Sharon Van Etten

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Sharon Van Etten
Van Etten in 2019
Background information
Birth nameSharon Katharine Van Etten
Born (1981-02-26) February 26, 1981 (age 43)[1]
Belleville, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
Years active2007–present

Sharon Katharine Van Etten (born February 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter. She has released the albums Because I Was in Love (2009), Epic (2010), Tramp (2012), Are We There (2014), Remind Me Tomorrow (2019) and We've Been Going About This All Wrong (2022).

Early life[edit]

Van Etten was born in Belleville, New Jersey, the middle child of five.[2] She lived in Nutley, New Jersey, then moved to Clinton, New Jersey as a pre-teen. She attended North Hunterdon High School, at which she participated in the chorus and performed in stage musicals.[3][4][5][6]

Later, she moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to attend Middle Tennessee State University and studied recording, but dropped out after a year. She ended up working at the Red Rose, a coffee and record shop and music venue in Murfreesboro for about five years. She fell into an abusive relationship with a rock musician who discouraged her from writing songs. After five years, she left in the middle of the night with whatever she could carry.[7]

She lived in Brooklyn, New York for a number of years, in the neighborhood of Ditmas Park.[7]


Van Etten at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival

Van Etten self-released handmade CDs until 2009, when her debut studio recording was released.[8][9] Before her studio debut, she worked at Astor Wines and as a publicist at Ba Da Bing Records.[10]

2009: Because I Was in Love[edit]

Van Etten's debut, Because I Was in Love, was released on May 26, 2009, on Language of Stone, and was manufactured and distributed by Drag City. Because I Was in Love was produced by Greg Weeks at Hexham Head studio in Philadelphia.[8]

2010: epic[edit]

On September 21, 2010, Van Etten released her second album, epic, on Ba Da Bing Records. With no set band at the time, Van Etten called on friends Jeffrey Kish, Dave Hartley, Jessica Larrabee, and Andy LaPlant of She Keeps Bees, Cat Martino, Meg Baird, Jim Callan, and Brian Christinzio. The first song recorded for the album was "Love More", recorded in December 2009 by producer Brian McTear for Weathervane Music's Shaking Through documentary video series. The remainder of the album was produced by Brian McTear with engineer Amy Morrissey in May 2010 at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia. 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."[11]

2012: Tramp[edit]

Van Etten in 2013

Van Etten's 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 home studio in Brooklyn, New York.[12] Additional recording took place at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia, where the album was also mixed with Engineers and Mixers Brian McTear and Jonathan Low. The album features musicians Doug Keith, Thomas Bartlett, Bryan Devendorf, Bryce Dessner, Matt Barrick, Rob Moose, Julianna Barwick, Peter Silberman, Logan Coale, Clarice Jensen, Ben Lanz, Zach Condon, and Jenn Wasner.[13]

2014–2015: Are We There[edit]

May 2014 brought about the release of Van Etten's fourth studio album, titled Are We There, on Jagjaguwar.[14] Van Etten produced the record with Stewart Lerman, with the guidance of bandmate and manager Zeke Hutchins. Most of the recording was done at Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, New Jersey, with piano tracks being recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.[15] The record features musicians Zeke Hutchins, Doug Keith, Heather Woods Broderick, Dave Hartley, Adam Granduciel, Marisa Anderson, Stuart D. Bogie, Mickey Free, Mary Lattimore, Little Isidor, Jacob Morris, Torres' Mackenzie Scott, Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg, Lower Dens' Jana Hunter, and Efterklang touring member Peter Broderick. The EP I Don't Want to Let You Down, a compilation of songs that were not included on Are We There, was released on Jagjaguwar in 2015.

2019–present: Remind Me Tomorrow and We've Been Going About This All Wrong[edit]

After the release of Are We There, Van Etten took some time away from music.[16] She pursued acting, had a child, and applied to Brooklyn College to study psychology and mental health counseling.[17][2] Van Etten composed the score for the film Strange Weather, working on the music in a practice space she shared with Michael Cera. In between working on the music for the film she recorded dozens of demos for new songs, which would form the basis for her next album.[2]

In 2018, Van Etten released a new track, "Comeback Kid", and announced her next album Remind Me Tomorrow, released on January 18, 2019.[18] Remind Me Tomorrow was a departure from Van Etten's previous guitar-focused work, featuring more synthesizers, drums, and experimental sounds.[2][17]

In 2019, Van Etten moved with her son and partner to Los Angeles, California. She stated her desire with the move was to settle down and diversify her career to be less reliant on traveling tours.[19] The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 scuttled those plans, and during the resulting lockdowns Van Etten wrote songs that focused on her new life as well as the wider political landscape and "collective trauma" people were experiencing.[19]

Van Etten played bass and sang harmony as the three surviving members of Fountains of Wayne performed in a televised benefit with various New Jersey-affiliated musicians to raise funds for COVID-19 relief in April 2020. She filled the role left vacant by the COVID-19-related death of Adam Schlesinger a few weeks earlier. She and the other three members of the band played simultaneously from remote locations. The band played the song "Hackensack" from the album Welcome Interstate Managers.[20]

On May 15, 2020, Van Etten released a cover of (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.[21]

In October 2020, Van Etten made a song titled "Let Go" for the documentary, Feels Good Man, directed by Arthur Jones about Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe the Frog.[22]

On November 16, 2020, Van Etten released two covers of traditional holiday songs, "Silent Night" and "Blue Christmas".[23]

On May 20, 2021, Van Etten released a single with Angel Olsen, "Like I Used To," which was produced by John Congleton. Olsen and Van Etten appear in the music video with their hair styled in similar shag haircuts.[24]

In 2021 the artist was inter alia part of the Newport Folk Festival in July.[25]

On May 6, 2022, Van Etten released her sixth studio album We've Been Going About This All Wrong.[26]

Influences and musical style[edit]

Van Etten cites Ani DiFranco as a key influence, saying, "She was the first musician I had ever heard whose songs were super confessional. She could really play guitar... That was my first experience with non-pop female musicians. She made me want to start playing more."[27]

Van Etten possesses a contralto vocal range, which Caleb Caldwell of Slant described as "husky".[28] NPR described her vocals as raspy, elegant and luminous,[29] while Consequence called it "earthy".[30] Van Etten's music is characterized by a heavy use of harmonies.[7] Pitchfork described her songs as having "echoes of folk tradition."[8] 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."[11] With "Comeback Kid" and Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten introduced electronic sounds into her music.[31] She has said, "I listen to a lot of OMD... I'm into a lot of the new post-punk electronic stuff."[27]


Since 2016, Van Etten has appeared in both seasons of the Netflix drama The OA as Rachel, a fellow abductee along with Prairie in Dr. Percy's basement lab/terrarium.[2] Rachel and the other captives are subjected to after-life experiments while conspiring over a period of years to possibly escape, and at one point, Rachel sings a song of remembrance. Van Etten also appeared in episode six of the 2017 Twin Peaks series on Showtime.[32]

Van Etten made her feature film debut with a supporting role in the 2020 film Never Rarely Sometimes Always directed by Eliza Hittman, for which she also wrote and performed the original track 'Staring at a Mountain'.[33]

Van Etten also appeared in the 2021 film How It Ends as Jet. The film featured two new songs by Van Etten, "How Much I Loved You" and "Till We Meet Again".[34]

Personal life[edit]

Van Etten had her first child, a son, in 2017 with her romantic partner Zeke Hutchins. Hutchins used to be her drummer and then became her manager. After living in New York City for 15 years, she moved with her family to Los Angeles in September 2019.[2][35]



List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions


Because I Was in Love
  • Released: May 26, 2009
  • Label: Language of Stone
Tramp 75 [a]
Are We There
  • Released: May 27, 2014
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
25 123 164 33 27
Remind Me Tomorrow
  • Released: January 18, 2019
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
94 49 131 134 88 10 39 30
We've Been Going About This All Wrong
  • Released: May 6, 2022
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
102 169 52 22 26 88 28
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other contributions[edit]


  1. ^ Tramp did not enter the Official Albums Chart, but it peaked at number 19 on the Official Independent Albums Chart.[46]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2019 AIM Independent Music Awards Best Independent Track "Seventeen" Nominated [57]
2020 Libera Awards Best Alternative Rock Album Remind Me Tomorrow Nominated [58]
2022 Video of the Year "Like I Used to" Nominated [59]


  1. ^ Davison, Jeffrey (February 11, 2012). "Live Session with Sharon Van Etten and Heather Woods Broderick" (in-studio). WFMU: Shrunken Planet with Jeffrey Davison: Playlist from February 11, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Coscarelli, Joe (January 3, 2019). "The Many Lives of Sharon Van Etten". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Ilana. "Sharon Van Etten Is Right There", Interview (magazine), May 27, 2014. Accessed June 29, 2018. "Sharon Van Etten: Oh, nice! I can't let go of it. I was born in Belleville. Then I grew up in Nutley and in the sixth grade we moved to Clinton."
  4. ^ "Sharon Van Etten". NPR. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  5. ^ "Sharon Van Etten with Damien Jurado", Accessed August 14, 2019. "Van Etten was born and raised in New Jersey where she attended North Hunterdon High School."
  6. ^ Perusse, Bernard. "Sharon Van Etten Traces the Roots of Her Growing Acclaim to the Journals She Kept as a Girl", Montreal Gazette, February 21, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2019. "The New Jersey native joined her first choir at 11 while attending Yantacaw school and continued choral singing at North Hunterdon High School, where she also performed in such musicals as West Side Story, Hello Dolly! and Fiddler on the Roof."
  7. ^ a b c Ferguson, Wm. (February 2, 2012). "The Rough Harmonies of Sharon Van Etten". the New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Murphy, Matthew (June 22, 2009). "Sharon Van Etten: Because I Was in Love". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media Inc. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  9. ^ Cian Traynor (March 20, 2012). "Blindsided By Love: Sharon Van Etten Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Mertes, Micah (March 31, 2011). "Sharon Van Etten, a voice to be reckoned with". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Hilton, Robin (September 15, 2010). "First Listen: Sharon Van Etten, 'Epic'". NPR. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  12. ^ Blau, Max (March 9, 2012). "Sharon Van Etten: Tramps Like Us". American Songwriter. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  13. ^ Guendelsberger, Emily (November 9, 2011). "Sharon Van Etten announces new album, tour dates, eerie resemblance to Carrie-Ann Moss". The A.V. Club (Philadelphia). Onion Inc. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  14. ^ "Up to Date Preview of Are We There?". F Yeah! Sharon Van Ettan: Fan Blog for Sharon Van Etten. October 22, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  15. ^ Roffmanon, Michael (February 20, 2014). "Sharon Van Etten announces new album Are We There". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  16. ^ Larusso, Marissa (May 6, 2022). "When it feels like the world's ending, Sharon Van Etten still cares". NPR. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  17. ^ a b Stuart, Gwynedd (February 17, 2019). "For Sharon Van Etten, It's Time for Los Angeles". LA Magazine. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  18. ^ Andrew Trendell (October 2, 2018). "Sharon Van Etten shares throbbing new single 'Comeback Kid' and announces album 'Remind Me Tomorrow'". Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Kemp, Ella (April 15, 2022). "Sharon Van Etten: 'I have to be hopeful. I'm a mother and I want to be brave for my son'". NME. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  20. ^ @fountainsofwayn (April 20, 2020). "Twitter post" (Tweet) – via Twitter.[dead link]
  21. ^ "Sharon van Etten and Josh Homme Cover "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?"". Pitchfork. May 15, 2020.
  22. ^ "Sharon Van Etten Shares New Song "Let Go"". Pitchfork. October 13, 2020. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  23. ^ "Sharon Van Etten Gets in the Holiday Spirit with "Silent Night", "Blue Christmas"". Rolling Stone. November 12, 2020. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Shaffer, Claire (May 20, 2021). "Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen Share New Song 'Like I Used To'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  25. ^ "Newport Folk Festival stage schedule 2021". Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  26. ^ Minsker, Evan (April 6, 2022). "Sharon Van Etten Announces New Album We've Been Going About This All Wrong". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  27. ^ a b Jones, Mia (November 29, 2010). "An interview with Sharon Van Etten". AfterEllen. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  28. ^ Caldwell, Caleb (May 25, 2014). "Review: Sharon Van Etten, Are We There". Slant Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  29. ^ "Sharon Van Etten On World Cafe". NPR. July 9, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  30. ^ Graves, Wren (May 20, 2021). "Produced by John Congleton". Consequence. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  31. ^ Sherburne, Philip (October 2, 2018). "Sharon Van Etten - Comeback Kid". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  32. ^ "Sharon Van Etten". Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  33. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (April 15, 2019). "Focus Features, 'Moonlight' Outfit Pastel & BBC Films Team For Eliza Hittman Drama 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  34. ^ "How It Ends soundtrack to feature two new songs from Sharon Van Etten". July 6, 2021. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  35. ^ "Sharon Van Etten Talks New Doc, Springsteen and Leaving New York". Rolling Stone. September 26, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  36. ^ Billboard 200 chart positions:
  37. ^ "Discografie Sharon Van Etten". Ultratop Flanders (in Dutch). Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  38. ^ "Discographie Sharon Van Etten". Ultratop Wallonia (in French). Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  39. ^ "Discographie Sharon Van Etten". Les Charts (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  40. ^ "Discographie Von Sharon Van Etten". Offizielle Deutsche Charts (in German). Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  41. ^ "Discografie Von Sharon Van Etten". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  42. ^ "Discography Sharon Van Etten". Charts.Org.NZ. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  43. ^ "Discography Sharon Van Etten". Portuguese Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  44. ^ "Discographie Sharon Van Etten". Swiss Hitparade (in German). Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  45. ^ "Sharon Van Etten". Official Charts. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  46. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50, 12 February 2012 - 18 February 2012". Official Charts. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  47. ^ Kaloudis, Evan (December 21, 2009). "Interview: Peter Silberman of The Antlers". Beats Per Minute. Banquet Media. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  48. ^ "Music from Episode 36 of Boardwalk Empire on HBO". HBO. Archived from the original on May 24, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  49. ^ ""The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver" Out Now!". ATO Records. December 12, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  50. ^ Roffman, Michael (March 6, 2013). "Listen to J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten cover John Denver's "Prisoners"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  51. ^ Powers, Ann (April 2, 2015). "The National, 'Sunshine On My Back' - The 'Trouble Will Find Me' Session Recording Features Sharon Van Etten". NPR. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  52. ^ "Hear Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten, and More Cover Grateful Dead for 'Day of the Dead' Compilation". Spin. April 27, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  53. ^ "Sharon Van Etten Asks Why The Sun Still Shines For 'The Man In The High Castle'". NPR. March 3, 2017.
  54. ^ "The full Glastonbury stage times and clashes have been announced". The Independent. May 30, 2019. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  55. ^ "Glastonbury 2019 - Sharon Van Etten". BBC Music Events. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  56. ^ "Deep Sea Diver Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  57. ^ Molt, Andy (July 24, 2019). "AIM announces 2019 Independent Music Awards nominees". Complete Music Update. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  58. ^ Brandle, Lars (April 2, 2020). "Chance the Rapper, FKA Twigs, Courtney Barnett & More Shortlisted For 2020 A2IM Libera Awards". Billboard. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  59. ^ Aswad, Jem (March 23, 2022). "Japanese Breakfast, Jason Isbell, Arlo Parks Lead Indie-Music Collective A2IM's 2022 Libera Awards Nominees". Variety. Retrieved March 25, 2022.

External links[edit]