob Dylan. There was another night 15 years ago when I went to see Bob at The Palladium in LA. He spotted me in the balcony and called me to the stage where I sang Highway 51 Blues with him. Both those events were great ‘pinch me’ moments.
What is your biggest fear?
In 2006 I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. In 2011 I discovered I had a meningioma, a kind of brain tumour. Having come through those traumas, there is a fear I might have to go through more of that at some time.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
For any singer, there’s nothing much more embarrassing than forgetting lyrics. That’s happened to me a whole bunch of times. The last occasion was at a gig in Florida in 2012. I was halfway through Soak Up The Sun, one of my biggest hits, and my brain just emptied. At least no one can accuse me of lip-syncing.
Who – or what – do you dream about?
I have a recurring dream about a house. It’s ancient, with hundreds of rooms, all packed with antiques. I have no idea why I keep visiting it. Maybe I lived there in a previous life.
Who do you most admire?
Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks is an extraordinary woman and it was one of the great privileges of my life to record with her. Also, on my new album I’ve ventured properly into country music. My chief inspiration was the great country star Loretta Lynn who, through the 1960s and 70s, raised the bar in terms of what was acceptable subject matter within the genre. She sang about birth control, sexism and Vietnam, encouraging other female singers to write about stuff that was personal to them. I admire her greatly.
[LIVE VIDEO] "Call Me When I'm Lonely" - The Tonight Show - 21 Jan
[LIVE PIC] Backstage At the Tonight Show Studios in Burbank, CA
21 January 2014
03:25 PM PST -
[LIVE REVIEW] NAIAS Charity Preview Concert - Detroit, MI - 17 Jan
- Sheryl Crow hits stage at afterparty
Detroit News Pop Music Writer
As the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview wrapped up inside Cobo Center, Sheryl Crow kicked off the afterparty in Cobo’s Atrium.
The nine-time Grammy winner took the stage for a 16-song, 85-minute set of hits that spanned her career.
Crow’s steady, upbeat performance proved a good match for the event, and she’s a recognizable, formidable name suitable for Detroit’s biggest night. Uncle Kracker’s set at the Charity Preview last year was like a dry run, and Crow — playing the finished Atrium, a gorgeous setting that even made the People Mover look cool when it rode by outside — was the real deal.
Crow opened with “Steve McQueen,” with a large black and white picture of the actor on the video screen behind her. Backed by her six-piece band, Crow delivered for the black-tie crowd, which included people watching from two levels of balconies and a full house on the Atrium steps, which became makeshift bleachers.
“Do you love American-made cars?” Crow asked as she rolled into “All I Wanna Do.” In the song’s opening lines, she changed the words “this is L.A.” to “this is an automobile show!”
She sprinkled auto banter throughout her set, commenting on cars she used to own, which included several Chevy vehicles. She also performed several auto-themed songs, including a song she wrote for the movie “Cars” (“Real Gone”) and “Shotgun.”
The crowd thinned out as her set progressed, and around one-thirds of the crowd had left by the time she closed her set with a wailing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” There are, of course, after-after parties to get to, and Crow was just one stop in a long night.
Late in her set, Crow said “this goes out to my Detroit buddy” as she eased into “Picture,” her hit duet with Kid Rock (sorry, there was no Rock appearance on this night). She segued the song into her own “If It Makes You Happy,” which led into “Soak Up the Sun,” a nice sentiment on a cold January night.
Crow, who was introduced to the stage by WYCD-FM’s (99.5) Dr. Don, turned the attention on the crowd and the evening’s cause at one point in her set. “We heard you raised $4.8 million tonight, you should feel good about yourselves,” she said. “Celebrate yourselves.”
[NEWS] Sheryl Crow Ready To Perform At NAIAS Charity Preview
The North American International Auto Show is upon us again and Downtown Detroit will welcome millions of people to Cobo Hall for the annual showcase of the best vehicles of today — and tomorrow. Before the show opens to the public, a black tie charity preview takes place with a who’s who of celebs and auto execs and workers. This year, Sheryl Crow will perform for the event. Beforehand, she talked to the host of the evening, Dr. Don.
Crow, who is a self professed “car freak,” says that she has a 1964 Corvette Stingray and a 1951 Chevy Truck. Talking about her first car, Sheryl revealed it was a 1974 Z28. Sheryl continued to talk about how much she loves muscle cars, saying, “I’ve had big muscle cars my whole life, I’m way into it.”
She’s so into cars that when asked about the one she was in on her first date, she knew the answer immediately — a Cutlass Supreme.
We all have cars that we had in the past that we wish we could have back. So which one is it for Sheryl? She said, “I really wish that I had my Z28 back.”
So, what ride is she rocking day-to-day? The answer may surprise you. Hear it in her interview below.
[NEWS] Sheryl to perform on The Tonight Show
Sheryl will perform on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Tuesday, January 21st.
"The Tonight Show" airs on NBC TV at 11:35 p.m. EST. Check local listipngs for details. -
[NEWS] Sheryl, Rascal Flatts and Gloriana on 2014 Megaticket in Noblesville
On May 17, 2014 at the Klipsch Amphitheater Sheryl, Rascal Flatts and Gloriana will perform as part of the 2014 Klipsch Megaticket.
Noblesville’s outdoor amphitheater released the concerts and dates of the 2014 Live Nation-sponsored ticket package today, beginning ticket sales on Friday, January 24 at 10 a.m.
The coveted gold package, selling for $995, guarantees a lower pavilion seat for each of the 10 concerts with a premium parking pass.
The silver package, selling for $750, guarantees a reserved seat in the upper pavilion for each the 10 shows.
The bronze package, selling for $499.50, reserves a seat in the rear upper pavilion in the back of sections H or D for each of the concerts.
Lawn packages are selling for $250, which reserves a lawn ticket for each show date.
For additional information and updates, check the Megaticket website. Individual ticket prices for each show have not been released yet.
Here are the following bands, country artists and show dates:
- Saturday, May 17: Rascal Flatts, with Sheryl Crow and Gloriana
- Saturday, June 7: Tim McGraw, with Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope
- Thursday, June 19: Brad Paisley, with Leah Turner and Charlie Worsham
- Thursday, July 24: Lady Antebellum, with Billy Currington and Joe Nichols
- Saturday, August 2: Keith Urban, with Jerrod Niemann and Brett Eldredge
- Saturday, August 16: Miranda Lambert, with Thomas Rhett
- Friday, August 29: Luke Bryan, with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell
- Saturday, August 30: Luke Bryan, with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell
- Saturday, September 13: Toby Keith
- Saturday, September 27: Dierks Bentley, with Chris Young, Chase Rice and Jon Pardi
[NEWS] Detroit auto show: Charity Preview with Sheryl Crow already tops $4.5 million for charity
By Michael Wayland
DETROIT, MI- The 2014 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview is expected to be the largest in years.
With two days left to sell tickets for the black-tie gala, sales have already topped last year’s 13,000, according to NAIAS officials. That means more than $4.5 million will be donated to Detroit children’s charities, already surpassing the $3.9 million raised in 2013.
“This is a big night for Detroit,” said NAIAS chairman Bob Shuman in an interview last week. “This is going to be a huge night and it will really showoff that new, renovated part of Cobo.”
The Detroit convention center is nearing the end of a $279 million renovation. Visitors to last year’s Detroit auto show may have noticed a lot of construction and a few renovations, but this year the upgrades are much more noticeable (click here for more in the upgrades).
Besides Cobo, another reason for the Charity Preview’s already booming success is probably Sheryl Crow, who is scheduled to perform. NAIAS officials announced her performance in November, with Shuman saying, “Her performance will crown what is already one of Detroit's most spectacular evenings, and the largest single night fundraiser for children's charities in North America."
Charity Preview, which MLive Media Group is the official Social Media Sponsor of, will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $350 each, $340 of which is tax deductible. This year's price is $50 more than last year, but Shuman said the increase is all for the charities.
“It’s an attempt to try and raise a little bit more money for the kids and for charity,” he told MLive. “The charities have higher expenses. Everyone has higher expenses.”
Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised more than $91 million for southeastern Michigan children's charities - over $47 million of which was raised in the last 10 years alone.
Beneficiaries of the event include Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Boys and Girls Hope Detroit, Children's Center, The Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation, The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) Charitable Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Detroit Institute of Children, Judson Center, March of Dimes Metro Detroit, and Detroit PAL.
Another new attraction for the night, as part of the NAIAS’ 25th anniversary this year, is “Studio 25,” which will include an after party being held in Cobo Center’s new Grand Riverview Ballroom and VIP Hospitality Lounges. Tickets for the new event were sold separately from the Charity Preview.
The Detroit auto show will be open to the public from Jan. 18-26 at Cobo Center, One Washington Blvd., following Press Preview Jan. 13-14; Industry Preview Jan. 15-16; and the Charity Preview on Jan. 17.
Automakers are unveiled about 50 vehicles during the two-day Press Preview to start the 2014 NAIAS on Monday and Tuesday.
Tickets to the 2014 public show days are $7 for senior citizens and children between 7-12 years old; $13 for adults; and free for children 6 and under.
Sheryl with the students of the Blackbird Academy in Nashville
(Photo by the Blackbird Academy)
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The always lovely Sheryl Crow came to talk to our new class of Studio students! Thank you!!
Photo and caption by the Blackbird Academy
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The Blackbird Academy is proud to announce our first Blackbird Studio Session featuring legendary engineer Ken Scott with Sheryl Crow and her band. Ken has worked with many of the top names in music including The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Supertramp, Devo and many more. Sheryl Crow has sold more than 17 million albums in the US and 50 million worldwide. The event will take place in Blackbird's Studio D on April 14-18, 2014.
The Blackbird Studio Sessions gives audio professionals of all levels a chance to hone their skills with the top names in audio production. Attendees will work closely with the talent, gaining knowledge, operational skills and workflow insights that only comes with up close personal contact. Put your skills on the fast track and join us for this unique opportunity to interface with Ken Scott and Sheryl Crow.
Blackbird's Studio D is the birthplace of many hits from such artists as Kings of Leon, Jack White, The Raconteurs, Bon Jovi, Rush, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Tony Bennet and more. Studio D features a 192 input API Legacy Plus console, the largest of its kind. The racks of Studio D are loaded with many processors and preamps from Blackbird Audio Rentals. The room features a live reverb chamber, 4 iso booths, two amp rooms, and access to Blackbird's collection of over 1,400 microphones, many of them considered vintage.
Dates: April 14-18, 2014
For more info, call 855-385-3251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
[INTERVIEW] SEVEN (Sunday Telegraph) - 12 January 2014 issue
Sheryl Crow interview: 'I've attracted people who are very... challenged'
She’s endured life-threatening illnesses, crazed stalkers, and a doomed relationship with Lance Armstrong. But you won't hear Sheryl Crow crying on her new country album
On Sheryl Crow’s farm, sipping PG Tips in the singer’s McMansion-like home, there are many things to discuss. Things such as this 50-acre spread half-an-hour’s drive from Nashville, the result of a 20-year career in which she has sold upwards of 50 million records. Or her new album, which is the nine-times-Grammy-winner’s first country collection. Or her battles with breast cancer and a brain tumour. Or the two sons the 52-year-old adopted as a single mother seven and four years ago.
But first, there’s a boil to lance: Crow’s former fiancé, Lance Armstrong. The couple dated for almost three years between 2003-2006. Ancient – and brief – history. But the shadow cast by the super-cyclist’s much-belated admission of illegal doping is long. And the memory of his televised “confession” to Oprah Winfrey a year ago feels fresh.
Is it, I wonder, frustrating to Crow that she is forever dragged back into the controversy surrounding her ex?
“Yeah, I get tethered to that”
she says evenly:
“I was talking about it with a friend. I guess if I was married to a famous person, perhaps I wouldn’t get asked about it.
And she said:
‘No, you’re a woman, and people always want to know what you’re wearing and what was he like.”
For the record, the lean, glowing Crow is dressed down in tight jeans and loose blouse. Her hair is, by her own cheerful admission, rather like that of her great friend and mentor Stevie Nicks – in the Fleetwood Mac singer’s Seventies glory, all feathered and flouncy. She looks great for a woman half her age, and not just because she’s fresh from a morning being filmed for Country Music Television in her property’s clapboard chapel (just next to her stables, barn, another barn, office and her recording studio).
But as to what he might have been like: were her suspicions about doping perhaps part of the reason they split?
Crow – friendly, relaxed, hospitable – pauses briefly before replying.
“Oh, you know,”
she says with a hint of a sigh:
“I couldn’t talk about any of that stuff. Mainly because it’s just a part of my past and there were other things that were much more problematic about the whole situation. There were a lot of things that fed into us not being together, like there are in every relationship. We just had some very big, fundamental differences.”
This time last year Crow was dragged into the controversy by comments from Betsy Andreu, wife of Armstrong’s ex-team-mate Frankie Andreu. In her opinion, Crow must have known something. The whistleblower who exposed the seven-times Tour de France winner said: “Sheryl was by his side when he was trying to destroy people and she said nothing. That’s unconscionable. It just astounds me.”
When I mention this, Crow replies coolly.
“I think Betsy, just like everybody in this picture, has her own ulterior motivations. And Betsy doesn’t know me. I think grace goes a long way. I think going out into the press and talking about what people should and shouldn’t do when they don’t know anything about you or your story, is irresponsible and slightly on the weird tip, personally.”
A discreet silence is better?
“I think people who go out and mouth off about people they don’t know, it makes them look bad. It certainly did not do her any great service.”
I wonder if Crow had any closure after Armstrong went on television with Oprah. She mutters something indistinguishable, then says:
“I don’t need closure from any of that. He holds no relevance to my life. Even answering questions I have to, like”
– Crow, who previously dated Eric Clapton and actor Owen Wilson, claps her thighs –
“…I have to, like, dig. Pretty much my life exists right this second, and my boys are the first thing I think of [in the morning], the last thing I think of at night, and past relationships with famous people or not famous people, with good people, with bad people, with tortured, confused people – every relationship has served a purpose in my life.”
This upbeat spin, she agrees with a rueful smile, is the way you progress, and free yourself from your past.
“Yeah,” she nods. “I also think we have free will in our lives. And our choices really represent who we are. And what’s lacking. [That’s what] a relationship does. A relationship, I think, serves up so many volleys that are meant to remind you of who you are, and how far away you’ve gotten from who you are.”
If anything, the whole experience vividly demonstrated Crow’s own winner’s instinct. Splitting with the world’s most famous cancer survivor a week before being diagnosed herself is an irony that might have floored many people. To fight grave illness not once but twice, then start a family on her own – that takes some strength.
“A friend of mine is a very intuitive person. He says we all have this propensity for telling a story about ourselves. And the story I always told was that I’d do what was expected: I’d fall in love, I’d get married, I’d have a happy home, I’d have kids. Everything would be served up in that order. And that story you tell about yourself can be the very story that limits you. Letting go of what it is your life is supposed to look like sometimes is the most liberating moment you will ever have.”
She thinks, then, that you have to “let go of it and say:
‘you know what, maybe my life is not gonna happen in the order I thought it would’. As soon as I did that, I had the opportunity to adopt my first son. So sometimes it’s not about this picture you paint about what your life is supposed to look like. Certainly I wouldn’t have painted in some of the experiences I’ve had, like breast cancer. But those are the experiences that have redefined my life. “So talking about Lance,” she laughs drily, “it was a nanosecond in the grand scheme. But it was a nanosecond that introduced me to some things about myself that I needed to look at. But his story is succinctly,” she concludes with steely finality, “his story.”
As to Sheryl Crow’s new story, it’s all in Feels Like Home. Her eighth studio album is the sound of the woman from small-town Missouri regrouping and going back to her roots. She sounds all the better, more relaxed, for it. On an album of grown-up country music, pitched between pre-Red album Taylor Swift and young talent Kacey Musgraves, Crow sounds in her entertaining comfort zone. As she sings on the rootsy We Oughta Be Drinkin’, it’s time to get “a little rowdy”, “s---faced” and “roll[ing] a big fat blunt”.
Who wrote those lyrics?
“Me,” she beams.
“It’s like If It Makes You Happy”
she says, referring to her 1996 hit, before quoting the apposite lines,
“‘I still get stoned … I’m not the kind of girl you’d take home’ … I’m still the same person!”
She’s been out of the spotlight for a while, and has been reluctantly and gingerly embracing the social media requirements of modern PR. She admits she’s no natural Twitter user, and decries a culture where internet trolls are everywhere.
“I had a song come out – it was in reference to a Hank Williams tribute record – and somebody blogged that it sounded like someone being raped in an open field.”
She shakes her head.
“It was so heinous. I sobbed. I never read that stuff, but I happened to catch that one thing. And I sobbed – and it wasn’t even what he said. It was the hatred And we’ve given everybody the opportunity to have an anonymous platform. We’ve given them momentum – and a community with which to associate. It used to be that if you were like that, you might be an outsider. Now everybody has found their people – who are haters.”
She’s had trouble with stalkers, too.
“I’ve had to testify against people. I had one guy commit suicide,”
she says, before moving quickly on.
“It’s really difficult. I’ve attracted people who are very, ah, challenged.”
She feels safe today, but there was a time when she had to hire a security guard.
“I had a woman who moved to my hometown who said that somebody had stolen her identity and that she was me. Her name was Sheryl Clapton.”
“Put that together!”
Crow now seems to have found peace. After 21 years in Los Angeles, she relocated to Nashville, a three-hour drive from where she grew up, six years ago. First she lived in a larger farm (which she’s in the process of selling, as she is the LA home), but is now more than comfortable on this frankly huge and chicly countrified property.
The barn offices abutting her stables and beneath her studio are fitted out with comfortable chairs, a well-stocked bar, and vintage, down-home advertising signs and hoardings: “Step inside for a Pete Baikley 5¢ cigar, every puff a pleasure”, “Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Newhaven, Connecticut, USA”. “Kelly barbed wire”. Dotted around the property are vehicles, including a 1951 truck straight from Waltons’ mountain and a 1964 Corvette Stingray. She doesn’t currently drive it, but might start.
“It’s a little attention-getting, though.”
Not here on Crow’s mini-ranch in the heart of the South, though, where the horses take pride of place and the buildings and greenery speak of antebellum grandeur and rural civility. And, frankly, of lots of money. I knew Crow had sold some records, but I didn’t think it was that many. She must, I suggest, have invested wisely. “Oh, thank you,” she says with a flash of that toothy smile.
“I was raised where the worth of a dollar meant something. Whenever I wanted something my parents said ‘save your money’. And I worked, whether it was babysitting or life-guarding or waiting tables or playing in cover bands. And I still feel that way. I’m not terribly frivolous, although I buy a lot of junk,”
she says cheerfully, gesturing around her grand, antiques-stuffed drawing room.
“But I buy stuff that I feel has a history and means something.”
And she insists she’s not some idle, country-club rock star who’s only playing at being a cowgirl. Crow considers that she has a responsibility to look after the land.
“I feel I have a stewardship to the earth. We’re all renters here, and we’ve in some ways lost our pantheist connection – the connection that something bigger exists that created all of this. And we’re just here for a nanosecond. My mom and dad always said you have to leave the campground nicer than you found it, for the next people. And that’s the way I feel about life. My kids are growing up with that.”
Moving back south was part of Crow reconnecting with her roots, a move in part spurred by her first illness.
“Getting diagnosed with breast cancer was such a game-changer. Up to that point I had just been … I don’t want to say on the run, but definitely constantly moving. I had never put roots down. And I grew up in such a small town where everybody was connected. Once I got breast cancer I felt like I’m not connected to anything.”
In early 2006, Crow had a lumpectomy, then a course of radiation therapy. She thinks that coming back home contributed, “hands down”, to her recovery. It put her in a better place, in every sense of the phrase.
“It was such a weird thing to go from my private life and my relationship falling apart, then getting diagnosed six days later. Then having paparazzi move in right outside my house [in LA]. I couldn’t leave my house – it was like being barricaded. Because everybody wanted a picture of me at my lowest point.”
They wanted the money shot of her looking bald and gaunt?
“Yeah, and devastated. I had a moment where I really started to lose faith in humankind, the fact that that’s what sells and that’s what we want to consume. So after that I just was like: I’m leaving this. I’m not gonna be a part of that any more. And I moved here. And knock on wood,”
she says, knocking on an antique coffee table:
“there’s no paparazzi in Nashville. At all.” Really? Not even thanks to Taylor Swift? She shakes her head. “Nicole Kidman lives here. And there’s no paparazzi.”
As for her meningioma, which was discovered in mid-2012, she says it’s a slow-growing and benign tumour. It hasn’t required treatment, although she has an MRI every six months. It’s “nothing to worry about”, she shrugs, but admits to a feeling of “why me? Again?” when she learnt of the truth of the odd pressure she’d been feeling in her head “like somebody pressing their thumb on the inside”.
“God, let me tell you – when I found that out, there was a moment there where I just thought, ‘Holy Christ!’ Plus, your brain – it’s your brain. That’s command central. I can live my whole life without my breasts and not think twice about it. But your brain – that just immediately sounded like a death sentence."
But,” she shrugs,
“it wound up being something that is actually not that unusual.”
Has she talked to her sons (Wyatt, almost seven, and Levi, almost four) about her illnesses? She shakes her head. Even Wyatt is too young.
“He doesn’t know about that. I mean, the idea of a breast, he doesn’t really conceptualise that. He recently asked me if I put a bathing suit on in the shower!” she laughs. “I’m like, ‘OK, we’re at that point now! No more showers with mommy!’”
They’re growing up fast. Crow admits she’s already thinking ahead to the teenage years, and how she’ll protect her boys.
“The images we see across the board are so sex-driven that it’s confusing for young girls and boys. And I think it’s confusing for men – men my age feel like they have to be with somebody whose skin is perfect in order to feel like they’re youthful. That’s probably an age-old thing.
“But I definitely think that the images of women and, particularly, teenagers are geared so much older. Teenagers look like they’re in their twenties.”
It’s not just the rutting Rihannas and twerking Mileys of this modern world that give her pause.
“Even Beyoncé, ”
“I was sitting with my eight-year-old niece, and she was watching the [Super Bowl] half-time – and I love Beyoncé, she’s amazing. I’ve thought of her as a really good role model. And when I watched the dancing I started thinking, that … ” She stutters and frowns. “My niece was watching it and trying to do the moves. And it’s like, you’re using your ... You know, your sexual parts as part of the dance to kind of like ... It’s just odd em ”
Crow slaps her thighs again.
“I guess it’s the same as when Elvis stepped in and started moving his hips. There’s no way to shield your kids from sex. But when it becomes such the norm, how do you tell your kids you’ve got plenty of time?”
One thing her children won’t have to worry about: the stability of their family unit. Crow has always been circumspect about the details but in the beautiful new track Waterproof Mascara (“’cause it won’t run like his daddy did”), Crow talks of a child asking: “All my friends have daddies, mommy, why don’t I?” Is that a song to pre-empt her sons’ questions?
“Yeah, my six-year-old said to me the other day, ‘mommy, when you get married …’ I was like, wow, it’s the first time he’s actually mentioned to me that it’s OK for me to get married,” is her smooth and obfuscatory answer.
Is she in a relationship?
“Umm, I’m not right now. But you know, I’m always open,” she beams. “But it’s interesting dating and having boys. ’Cause there’s a quick weed-out! It takes a lot to get to that second date! That said, whoever does step into our life is going to get two amazing boys with no baggage! There’s no dad, there’s no ex-husband. It’s just a clean-slate.”
Sheryl Crow may be single, but it doesn’t mean this smart and likeable woman isn’t on the lookout.
“It’s like my mom says: wear something nice to the grocery store,”
she says with a laugh,
“’cause you never know.”
Feels Like Home is released on January 27, through Warner Music
[LIVE PIX] Alive at the Bluebird - Nashville, TN - 8 Jan
Alive at the Bluebird concert series
The Bluebird Cafe
Nashville, Tennessee (USA)
8 January 2013 -
[INTERVIEW] M&M Music&Musicians - Issue NO30
WHERE THE HEART IS
Sheryl Crow—and her music—find a Home in the country
By Russell Hall
Call it a slight turn, not a giant leap. That’s how Sheryl Crow assesses her nimble move into mainstream country music. She’s quick to point out that even “All I Wanna Do”—the Grammy-winning megahit that vaulted her into the limelight 20 years ago—featured a country staple: pedal steel from beginning to end. “I don’t think it’s that big a switch,” she says. “I’ve been doing guitar pulls for years and writing conventional songs with guitar solos. Today’s country format is where you hear the kind of music I’ve always made.”
Crow’s country roots run deep. Growing up in Kennett, Mo.—a four-hour drive from her current home outside Nashville—she experienced the full gamut of rural Southern life. She was also blessed with parents who performed in swing orchestras and encouraged Crow to explore music at an early age. “The community was all farmland and church and school and a town square,” she recalls. “That’s the kind of life I wanted to give my own kids. Clearly I’m also a girl who loves to rock—I fell hard for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan—but my favorite rockers had close ties to country music.”
Crow may have loved small-town life, but she nurtured big ambitions. Graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in piano and voice, she worked as a music teacher for two years before heading to L.A., determined to make her mark as a recording artist. A lengthy period of peripheral work ensued—including a two-year stint as Michael Jackson’s backup singer. But in 1993 she broke through with Tuesday Night Music Club, her debut album. Industry awards—including the Grammy for Best New Artist—followed, and Crow became one of music’s leading singer-songwriters. In the past two decades, she’s scored nine Grammy wins and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
In 2006 a health scare prompted Crow to take stock. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent successful treatment and soon afterward adopted the first of her two sons. Another change came that year when she moved to Nashville. She now resides on a 50-acre horse farm on the outskirts of the city. “I was kind of a lost soul,” she says. “I realized that during 25 years of touring and making records, I had never put down roots anywhere. I felt it was time to reassess my life, to see what was missing.”
Crow’s new album, Feels Like Home, places her firmly at the center of the Nashville songwriting community. The spark for the record was kindled three years ago, when Crow joined Loretta Lynn and Miranda Lambert for a performance of Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” at the CMA Awards. Country vets like Brad Paisley and Vince Gill quickly set about convincing her that the country format was where she belonged. “There was a huge response after I sang with Loretta,” she says.
As with her previous two albums, Crow recorded the bulk of Feels Like Home in a barn-turned-studio on her farm. Struggling at first with the production, she turned to Gill for advice. He in turn put her in touch with Justin Niebank, a noted producer-engineer. Niebank’s co-production work proved integral to the project’s success. “I was a bit lost with the numbers charts,” Crow explains. “It wasn’t the way I was used to working. I told Vince what I know best is to go in with an engineer and talk about how we want things to sound and feel, and then go at that together. I give Justin total credit for leading the way. He even chose the musicians.”
High points include “Shotgun,” a brawny country rocker fueled by a twangy guitar riff; “We Oughta Be Drinkin’” a slinky ballad that would have fit snugly onto a Bobbie Gentry LP; and “Waterproof Mascara,” a nicely orchestrated anthem every unmarried mother can relate to. Most of the material was worked up in songwriting sessions with some of Nashville’s finest writers, including Paisley, Chris DuBois, Luke Laird and Natalie Hemby, among others. Crow’s longtime writing partner Jeff Trott co-penned two tunes as well.
“It’s been invigorating and satisfying to study what makes a country song work,” says Crow. “I’m still doing what I love, but I’m learning and stretching at the same time.”
Why a country album?
Many encouraged me, but the major character in the story is Brad Paisley. He really believed in me as a country artist. After I performed with Loretta, he came backstage and said, “Now, will you please make a country record? It’s a format you belong to.” I was nervous, because I felt I might be perceived as yet another pop artist trying to make that transition. But Brad offered great support, as did Chris DuBois.
What was their advice?
One thing Brad said was, “You’ve got to turn your vocals up, and make the songs more first person.” He pointed out that if “All I Wanna Do,” “If It Makes You Happy,” “Steve McQueen” or “Everyday Is a Winding Road” had come out today, they would have fit the country format. My songs were already story-oriented—the thing I had to do was to make them more succinct and instrumentally more in the country vein. It really wasn’t that big a departure.
How did you approach your vocals?
I hadn’t written songs with a big vocal range prior to this album. One of the things that’s always been discouraging is when people would come to my shows and say, “Wow, you’re such a better singer live than you are on your records!” Having a lot more range was great. It’s been fun to stretch out and really sing those big, soaring ballads. Luckily I’m sort of like my mom in that my voice has aged well, I think, and has become better than when I started.
Describe the songwriting process.
I wrote with perfect strangers, something totally new for me. I’m probably like most singer-songwriters in that songwriting is a personal process. Plus I’ve had such a great songwriting relationship with Jeff. To walk into a room with two other writers—which is typically the way it works in Nashville—was a real challenge. But I found I really enjoyed that process.
Was it different in other ways?
I’ve had the luxury in pop music of being able to leave some things kind of esoteric in my narrative songwriting, because it means something specific to me. But writing for country involves dropping some of that imagery and getting to the point. I think that’s typically what country music has encapsulated—telling a story in everyman terms. In pop music you can get away with a lot more. I’ve had lyrics I’m really proud of, but not everybody can relate to them. That’s something that will forever be ingrained in my songwriting head. Is this the best line I can put here? Is this the best way of saying what I want to say? That’s a big game-changer for me. It’s something I became more mindful of while doing this record.
Did you want to address the concerns of contemporary women?
I think I wound up looking back at how it was done in the 1960s and ’70s. I was conscious of writing an album that was about a current-day woman. There are a lot of young women out there in country radio, but you don’t hear too many middle-aged women singing about what it’s like to be a single mom, or those types of issues. There are all those artists we counted on, like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, who wrote those kinds of stories, but it’s become sort of a dead art form. I wanted to write those types of songs about what it’s like to be a working mom. Interestingly enough, I’ve had a great response from men. I’ve had men come up to me and say they love “Waterproof Mascara,” because they were raised by a single mother. I felt like there was a hole where all that stuff used to exist.
Do scheduled writing sessions feel less inspired?
It’s definitely different. But everything about my life is different now. I have two kids—3 and 6. The luxury of waking up and picking up a guitar and spending the morning with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, writing songs, is behind me. As much as I love and value doing that, being a mom—particularly a single mom—involves compromises. Inspiration is something that gets scheduled, but I’m OK with that. I don’t think it means my art form is weakened. I don’t know that getting up and writing alone at 4:30 in the morning makes for a better song. This album is as personal as anything I’ve done. Even though there are a lot of co-writes, there are stories that are so close to me it’s sometimes difficult to sing them.
Any surprises during the sessions?
It was great having Zac Brown come in and sing on “Homesick,” a song I wrote with Chris Stapleton. And I actually wrote “Stay at Home Mother” after the album was completed. I felt there was one thing missing, so Natalie Hemby and I spent an afternoon writing that song. But I think the big surprise for me was the way we recorded the album, with four or five musicians in the room. There was a feeling of egoless musicianship, a sense that when people play together in this town it’s because they have great respect for what the other person does.
Have you had to tailor the live show to accommodate the new material?
Not really. We usually play four or five of the new songs each night, and they’ve fit beautifully with the older material. “Shotgun” is practically the sister song to “Steve McQueen.” “Give It to Me” is practically the sister song to “If It Makes You Happy.” “Homecoming Queen” and “Strong Enough” are very similar as well. “Easy” sounds like “First Cut Is the Deepest.” Everything works great together.
Tell us about your studio.
I have a couple of API recording consoles, including a new 1608. I also have a Neve BCM 10. There’s an old Studer, but we don’t hook that up anymore. I have all the vintage gear I’ve always had, from Fairchilds to Universal Audio 1176 compressors—all old stuff I love. There’s also a roomful of guitars and basses, along with Hammonds and other keyboards—everything you can imagine. And it’s all located in a room above 10 horses.
What’s your go-to guitar for songwriting?
I’ve bought a lot of beautiful guitars but I always end up coming back to the 1964 Gibson Country Western. I call it the old moneymaker, because all the hits I’ve ever had were written on that guitar. I play an original model—always keep it close by. Gibson made a signature model as well, and I also play a Les Paul quite a bit.
Do you recall your first song?
It was for a contest for Missourians to write a song of pride about the state. My mom found the sheet music for it just the other day, but I’ve yet to sit and play it. I’m sure it’s quite hideous.
Know a hit when you hear it?
I never get that right. I’m always wrong when I tell people what I think the first single should be. “All I Wanna Do” barely made the first album. My brother kept saying, “That’s the biggest song on the record!” I was like, “No way.” I really struggled with whether or not I wanted it on the album, and of course it wound up being a big song.
You struggled for years and then success came fast. Were you prepared?
It wasn’t like it is now, suddenly you’re huge and the entire world knows who you are. We worked for a long time before that night I won the Grammys. Then I received the Grammys, we went to the parties—and the next day we played in Fresno. And then the day after that we played in San Francisco. I didn’t have time to sit back and think, “Wow, I’ve really made it. Now I can rest on my laurels.” It was a nice acknowledgement for years of work, but it didn’t change the way I felt about my job, about being a touring artist and a songwriter. And I still feel that way. It’s hard to internalize the accolades when really you’re doing something simply because you love it.
Is dealing with celebrity easier in Nashville than L.A.?
That’s something that’s also changed since I first became successful. Celebrity wasn’t as intrusive as it is today. I’ll probably always be uncomfortable with that aspect of what I do, so much so that living in Nashville has been a real blessing. I have my boys here, and they don’t get their pictures taken whenever they go to school or when we get off an airplane. There are no paparazzi. It’s definitely the way I choose to live. I don’t enjoy the celebrity aspect of what I do.
How far into the future do you look?
I try to at least get to the end of the day. (laughs) I know I’m picking up my kid in three hours, and that I’m going back on the road this weekend. It’s encouraging to think that I’ve been doing this for 25 years—and yet I’m still excited about it. I’m excited about songwriting, excited about what’s ahead, and I’m still learning. But the days of looking out five years into the future are definitely behind me. M
Sheryl will visit the UK later this month to promote Feels Like Home, with appearances scheduled on the following shows:
The Graham Norton Show January 31
Sunday Brunch February 2
BBC Breakfast February 3
Feels Like Home will be released in the UK on January 27 -
[NEWS] Sheryl to perform tonight at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville
Sheryl, Amy Grant, Marshall Altman and Dylan Altman, will sing tonight at the Nashville's famous venue as part of the Alive at the Bluebird series, which benefits Alive Hospice, the first organization of its kind in Tennessee. The 21st edition of the fundraiser is happening through Feb. 1, every Tuesday through Saturday during the Bluebird's late show.
More than 100 artists and singer-songwriters will perform at the Bluebird in January, and it’s all for a worthwhile cause.
The Alive concert series has raised hundreds of thousands dollars for Alive Hospice in the past 22 years, including money from sponsors and fans.