SHERYL CROW (Part 2 of 2) Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
November 18, 2006
While promoting the war drama Home of the Brave (starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson), for which she contributed the Grammy-nominated song "Try Not To Remember," Sheryl Crow was nice enough to also talk about other various topics, including her upcoming album and her personal challenges of the past year.
Home of the Brave is now playing in theaters everywhere.
MEDIA: How's your new album coming along?
SHERYL: My album is coming good. I mean, it's coming along. I'm not going to say it's good. [laughs] It's coming along. This is the last thing that I'm doing, and then for the next three months, I'm going deep, deep, deep underground. And I'm really looking forward to it, to really just hunkering down.
Is the album country or pop?
You know, rap seems to be the only thing getting played on radio, and I really want to make some money... [laughs] No, I mean, I'm trying to make a really stripped down, old-style country record. I mean, "If It Makes You Happy," to me, is a country song. So somewhere in that world.
Maybe you could do a rap collaboration with "Fiddy"...
You mean with Curtis Jackson? I didn't even know his name was Curtis Jackson, but I love 50 Cent, and I think he's brilliant in the film. But it's funny, it was like, "I kind of didn't know you had a name." I mean, I thought it was 50... [pauses] ...Cent. "Hi, Mr. Cent!" But he's great in the movie. Really just wonderful on film to watch.
You've been through a lot of emotional times in the past year. Do you reflect on those experiences on the upcoming album?
You know, your life always informs your art. For me...I can't speak for every artist, but artists who are true will always draw from their experiences. But I have a wealth of experiences. Not only has it been a very challenging year, and not only have I learned a lot about myself...All the relationships I've been through, they always show up on the records, you know? It won't be just Lance. There are other people--people well-known, people not well-known--that are the characters in the story of my life.
How's your health?
My health is great. I got my six-month about...It's probably been about five weeks ago, and knock on wood, [knocks on the table] I'm going strong and feel good, and I'm probably the healthiest I've been in a long time.
Would you say you were always shooting for "mega-superstardom"?
You know, I have trouble with that whole mega-superstar thing, anyway. I really like my work, I really like what I do, I like what I get to do, and I'm a workhorse. So to me, playing music is my line of work. And while it seems like a great job--and for me, most nights, it is a good job--it's still work, and I take it seriously like work. So I've never really approached it like, "What can I do to get to be bigger and bigger, and how do I get on radio?" I think I've been really tuned in to the movements, to what's going where, and I've been really lucky that radio has embraced my voice. And I also want to keep growing as a musician. I don't want to keep doing the same things, I don't want to become boring, I don't want to bore myself. So I keep doing it. And that's what is compelling about it to me, is the idea that I haven't written my best stuff yet.
Who do you consider your musical influences?
Well, I grew up listening to everything from Ella Fitzgerald to James Taylor to the Rolling Stones. My parents had every record ever known to man. They were musicians, and I was really exposed to everything from classical to jazz to blues to rock and roll to country. And when I got to be a teenager, everything on the radio was what we called "big rock," like Foreigner, Kansas, Boston. All that stuff that I just...[gags] hated. [laughs] I mean, now I appreciate it because there's unbelievable musicianship in it. And you don't hear that kind of musicianship anymore. People can't play. So I gravitated to country and blues during those years. And so I would say my big influences are probably the Rolling Stones, and hopefully Bob Dylan. And I listened to The Band a lot, and I loved southern rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd. [shrugs] Those are my influence. For better or for worse. [laughs]
And what's been influencing you recently?
You know, I've really gravitated to listening to the old country stuff. Like I listen to Carter Family and a lot of really old stuff. And I'm enjoying that. And I listen to a lot of new stuff. I mean, I listen to the Fray's and Beck's new record, and all kinds of new stuff. There's a lot of really good stuff out there. It's not getting played on radio, but there's a lot of really cool stuff. In fact, we had this band on the road with us this summer called Marjorie Fair, who I just loved. Real strong melodies. But just when I'm sitting around, I think because I'm thinking about making a country record, I'm much more in tune with listening to old country, and rhythm and blues, Van Morrison, and even Motown and stuff like that.
Which is easier for you: writing or performing?
Performing's easy. I mean, for me, it's my second skin and I love it, and I have the most wonderful fans, and they really come out. They totally show up on every level. Writing, it's lonely. It's lonely and you have to face yourself. And it's hard work, you know? It's terrifying. And every time I sit down and write a song, I have the feeling of, "Oh my God, I suck. Am I ever going to write a song that's good?" You go through all that. And you have the voices that tell you, "That is the dumbest lyric I've ever written." But you press through. For me, the goal is knowing that I'm going to wind up with something, and it might be good.
What's your favorite place to tour?
Hey, you know, I love touring in America. I do. I love this country and I'm lucky because I've got to see a lot of it. A lot of times, people don't know how other people live, and I get to see it all, and it's great. And I love touring in Europe. It's just more difficult for a lot of reasons. The buses are much more problematic, the roads are more difficult, everybody smokes in the clubs and in the theaters. So you kind of feel gross and stinky all the time. [laughs] But, you know, in general, I like touring. It's fun and it's satisfying.
Do you have a favorite song of your own?
Oh, wow...Ummm...God, that's...I guess I don't, really. I mean, I think right now, at this moment in time, I would say "Wildflower" is probably what encapsulates my life at this moment. But favorite songs...I have songs I like to play, and then other songs...The only song I'll listen to when it comes on the radio is "My Favorite Mistake," and everything else I have to, like, go somewhere else. [laughs] And I don't know why that is. I guess it's just...I don't know. I can't even tell you.
Ever sing along to your own songs?
Like Fraggle Rock kind of thing? [laughs] Not really. No. I mean, sometimes I'll sing to that one. I don't know why that song is just one that doesn't irritate me, but the rest of them are like the annoying kid that's [bugging me], and I'm like [sighs] "Okay, okay, okay..."
Thanks for your time.
[jokingly, in a concert finale sort of way] All right, thanks for coming!