Sharon Van Etten

By Rathan Paul Harshavardan

Ahead of her first live tour in March in NZ, Libel caught up with the singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten, the genius behind one of 2014's critically acclaimed musical releases, 'Are We There Yet'. Supporting the fantastically crafted personal album, Sharon will be performing a live set in March bringing her unique concoction of folk rock/music backed by electronics, guitars and harmonies all the way from Brooklyn, NY. In this interview, Sharon talks about her life in the music industry and what is in store for the future.

What do you have in store for us at your first set in NZ?

will be doing a stripped down set with my band mate Heather Woods Broderick. Playing old and new songs.

Folksy, yet tinged with rock. How do you walk that fine line between polarising genres?

don't know. I guess I tend to naturally write in mid tempo to a waltz so it's hard really "go for it" when you're swaying.

Hearts break and life moves on, but 'Are We There Yet' is how some of us feel in real life. What did you want to accomplish with this successful album?

didn't realise I was writing it. I just recorded demos while on tour and home in between the road and it wasn't until I had some hindsight that I realised I was documenting my life and the struggles of being in a relationship and having a career.

Sad is happy for women in music today. Does your music make sad happy?

write as a form of therapy, so my writing always makes me feel better. It's cathartic.

Who is stuck on repeat on your playlist?

J Harvey, Weyes Blood, Torres, Lower Dens, Leon Bridges, Heather Woods Broderick, The Ink Spots...

'Emo' is what your music has been called in the past. Do you still see it that way?

think most music should evoke emotion. All music I connect with is emo then.

Your recent performance on Ellen showed a harmony rarely seen on live TV. How do you bring that in a performance?

have an amazingly talented band and we have been working our asses off - from in the studio to on the road and we are hitting our stride.


NYC has inspired some of the best work we've heard. How does the Big Apple feature in or influence your work?

feel very lucky to be able to live and thrive in New York. But you have to work hard to survive here. As you know, it's a very expensive place... and I am constantly surrounded by productive and motivated people and it inspires me to keep busy and trying new things and challenging myself. I couldn't find that in the country.

You're playing the Governor's Ball Festival later this year in NYC. We know Drake, Björk, Florence+The Machines, the Black Keys, the Decemberists, and fellow New Yorker Lana Del Rey are sharing the stage with you in June. Who are you keen to check out?

am really excited to see Bjork. I've been listening to her music since I've been a teenager and I would love to finally see her live.

Do you have any major collaborations, music videos or festivals planned for later this year?

just worked with Ryan Miller on a song for the new Tig Nataro docmentary I am really excited about. I am also working on a 7" and possible EP later this year. Going over artwork and mixes now. I will be headed to Mexico, paying festivals around the US in May and June and headed to South America for my first tour there in June. Lots of stuff happening...

Sharon Van Etten NZ Tour

Thursday March 12th:  Kings Arms, Auckland
Friday March 13th:  Bodega, Wellington   
Saturday March 14th:  Wunderbar, Lyttleton
Sunday March 15th:  Chicks Hotel, Dunedin

Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster and Real Groovy Auckland

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