If it makes her happy

7 min read


Her distinctive blend of folk, rock and pop has seen Sheryl Crow become one of the world’s most enduring musical talents. With a new album on the horizon, she tells Georgia Green how she’s found joy in doing things her way

When Sheryl Crow last spoke to Red, she defiantly announced that her 11th studio album, Threads, would be her last. It was her response, she explained, to the changing way people listen to music, preferring to stream singles instead of immersing themselves in entire albums. And yet here we are, almost five years on, talking over Zoom because she’s about to release another album, Evolution. So, what changed?

‘I still think it’s a waste of time and money!’ she laughs in her comforting-as-a-blanket Missouri twang. Though dressed low-key in a knitted blue cardigan and jeans, the guitar-lined wall of the home studio she’s speaking to me from gives away her rock-star status. ‘People don’t listen to records as a full body of work, but I had all these songs that felt very timely,’ she says. ‘So, I thought, “Okay, I’m not going to make a conventional album, thinking about the beginning, middle and end.” Instead, it’s a compilation of new songs.’

Musically, the album is slicker than anything Crow has done before (although Do It Again has echoes of her early albums), thanks to producer Mike Elizondo, who, she says, brought a ‘cinematography’ to it. But fans will no doubt be pleased that Crow hasn’t lost her proclivity to get political. The title track is ‘inspired by the advent of AI and what it’s going to mean for artists and for everybody. It feels like we’re entering dangerous territory.’ Meanwhile, Broken Record was written from ‘a place of desperate anger over a school shooting that happened up the road, and people not seeing the chaos we’re leaving our kids. The place I go with anger – and with love, hope and everything else – is music. I don’t know how to fix what’s happening, but this album was a place where I could write about it.’

In today’s numbers-driven music industry, it’s seemingly risky to put out an unconventional album, but if anyone is best placed to do it, it’s 62-year-old Crow. ‘For me, these were songs I needed to write. Whatever anybody thinks of them… well, I just stay out of that. I write, record and then I let go of it.’ She admits that she doesn’t know how any of her songs are doing streaming-wise. ‘To go and see how many times a song has been streamed is completely antithetical to making art,’ she says.

‘What’s different for me is being older and still feeling vital and like I have something to say, and knowing that the possibility of it getting any traction is slim to nil – specifically because of my age. But I feel like I have a lot more to say, and I know how to say it better now. So I truly believe my best work is in front of

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