Sharon Van Etten
|Sharon Van Etten|
Sharon Van Etten in 2010
|Birth name||Sharon Van Etten|
February 26, 1981 |
Clinton, New Jersey, United States
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Genres||Indie rock, folk, folk rock|
|Instruments||Vocal, guitar, piano, percussion, omnichord, harmonium|
|Years active||2007 - present|
|Labels||Jagjaguwar, Ba Da Bing, Language Of Stone|
|Associated acts||The Antlers, Shilpa Ray, The National, Beirut, The Walkmen, Wye Oak, Julianna Barwick, Shearwater|
Sharon Van Etten was born in Clinton, New Jersey the daughter of a history teacher, Janice Van Etten, and a computer programmer, Stephen Van Etten. Sharon Van Etten is the middle of five children, an older brother, two sisters Jessica and Laura, and a younger brother Pete.
Van Etten grew up in Nutley, New Jersey, where she lived at the corner of Prospect and Vreeland streets, attending Yantacaw Elementary School. She studied clarinet, violin, and piano. In 6th grade she was part of a choir called The Mini Singers.
Her family later moved to Clinton, New Jersey, where she attended North Hunterdon High School. She taught herself to play guitar. Van Etten said she began to take her singing more seriously in high school. She was part of the high school choir group, The Madrigals, who performed a lot of classical pieces. Van Etten credits this training with how she learned how to write and sing harmonies.
She moved to Tennessee to attend Middle Tennessee State University and studied recording, but dropped out of college after a year. Van Etten ending up working at the Red Rose, a coffee and record shop and music venue in Murfreesboro, for about five years. Van Etten said she was writing songs then, but did not perform publicly. Van Etten said her boyfriend at the time wasn't very supportive of her and didn't think highly of her musical abilities. After six years of what she now describes as an abusive relationship, she moved back to New Jersey to live with her parents.
After moving back home to New Jersey and working at Perryville Wine and Spirits, Van Etten saved up enough money to move to Brooklyn in 2005, where she was encouraged by Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio to pursue a career in music. Malone said she'd approached him at one of his shows and gave him a CD-R of her songs. Van Etten was friends with Malone's brother, Colin, in high school. Malone normally doesn't listen to fan submissions, but he enjoyed her work. "Really very arresting. She just sends me," he said. Malone ended up playing Van Etten on his Guest DJ set for NPR's All Songs Considered.
Van Etten self-released several recordings prior to her debut studio recording. The hand-painted images used on the covers were also sold as postcards and on T-shirts. She worked as a publicist at Ba Da Bing Records, a job she got via a friend, Alicia Savoy, who she went to college with in Tennessee. She started out as an intern and worked her way up to being a full-time publicist.
Van Etten said that Jeffrey Davison, a deejay on WFMU who has a show called Shrunken Planet, was the first person to play one of her homemade CDs on his show. Van Etten has become close to Davison and his wife, who have her over for record listening evenings.
Because I Was in Love
In 2008, Van Etten had gone on tour opening for Meg Baird, a founding member and lead female vocalist for the Philadelphia folk rock band Espers. During the tour Van Etten met Baird's Espers band-mate Greg Weeks. Weeks and Van Etten co-produced and recorded Because I Was in Love at Hexham Head studio in Philadelphia. While Van Etten sang vocals and played acoustic guitar and tambourine, Weeks played electric guitar, organ, and wood blocks.
On September 21, 2010, she released her second album epic on Ba Da Bing Records. The record features Meg Baird, Cat Martino, and Jessica Larrabee on backing vocals. NPR described it as possessing "a fuller sound compared to the super-spare arrangements on her first two self-produced albums, but epic still feels incredibly intimate, with lots of room to breathe and unfold."
Her third studio album, Tramp, was released on February 7, 2012, on Jagjaguwar. Tramp was produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, and recorded in his studio from October 2010 to July 2011. The album features guest appearances from Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Matt Barrick, Zach Condon, and Jenn Wasner.
In regard to the album's guest appearances, Van Etten told American Songwriter magazine, "People may think 'They got this star-studded cast,' but what it boils down to is that they're friends that wanted to participate on this record." Tramp debuted at No. 75 on the Billboard 200 charts.
The record has been described, compared to her prior records, as having "a professional polish, with layered vocal harmony, electric and acoustic guitars, organ, ukelele, and drums. Most songs follow the classic arc: quiet beginning with an instrument or two, a gradual increase in volume and complexity, followed by a peak, and a quiet denouement."
Are We There
May 2014 brought about the release of Van Etten's fourth record, Are We There on Jagjaguwar. Van Etten self-produced the record with Stewart Lerman. The record includes Torres' Mackenzie Scott, Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg, Lower Dens' Jana Hunter and Efterklang affiliate Peter Broderick. Van Etten said some of the instruments in the recording of the album were used by John Lennon and Patti Smith. The album was recorded at Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, New Jersey, and at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
- 2011: In February–March 2011, Van Etten joined The National for 13 European tour dates and at the 2011 MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati. In September 2011, Van Etten opened for The National again at the Hollywood Bowl (with Neko Case) and in December 2011, at the Beacon Theatre.
- 2012: In May 2012, Van Etten played alongside The Walkmen, Beirut, St. Vincent, The Antlers, Atlas Sound, and others at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
- 2013: In March/April 2013, Van Etten opened for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds's North American tour, sometimes singing guest backing vocals with Cave and his band.
- 2015: In February 2015, Van Etten will be on tour as part of her new 2014 album Are We There, kicking off in New York, spending the majority of her time in Australia, New Zealand finally heading back through Europe back to Boston and New York to conclude her tour.
- 2015: On June 26, 2015, Van Etten performed on The Park stage at the 2015 Glastonbury Festival.
Van Etten's music is characterized by a heavy use of harmonies. Van Etten's songs were described by the music website Pitchfork Media as having "echoes of folk tradition." NPR Music asserts: "Her songs are heartfelt without being overly earnest; her poetry is plainspoken but not overt, and her elegant voice is wrapped in enough rasp and sorrow to keep from sounding too pure or confident."
- Because I Was in Love (2009)
- epic (2010)
- Tramp (2012)
- Are We There (2014)
- I Don't Want to Let You Down - EP (2015)
- 2007: "Much More Than That" / "Over Your Shoulder" by Sharon Van Etten (7") - Abaton Book Company, Lost Lathe Series (limited edition: 30 hand-numbered copies)
- September 10, 2010: "I'm Giving Up on You" / "You Didn't Really Do That" by Sharon Van Etten (7") - Polyvinyl Record Company – PRC-206 (limited edition: 500 copies on black vinyl)
- April 2013: "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" / "A Wake for the Minotaur" (7") by Shearon Van Ettenwater (Subpop) - a collaboration between Van Etten and Shearwater for Record Store Day 2013 (limited edition: 1,000 copies)
- January 2015: "I Don't Want to Let You Down" by Sharon Van Etten (Digital) - Jagjaguwar 
- April 2009: "Coming Home" written by Jeremy Joyce for the feature film Woman's Prison (vocals and guitar)
- August 2009: "Kettering," "Thirteen," "Two" and "Shiva" on Hospice by The Antlers (vocals) 
- March 2011: "Think You Can Wait" by The National from the soundtrack to the film Win Win (backing vocals)
- April 2012: "Serpents" was featured in the season 2 finale of Lost Girl, "Flesh and Blood"
- December 2012: A cover of Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do" was recorded with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks for the season 3 finale of Boardwalk Empire, "Margate Sands"
- December 2012: "Prisoners" with J Mascis on The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver
- January 2013: Van Etten performed at John Cale's tribute to Nico, [ A Life Along the Borderline], at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
- July 2013: "Serpents" was featured in the season 4 trailer for The Walking Dead at Comic-Con
- August 2013: Van Etten designed a limited edition charity t-shirt which was being sold through the Yellow Bird Project to raise money for Women In Need (WIN), a charity that provides safe housing for homeless women and their children in New York City
- November 2014: "Every Time the Sun Comes Up" was used in the Season 3 Elementary Episode "The Five Orange Pipz"
- April 2015: Featured on the song "Sunshine On My Back" by The National, from the Trouble Will Find Me recording sessions
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- Dollar, Steve (February 3, 2012). "She's Gonna Make It After All". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
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September 25, 2009
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- The Regis, North Hunterdon High School (yearbook), 1999, p. 44.
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- Kaloudis, Evan (21 December 2009). "Interview: Peter Silberman of The Antlers". Beats Per Minute. Banquet Media. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Music from Episode 36 of Boardwalk Empire on HBO". HBO. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- ""The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver" Out Now!". ATO Records. December 12, 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- Roffman, Michael (March 6, 2013). "Listen to J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten cover John Denver's "Prisoners"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- "Life Along the Borderline: A Tribute to Nico", BAM. Accessed 4 August 2014.
- "Comic-Con Trailer: The Walking Dead Season 4". AMC Networks. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- Van Etten, Sharon (August 12, 2013). "New SVE T-shirt is now Live – Proceeds to Charity". Sharon Van Etten. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- McNutt, Myles (6 November 2014). "Elementary: "The Five Orange Pipz"". AV Club. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Powers, Ann (2 April 2015). "The National, 'Sunshine On My Back' - The 'Trouble Will Find Me' Session Recording Features Sharon Van Etten". NPR. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Official website
- Sharon Van Etten at the Internet Movie Database
- Sharon Van Etten: Tiny Desk Concert on All Songs Considered, NPR Music (15:40)