Sheryl Crow, an American musician, singer, songwriter and actress chats with Kevin Cooper about the 25th Anniversary of her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, meeting Prince Charles, her latest album Be Myself and her forthcoming All The Greatest Hits Live Tour.

Sheryl Crow is an American musician, singer, songwriter and actress. Her music incorporates elements of pop, rock, country and blues. She has released ten studio albums, four compilations, a live album, and has contributed to a number of film soundtracks. Her songs include All I Wanna Do and If It Makes You Happy. She has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Crow has garnered nine Grammy Awards (out of 32 nominations) from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her own work, Crow has performed with the Dixie Chicks, The Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson, Steve Earle, Prince, Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, Willie Nelson, to name but a few.

As an actress, Crow has appeared on various television shows including 30 Rock, Cop Rock, GCB, Cougar Town, Jon Stewart as well as One Tree Hill.

Her ninth studio album, Be Myself, was released on April 21st 2017. It was co-produced by her, Jeff Trott and Tchad Blake, and is the first time the latter has appeared on one of Crow’s studio albums since The Globe Sessions in 1998. Also currently in production is an album of duets, which is set to feature contributions from Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Kris Kristofferson, as well as Keith Richards, who will duet on a Rolling Stones cover. Also set to appear is a re-worked version of Redemption Day, a song from Crow’s 1996 self-titled record. This will feature vocals from Johnny Cash taken from his own cover of the song, which was released posthumously on his 2010 album American VI: Ain’t No Grave.

Whilst getting ready to visit the UK to perform at the Isle Of Wight Festival and three other UK dates, Sheryl Crow took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.

Hi Sheryl how are you?

I’m good thanks Kevin how are you?

I’m very well thank you and before we go on let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

Absolutely, it’s my pleasure.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

I have to say that life is very good. The schools here in the USA are about to break for the summer so you could say that I am winding down. I am really looking forward to getting out there and playing a bunch of festivals so yes, everything is great. I can’t really complain.

We are going to talk about your forthcoming tour but before that, if I may, can we speak about your lastest album release Be Myself?

Yes please, absolutely.

You released your last studio album Be Myself on 21st April 2017 and I have to tell you that I absolutely love it.

Oh thank you, I’m so glad that you like it. We had a great time making that album.

Were you happy with it?

Yes I was. I feel that the album was a fully formed constant stream of thought and it covers everything that was going on at that time. And I have to say that the songs on Be Myself are an absolute blast to play.

The fans here absolutely loved the album and a lot were saying that it was your best work to date. Would you agree with that?

Well what can I say, I am so glad to hear that. It’s hard for me to talk about my work as it is like talking about your kids, and yes, my kids are beautiful (laughter). It is a really solid record. However, it is hard to separate the experience from the actual album; it really was such a fun record to make and it is such a fun record to go out and play. Thinking about it I would have to say that it is in my top three, that’s for sure.

I have currently got two go to tracks on the album. The first is the title track Be Myself and the other is Strangers Again. I think that they are both fantastic.

Thank you, that is so very nice to hear. Be Myself was just one of those songs that I wrote really quickly; in fact it only took me like ten or fifteen minutes to write that song. I personally find it frightening that there is such an alarming amount of technology in all of our lives and that song is about us all being distracted and constantly looking to others for approval through Social Media and stuff. So yes, it is most definitely a song that was inspired by real life.

I have always thought that it is such a strange thing to be in a relationship for so long, you have a whole life with someone, and then when you get divorced it’s just like you go back to not knowing that person anymore. That to me is a really strange idea. Having had relationships that were deep and meaningful to me, and now to not even know those people anymore is just, I guess, what we all experience at some point in our life. And that is really what Strangers Again is all about. It is about really revealing yourself to someone and then suddenly having that part of your life chopped off.

Now I have to tell you that you have made me feel really old today.

(Laughter) really, why?

Your debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

Isn’t that crazy (laughter). How can it be, you and I are still so young (laughter).

Can you believe that those twenty-five years have gone by so fast?

In a word no, I can’t believe that at all. My boys are getting ready to have birthdays and I can’t believe that I have an eleven year old son and an eight year old son (laughter). I can’t believe that I recorded the record twenty-five years ago now and I really can’t believe that I have been out on the road now for thirty-years. That can be scary sometimes but at this moment in time I feel so much gratitude for being able to still be doing it. I am really enjoying it; I still love it, spending my time with people who I love, enjoy and admire. I find that as I get older I am becoming more sentimental about these things.

It must have excited you because the album sold in excess of seven million copies in the USA alone.

It’s amazing that I had the good fortune to make the album when people still bought records. I fear nowadays that no one will ever know what that is like again simply because I don’t think that people ever go back. If you want to put a record out and want to know how many people have it in their cars or in their home stereos that is such an intangible thing and so you will really never know the answer to that question. Music now comes out via subscription on media such as Spotify or Apple Music and you really don’t know if anyone is listening to it, if they even have it, if they even know that it is out so it is a whole different think.

As far as you know, will the record company be putting out a special edition of the album to celebrate its 25th Anniversary?

I believe that the record company put out a special edition for the albums 20th Anniversary. They put some extra tracks on it and so I don’t think that they will be doing anything for the 25th Anniversary.

You should make them put out a 25th Anniversary Edition (laughter).

(Hysterical laughter) I think that I am going to make them wait until it is fifty years old (laughter).

You have briefly mentioned Spotify. What are your views because I personally think that it is slowly but surely killing off the music industry.

Well my views about all of it is that the toothpaste is already out of the tube and there is very little that you can do now so all that you can do is stop it or legislate it. Unfortunately it is always the artists that take the hit. It is one of the reasons now that we have the cockamamie 360 deals where young artists sign with a record label, and the record label takes half of their publishing and half of their merchandise sales, because that is the only way that they can make any money and it really is the artists that suffer. The reality of it is that it is a mentality and people don’t feel that they need to pay for music and I understand that, they have grown up with it, so now it is impossible to try to give meaning to an intrinsic feeling if you didn’t grow up with it.

It was the highlight of your week wasn’t it. You would spend all week deciding what records you were going to buy, and then on Saturday you would go down to the record store and buy exactly what you wanted.

Yes you would but sadly, that experience is over. As for us as older people you can remember that feeling and just how exciting it was especially if you were the first person to get that particular record. All of your friends would come over and share in that experience. However, it is simply not like that anymore. The experience that young people have with music nowadays is entirely different. Who knows, I personally feel that someday someone will have a better idea of just what music means and perhaps they will look back just like you and I are able to look back and see just how much this all meant to us.

Anyway enough doom and gloom. Coming right up to date you are about to embark on your All The Greatest Hits Live Tour here in the UK. Are you looking forward to that?

Yes I am I really am. I have a great band who I have now been playing with for the past five years and they are all people who I both love and admire. They are totally kick ass and we have all really enjoyed being out on the road playing with each other. All of us have this sense of ‘aren’t we the lucky ones’ that we are out doing what we love the most; we are out there playing music, loving and enjoying it. It is now much more fun than it ever has been.

Well I feel that you are short-changing us here in the UK because you are only playing three dates (laughter).

Yes we are, that is very true (laughter). Being serious for a moment I have to tell you that it is getting harder and harder to get overseas now because you simply cannot make the money back, and you wind up just paying for it. That’s fine but the fact that we had an offer to play The Isle Of Wight Festival kind of gave us permission to get ourselves over there. I think that this time we will break even which is great. But for us it is all about playing so we will come over and play for our UK fans as we have such a long history with the UK. We have always enjoyed such a wonderful relationship with our fans over there and we are happy that we will be able to come over and play the three or four dates.

As it is a greatest hits tour, has it been a difficult decision for you to decide what to play and what not to play?

(Laughter) no not at all, we play all of them and we play an eight hour set (laughter). For me, it is nice to be able to have a choice. I have to tell you that we do play a lot longer than we used to do. Strangely, as I get older I play longer (laughter). Part of it is down to that energy, gratitude and the joy of playing so we like to play as much as we can. We don’t want to kill our audiences but we play on average two and a half hours. We cover a lot. We play some of the newer things that we know the audiences want to hear, plus a lot of the older more familiar songs as well.

You have mentioned The Isle Of Wight Festival; which do you prefer playing, the larger outdoor gigs or the smaller, more intimate gigs?

I think that being able to do all of it makes none of it get old and tired. We love playing the big gigs because we can reach so many more people that way but, at the same time, it is also fun to be much more intimate with them. You can talk a bit more and you can have a little more intimacy so I really can’t say that I like one over the other one.

The tour gets to Nottingham on 22nd June when you will be playing at The Royal Concert Hall, just what can we expect?

That’s easy, you can expect a rocking good time (laughter). It will be fun, I mean like I said the set is unbelievable, it is great music, and we just really enjoy playing so it really is a lot of fun.

Do you enjoy your time spent here in the UK?

Oh yes, I really do. I have got a lot of friends over there in the UK together with some longstanding fans. I love the atmosphere over there and my kids are excited about coming over with me. So yes, we are all really looking forward to it.

If I had to push you for just one, what would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

Oh my god where did that come from, that really is so hard. Thinking about it, I would have to say that one of the highlights for me has to be being asked to record Tomorrow Never Dies for the James Bond movie of the same name. After that I was invited over to London for the premier of the movie and whilst I was there I met Prince Charles. Over the years I have had so many great experiences but that would most definitely be up there in the top ten.

Have you ever gotten out of bed and thought to yourself ‘I don’t really want to do this anymore’?

Yes I have, in fact I have had a couple of days like that (laughter). I was so disillusioned with the whole music industry, and about how I was continuing to make what I thought were good records but over here in the USA radio stations no longer play older artists like myself. At that point I reminded myself just how lucky I was to be doing this and that I really don’t have a choice. There are so many things that I want to really do but I don’t get bogged down too much. I know that I could still have a pretty good life if I never did this again. I have great children, I have wonderful friends, a great family, so me doing this is kind of the icing on the cake. For me to be able to go and do it, knowing that my life doesn’t depend upon it, and that it is just something that I love to do, really is a nice place for me and my family to be.

What was the first record that you bought?

Oh wow, well the first record that I ever owned was ABC by The Jackson Five which is kind of ironic because I wound up doing one of my first big gigs touring with Michael (laughter). However, the first record that I bought with my own money was a 45 of Walk This Way by Aerosmith.

Who did you first see performing live?

I saw Peter Frampton when I was thirteen years old.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

Oh my gosh, I actually got to sing Dancing With Your Shadow with Burt Bacharach who wrote the song and that made me feel very emotional. To be able to hear him play it, and for me to be able to sing it with him was just a dream come true for me.

On that note Sheryl, let me once again than you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been delightful. You take care and I will see you here in the UK.

Thank you so much Kevin, you take care and I will see you on the tour. Bye for now.