Newport Folk Festival 2012: Interview with Sharon Van Etten

Girl crush alert! I’m smitten with Sharon Van Etten, particularly after getting the chance to speak with her at Newport Folk Festival. Here’s the shortlist as to why:

  • She was really sweet and funny. She also, in the sweetest and funniest way possible, told some wasted guys to leave when they were interrupting her set at Newport Blues Café on Saturday night. Preach, girl.
  • Her set at Newport Blues Café was a master class in musical control. I really hope Sharon continues to make it big, and someday sells out huge venues, but damn, does her sound fit perfectly in a dirty, dark bar.
  • She remains unfazed by her success.  In fact, Van Etten says, “I’m freaked out. It’s surreal. But now I have a sense of responsibility to be a positive role model. I take things more seriously now.” Everybody all together now… Awwww!
  • Despite wanting to be a positive influence on listeners, she doesn’t hesitate to write a big, fat curse word into her song lyrics (as needed). “I have one or two songs with bad words… but sometimes, you just have to say ‘shit.’”
  • She’s close friends with Kyp Malone, a member of TV on the Radio who helped Sharon rise to fame. While the match may be surprising, Van Etten says, “he encourages me to read, keep up with politics, and just be a good person.”
  • While  her 2012 album Tramp was influenced by factors like social anxiety, living a nomadic lifestyle, and crappy relationships, Sharon’s in a great place now.  She says, “It’s the first time I’ve had a home, and I’m in a solid relationship. I feel really comfortable with my band. I want to focus on writing in New York, so [my next record] will be a development from the last.”
  • And lastly, I love Sharon for her voice. Her raw tone makes a perfect match to her dangerously honest writing.  I’m pretty sure listening to her music is saving me hundreds of dollars in therapist bills.
To fall in love with Sharon Van Etten yourself, check out NPR where you can stream the recording of her concert at this year’s Newport Folk Festival.
Posted on by Caroline in Newport Folk Festival Recap

Add a Comment