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Sharon Van Etten

Photo of Sharon Van Ettencourtesy of the artist

How would you describe your music?

intimate folk

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

So far i have been solo, mostly. I write and record all of my own songs and spin ideas off one or two people who help me record later.

Describe your gear.

Guitar (acoustic or electric), amp, mic (for vocals), mic (for amp sometimes)

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

In some ways, I feel responsible for being a positive role model. I don't feel that many of the male musicians I know are very personal in their writing - which isn't a bad thing... I make it a point to be confessional in my lyrics, and not afraid to show my emotions. One of my messages is that it's ok to be sad - and that positive things can come from that - and I haven't found may male singer/songwriters that have conveyed they feel the same, to me.

Related Themes: Old School vs. New School

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I think there are a lot of singer/songwriters that carry the torch of guitar picking styles and political messages, as well as taking old folk and putting it into a "now" context (i.e. Meg Baird of Espers solo project). There is still a lot of traditional folk music, but I think that new female singer/songwriters are crossing new territory, with pedals and layering and vocals - really pushing themselves to stretch what folk music means now.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

Be honest, always be nice to everyone, if you believe in what you do and what you say what you write, you will never be disappointed with a show or a release or your decisions. And ALWAYS work with people you trust and know and would consider a friend. And NEVER do anything because you think the listener would like it - you should do it because YOU like it.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

For it's simplicity. I like being able to sing complicated melodies and lyrics and rhythms over the strums. Makes it more interesting to me... a lot more room for harmonies when recording and performing live...

Related Themes: The First Time