We all have those friends we connect with musically. Those people whose taste mirror your own interests. I’m fortunate to have several of those people in my life. My buddy Julie is one of those. I know if she likes a band or musician that I probably will too. We’re also constantly bouncing our own new songs/recordings off of each other for feedback. Back in 2009, my friend Julie and her friend, Clo, were invited by Sharon Van Etten to one of her shows. Immediately after the show, I got a message telling me to order “Because I Was In Love”. I did, of course. Julie’s always right about thsoe things. The package came from Brooklyn. Sharon had written a thank you note on the outside of the mailer. She also wrote a second thank you note saying “this means so much, thank you” inside with the CD. It was very sincere and endearing. I connected with her songs and voice at first listen and am thrilled that she has such wide recognition now.
I’ve heard that as more people know about you, you lose yourself because each of those people take a piece of you. But, everything I hear and read tells me that Sharon remains the same genuine, sincere person she’s always been. That’s an amazing thing in this social media driven music world we live in. We need more Sharon Van Ettens in music and life.
BIO: Born and raised in NJ. Moved to TN. Her heart was broken. She moved back home where her family nursed her back to health. She started writing songs as therapy and fell in love with a boy in New York and the rest is history.
OSW: What is your songwriting/composing process?
Sharon Van Etten: I write stream of consciousness when I am going through a hard time as therapy. I hit record as I play guitar and work on a melody and listen back and try to understand what it is I am trying to say, what I am feeling, and then I try to shape those words into something sensical.
OSW: Have you become comfortable with writing on the road, or is that something you still do at home?
Sharon Van Etten: It’s hard for me to write on the road because you never have a moment alone. Downtime is in a van, backstage, or before bed. And we usually share rooms… so it’s hard to get away. But sometimes I put headphones on and work on electronic music on garageband as exercise. It’s always good to write, just to write.
OSW: What are you most proud of?
Sharon Van Etten: Not giving up yet. it’s rough out there. I love my band. I am proud of my band and the friendships we’ve created.
OSW: Do lyrics come quickly or do you revise them over a period of time?
Sharon Van Etten: I revise. They’re the hardest for me.
OSW: You are someone that promotes and supports their friends, and is in turn supported strongly by your friends. It’s really important for musicians to “hold each other up” isn’t it?
Sharon Van Etten: With anything. It’s important to be supportive of those you believe in. It’s easy to get disheartened. If you don’t support the kind of music you believe in it won’t be around for very long – for you or for anyone else.
OSW: What is your favorite songwriting lyric?
Sharon Van Etten: ever? maybe jeff buckley ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’, “she’s a tear that hangs inside my soul forever.” god, I hope I can write something like that some day.
OSW: What advice would you give to young songwriters/composers?
Sharon Van Etten: Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep writing.
OSW: If you could go back and be part of any album session what would it be?
Sharon Van Etten: That’s a tough one. Maybe Neil Young ‘Harvest’.
OSW: If you could sit down and talk about songwriting with anyone, who would it be and why?
Sharon Van Etten: Bob Dylan… but he probably would be mean to me…
To view Sharon Van Etten’s selected playlist and other bonus items, please go to; http://www.ourscattereddreams.com/songwriting-blog.html
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Thank YOU, it’s been a great week.