With a milestone birthday year, a self-titled Showtime documentary, an accompanying album (both debut May 6) and an upcoming tour, Sheryl Crow is ready to return to some “normalcy” this summer—which also involves hitting up some local sightseeing spots with her two sons, Wyatt and Levi, who will join her on the road.
“We’re finally getting ready to have a normal summer where we go out and tour,” the 60-year-old explains with excitement. “That word ‘normal’ is constantly redefining itself for me, but being out on the road, being on a tour bus, playing gigs, taking my kids to museums and water parks, and waking up in different cities—that is what normal is for us.”
While homework might not be on out-of-school-months itinerary, Crow admits she tries to keep things as scheduled as possible—although she does have a soft spot when it comes to letting the boys sleep in. “There can be some late nights, but we’re planning on doing something in every town that that town is known for—eating local, seeing the sights. I’m really looking forward to getting back to that and getting back out in front of people and having that connection again.”
Congratulations on the documentary. What do you think will surprise viewers the most?
“I hope people realize that, behind 34 years of playing music and touring, there’s a real person behind all of it. That there’s a wealth of stories there that hopefully people will relate to, particularly women who are in entertainment. I’m sure that some of the experiences that I’ve had will resonate with some of those women. Hopefully, that’s what they’ll come away with is feeling like they’re not alone and that amazing things can happen and that nothing wonderful and great is without its challenges.”
I’m sure it was emotional to make. Was there anything particularly challenging for you when you were in the process of pulling everything together?
“Remembering and retelling and revisiting all these stories…there were points that were very emotional and very exhausting. There are a lot of stories in this documentary that I’ve never told anyone. One of the greatest compliments I got about the film was from a writer who was interviewing me—he opened our conversation by saying, ‘Everything that I thought I knew about you, was completely thrown out the window after watching these 90 minutes.’ That made me feel good. It’s nice to finally say, ‘Look, there’s more to this whole thing than two songs. There’s more here than All I Wanna Do and Soak Up the Sun.”
There’s more to this whole thing than two songs.
Part of the film’s tagline says it’s about “real high highs and real low lows.” Do you think the conversation on mental health is changing for the better?
“I do. For the longest time, ‘the lows’ have been attached with a stigma. And, let’s face it, the past couple of years have been really demanding on everyone. We’ve all collectively gone through a very challenging time, and I’d like to think people are finally willing to discuss how depressing and how hard life can be sometimes and ready to discuss how to navigate through life when it isn’t all high highs. But I’m especially happy with how far we’ve come where our kids are concerned. We’re starting to treat ‘the lows’ for what they are, which is not something that is abnormal. It’s part of the way we’re made.”
And then there are the “isms”….
“All the isms! Sexism, ageism, all of it. I think the conversation is finally being addressed where sexism and even sexual harassment are concerned. The Me Too Movement has shed light on some of the injustice that has existed for far too long. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet; I don’t even know what ‘there’ would look like because, whenever men and women work together and there’s a power struggle, you’re going to see inequality and injustices happen.
The fact now, though, that we are giving women an opportunity to speak up about their experiences without downgrading them or degrading the woman—at least we’ve come that far.
As far as ageism is concerned, I think we’re still in the middle of it. We’re having the conversation, but it’s going to take a long time before people change their mind about what beauty is and how important older people are in conjunction with all of us learning and understanding the beauty of getting older and what comes with that.
Unfortunately, for artists, for people in the entertainment business, so much of it is based on how you look and obtaining perfection that there’s a certain point at which you’re put out to past. We have to change that way of thinking.”
I hope people realize that there’s a real person behind all this.
Your first album came out when you were 30. Is there any advice you’d give to your younger self?
“Yes! The age of 30—and I need to use this word carefully—but it’s a pretty ‘mature’ age for a young artist. Most of the artists who I was on the radio with at the time…they were all quite a bit younger. I had already lived a whole life before anyone knew who I was. I had been a schoolteacher and I had gone on tour with different recording artists. I basically had a whole other career before all of this.
I don’t know. I don’t really have any advice. I think the only advice I would give anyone is to be into the ‘art’ part of it. Try not to get distracted with the branding—which is what we’ve gotten into because I think so much of it seems to be confusing for us. We put out something and then we wait to see how many people like it and a lot of the times, we even put ourselves out there and we’re hoping for likes, and we’re hoping for people to follow us.
What you want to be promoting is your art and what you want to be into is the process. I don’t know that it’s like that anymore, but that is my advice is to be to bury yourself or to invest yourself in the artistic part of it and let that state. We’re at a moment in our humanity where we need voices and we need artists to give voice to what we’re all experiencing.
Anyone can be beautiful in a snapshot, particularly with filters, but words and melodies and music are what really move the molecules and what galvanizes us. It’s what makes us all feel like we’re experiencing something—and that we’re not alone in our experiences.”
I think it’s safe to say a lot of people associate their own experiences with your music. What are you most excited to share with fans next?
“Besides being on tour this summer, I’m really excited about the Rolling Stones’ Live With Me cover that’s on the album; I don’t know if people would expect me to do that, but there’s such a great story behind it: When I was first starting to have success at radio with the song All I Wanna Do, I got a call from Mick Jagger in the middle of the night asking, ‘Hey, do you want to come sing with us in Miami, Florida on Thanksgiving Day?’
I have a wealth of stories, and I hope people can relate to them.
They flew me there and the first song I ever sang with the Rolling Stones was Live With Me. We recorded it, we had it on the record, and it’s just been put out. It’s number-one on Rock Radio, which I’m just completely stoked about. I think that’ll be a surprise for people. There’s also two new songs on the album, one of which I wrote for my kids, and it’s my favorite song I’ve ever written. It’s called Forever. I hope people enjoy it. I hope they like the new material and I hope they found some inspiration in my story—in the music, the film, all of it. I think it’s a good story.”
“First and foremost, I drink a ton of water and I meditate. Those are two main things that help me to feel awake, sharp and less reactive.”
“I just went through 30 days of doing shakes in the morning with kale and protein powder and ginger, all kinds of healthy stuff, and it definitely changed my sleep. It changed my energy levels and so I’m getting ready to get back to doing that. I love waking up and starting the day with a healthy smoothie.”
“As far as skin care goes, I’m into the whole iS Clinical line right now; I really love it and I think it’s improved my skin. It’s super easy and it makes my skin feel healthy. I don’t know how it looks, but it feels healthy.”
“I’ve always been a minimalist about what I do as far as what I apply to my face; I’ve relied on being joyful and drinking a lot of water and keeping my face clean and all those simple things, but I do use La Mer when my face is dry and then Estée Lauder and Neutrogena have always been a go-to.”
“For exercise, I either jog or I row on the rowing machine. I like to be outside and I like to play sports. My boys are into sports, so we’re always going and doing and doing and going; I think that definitely helps keep me fit as well.”
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