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Setting the record straight

11 July 2022, 10:30

Sheryl Crow has had a lot of noise to cut through in her 30-plus years in the business. She talks to Alan Pedder about reclaiming her story.​

Sheryl Crow once said the only way she’d write a tell-all book about her life would be if everyone involved was already dead.

It’s easy to understand why. From near enough the start, the path of Crow’s career has been riddled with potholes. Sleazy men, sabotage, bitter ex-bandmates, a turbulent ride in the press – and that’s just for starters. "The unfortunate thing about success,” she told Rolling Stone in 1996, “is that you have to work out your problems in public."

To her credit, Crow learned her lesson quickly. If she couldn’t control the white noise of the industry – the gossipy tabloids, the misogynistic edgelords of the music papers – she could at least control her exposure to their damage. She stopped reading her own press somewhere in the mid ‘90s. Not excluding herself from the narrative, since she still gave frequent interviews, but shielding herself from the worst of the blowback. A sort of self-imposed ignorant bliss.

This context is important when considering the recent documentary, Sheryl (available on Showtime in the US but not yet released in Europe). Like any documentary, where the 95-minute film lands on a scale of tell-all to tell-nothing very much depends on how familiar you are with Crow’s career beyond the hits. “Everybody knows “All I Wanna Do” and “Everyday Is A Winding Road”,” she tells me over a morning Zoom session from her home in Nashville. “But those aren’t the songs that really tell the story of the person. I wanted to tell the stories that inspired the songs that people might not know."

A companion soundtrack to the film (out now everywhere) runs to 35 songs, including two new originals and a Rolling Stones cover. Like other official retrospectives released by A&M/Universal, it’s heavily weighted towards her first four albums: Tuesday Night Music Club, Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions and C’mon, C’mon. But Sheryl is the first one to be presented more or less chronologically (there are a few exceptions), and the first one to feel like it really tells a tale. Alongside one of the strongest runs of hits of the ‘90s, it makes room for the lesser-known singles (“What I Can Do For You”, “Home”) and key album tracks, including the Walmart-baiting “Love Is A Good Thing” and the vulnerable epic “Crash & Burn”.

“I think one of the pitfalls of having big hits early on is that a lot of people will make their mind up about you and you wind up being put in a box,” she tells me. “You sort of make the cut early, or you don’t. But people do ultimately get reintroduced to you through the years, and maybe then they will dive into the deep cuts.”

“Compiling a soundtrack was hard. There are songs that obviously had to be put on – the ones that fans know and love – but I also wanted to put the songs on that defined the moments that made me want to write them in the first place. So it was an interesting process.”

On making the documentary, Crow says she had to be “sort of coaxed into it” by her long-time manager Scooter Weintraub. “It’s a weird thing because you feel like a documentary is something that gets made at the end of a person’s career, or after they are dead and gone,” she tells me. “Though I have been around for a really long time. My kids always joke that I was born in the 1870s.”

Knowing that she wanted a female director to trust with her story, Crow held interviews with a number of women before eventually settling on Amy Scott, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who had previously profiled Oscar-winning director Hal Ashby. “I chose Amy because she’s somebody whose work I already liked,” says Crow. “I loved what she did with the Hal Ashby story, and I felt like she would make smart, emotional and beautiful choices.”

Making a documentary, even an authorised one, can be a fraught process. Just ask Alanis Morissette, who last year publicly disowned an HBO film she’d originally been happy to take part in, saying she was “lulled into a false sense of security” and that director Alison Klyman and her team had a “salacious agenda” that didn’t fit with the story she had wanted to tell. I ask Crow if she had put any safeguards or rules in place when working with Scott. “I was a bit nervous,” she says. “But I trusted her with my story, and I basically just handed it over.”

“Obviously, there was a lot of material left on the cutting room floor that I asked about. But, as a director, you can’t make a nine-hour documentary. They had an hour and a half, and they chose what they felt was the actual important story to tell. There was a certain amount of letting go involved, but I definitely feel like Amy and her team did a commendable job.”

Crow describes sitting for the interviews as “pretty arduous,” explaining that she wasn’t fully prepared for how emotional it would be to revisit some of the more difficult times of her life. “I think that’s largely because some of the stories are ones I’ve never told before, so it was a bit like opening up an old wound,” she says. “But I think part of doing a documentary is to keep in mind that, as hard or as uncomfortable as it might be – even for the person watching it – who wants to watch a documentary that is not honest, that isn’t truthful, and doesn’t tell the real story?”

So, what is the real story?

Clearly, Crow’s early success was the extraordinary, life-changing kind, but it didn’t happen overnight. In the mid-‘80s, she was living in St. Louis, Missouri, with a born-again Christian boyfriend (“The first of three engagements,” she observes, dryly, in the opening minutes of Sheryl) who disapproved of her ambitions of being a rock star. After they split, she quit her job as a teacher, packed up her car and drove to California. She’d made a small fortune (around $40,000) recording a jingle for McDonalds and used the money as a springboard to follow her dreams. If her hero Carole King could reinvent herself in the City of Angels, so could Crow. “It was kind of psycho,” she says in the film. “I mean, totally naïve.”

In 1986, female singer/songwriters were not seen as the bankable assets they were in the decade before. It was an incredible time for pop music. Janet Jackson, Madonna and Whitney Houston all had #1 albums on Billboard. But the heirs to ‘70s songwriters like Carole King and Joni Mitchell – lyric-driven artists like Tracy Chapman, Sarah McLachlan and Sinéad O’Connor – had yet to break through. Suzanne Vega had gained some traction with her self-titled debut the year before, but among LA record execs the appetite for smart, literate women writing their own smart, literate rock songs was simply not there.

Faced with rejection after rejection, Crow changed tack. Waiting tables at a restaurant known to be a hangout for people in the music industry, one night she slipped a tape to a diner whom she’d heard was a producer. She was fired the next day, but it got her a foot in the door. Less than a year later, she was on a jet plane to Japan to start a 16-month world tour as a backing singer for Michael Jackson. It was her first time out of the country.

The Jackson tour was pivotal to Crow’s career, but it was also incredibly damaging to her mental health. While tabloids across the world splashed tacky headlines about an alleged romance between the two singers, behind the scenes it was Jackson’s manager Frank DiLeo who was making moves on Crow in a clear abuse of power. With DiLeo threatening to sabotage her career if she refused him, Crow went to a high-powered attorney for help – and was effectively told to just be quiet and be grateful. Spiralling into what she describes as “the darkest, most depressed place,” Crow finished the tour and returned to LA. Speaking in the February 1995 issue of Q, Crow revealed she spent “five or six months in bed” having “hit rock fucking bottom.”

Pulling herself together, she continued to write, record and do session work, and by 1991 she was signed to A&M Records. The documentary skips the part where Crow made a first record that she really wasn’t happy with. The rock album she had wanted to make was choked out by all the bells and whistles of a slick, expensive production, and she saw no other option but to scrap it. A&M agreed and let her try again, this time with a more reasonable budget.

Rather than re-record the songs she already had, Crow essentially started from scratch. One of the first songs she demoed was “What I Can Do For You”, which she sings from the perspective of the kind of sleazebag that the #MeToo movement would expose in great numbers more than 20 years later. She went even further on “The Na-Na Song”, not only dragging DiLeo by name but also Clarence Thomas – yes, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, architect of America’s creeping fascism – who had recently been accused of sexually harassing a woman he employed.

When #MeToo took off on Twitter in October 2017, Crow joined millions of other women (and men) sharing stories of sexual impropriety. Although she didn’t name DiLeo in her tweets, there was zero ambiguity. In the documentary, Crow is quite matter-of-fact when talking about DiLeo, who died in 2011, but the rawness of her feelings is clear from Scott’s inclusion of a thrillingly charged live version of “What I Can Do For You”. Smoking on stage and a little worse for wear, Crow reimagines the song from cool, snarky pop-rock to a full-throated war cry.

Before signing to A&M, Crow auditioned for the touring line-up of a band called Toy Matinee, who included Madonna producer Patrick Leonard and a charismatic frontman by the name of Kevin Gilbert. Hired by the band, it wasn’t long before Crow and Gilbert started dating (“Such a cliché but this guy was so talented,” she says in the film), and it was Gilbert who invited Crow to join the ‘Tuesday Music Collective’, a songwriting group he attended at the Pasadena studio of producer Bill Bottrell. Other key players in the group were Toy Matinee drummer Brian MacLeod, bassist Dan Schwartz, and David Baerwald, her labelmate on A&M.

Much has been written about this time in Crow’s life. The tangled web of the group – rebranded for the record as the Tuesday Night Music Club – was both its making and its undoing. The early sessions had a party atmosphere. With no real end goal in sight, the songs poured out, fuelled by alcohol and (in the first session at least) acid. Ideas arrived from all sides. A lyric here, a melody there; the credits for the album list between two and seven writers for each song. “It was unbelievable,” says Bottrell in the film. “Something of a higher order came together.”

If the first half of making the record was an inspired, drunken mess, the second half was where the real work came in. As Crow tells it, the group dynamic shifted when Bottrell, as producer, took greater control of the project. "Kevin [Gilbert] didn’t like not being invited,” she recalls. “So that started to cause real friction, and our relationship started deteriorating.”

Fast forward to 1994 and things took a sour turn. With Tuesday Night Music Club moving millions after a slow start and relentless touring to promote it, Crow was flung into a firestorm of acrimony, fuelled by jealousy and injured pride. Relations with the band had nosedived, and the fallout in the press was grim. One headline described her as “ruthless and grabby” after accusations of failing to give proper credit to her co-writers and others tangentially involved in the record.

One of those others was author John O’Brien, who died by suicide shortly after a giddy Crow, appearing for the first time on David Letterman’s talk show, seemed to overreach in taking credit for “Leaving Las Vegas”, the song she’d just performed. Baerwald had named the song after O’Brien’s first novel, and there was some agreement between them that he would be credited. In the documentary, Crow says she didn’t know about the book or the agreement, but the damage was swift and devastating. The band blew up at her, and her relationship with many of them never really recovered.

Although she was in no way responsible for O’Brien’s suicide, as his family later confirmed, the negative press was relentless. And when Gilbert died in 1996, the whole sorry saga was dredged up again. The message from some parts of the media was clear: the super successful Crow was taking up more space than a woman was allowed to hold, while two men’s bodies were in the ground. For years the story dogged her. Even now, almost 30 years later, comments still appear on social media, casting doubt on Crow’s credentials.

By the time Crow scooped three Grammy Awards in February 1995, her relationship with Gilbert was over and Baerwald and Schwartz had trashed her in an interview with the L.A. Weekly, adding to the friction. Speaking to the New York Times in 2008, Bottrell clarified things from his viewpoint, saying “The truth is hard to describe, but it lies between what all the people were shouting. It was all very vague and very complicated. She wrote the majority of the album.”

Coming off the Tuesday Night Music Club tour, Crow wanted to get to work right away on a second album. Although she and Bottrell had some lingering discord, they went back into the Pasadena studio to write and came out two weeks later with a handful of demos. The sessions then moved to Kingsway studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Emmylou Harris had recently recorded her career-rejuvenating album Wrecking Ball with studio owner Daniel Lanois. Unhappy with the setup, Bottrell walked out after just one day. Drinking over dinner had turned into a very public shouting match; as Crow recalls in the film, “The next morning I woke up with a headache and no producer.”

Although terrible at the time, Bottrell’s abrupt departure turned out to be a blessing. Forming a close friendship with the studio’s house engineer Trina Shoemaker, Crow took charge of producing the album herself. She brought in an old friend, Jeff Trott, to write and record with her. From the TMC, only drummer Brian MacLeod came back into the fold.

Crow knew that she wanted a harder-edged sound than the loose, jangling rock of her debut; more noise, more distortion, more Rolling Stones in spirit. Still reeling from all the negativity of the past two years, she set out to make a record that would “get under people’s skin.” And she certainly succeeded. Released in September 1996, the pointedly self-titled album spawned four Top 20 singles in the UK – “If It Makes You Happy”, “Everyday Is A Winding Road”, “Hard To Make A Stand” and “A Change Would Do You Good” – and achieved triple platinum status on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the documentary, we’re reminded of Crow’s spat with Walmart – unprecedented at the time – over the use of their brand in the lyrics to “Love Is A Good Thing”. Inspired by newspaper headlines while out on tour, the first verse of the song laid an inconvenient truth at the big-box retailer’s feet. Asked to change the lyric, Crow refused. “That, I think, actually fuelled my conviction even more,” she says in the film. “I was like, “Well, wait a minute. You can’t have it both ways.”

Walmart’s response was to ban the album from its shelves, potentially costing Crow an estimated 400,000 sales. When the retailer eventually halted sales of handguns and some ammunition in 2019, Crow took the high road. “I’m glad to see Walmart change,” she told Buzzfeed News. “I would love to take total responsibility but that was a 20-year-old song.”

Just a few days before Crow and I talk, the US Congress passed a new gun control bill – the first meaningful legislation in almost 30 years. Crow is pleased but not impressed. “It’s an inch in what is miles and miles of legislation that should be passed,” she tells me. “But at least we have travelled that inch. It creates some safeguards, so that’s helpful.”

“Love Is A Good Thing” is not the only song from the self-titled album that continues to feel relevant. Written after visiting American troops stationed in Bosnia, “Redemption Day” is a protest song in the vein of early Bob Dylan that came together in one short sitting. Drawing on the events in the former Yugoslavia and on the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the song is critical of the international community’s slow response to the crises (“Was there no oil to excavate?” asks one incisive lyric).

“It’s a weird thing when you write a song and you’re not exactly sure where it came from,” says Crow. “And that one seems to have legs, all the way through the trajectory of my career.”

Many artists have covered Crow’s songs over the years – from Céline Dion and Tina Turner through to Haim and Screaming Females – but two covers in particular stand out: Prince’s version of “Everyday Is A Winding Road” and Johnny Cash’s “Redemption Day”. As Crow tells it, Cash called her up in the summer of 2003 to ask her about the song and the inspiration behind each line of the lyrics. “He sent me his demo a couple of weeks later and called to see how I liked it,” she wrote in a blog post. “I cannot begin to express how deeply profound this was for me.”

Cash died in September 2003, just a few weeks after recording the song with producer Rick Rubin, but his version wasn’t released until 2010. Years later, Crow began performing the song as a duet with Cash’s cover in her live shows, and, in 2019, a studio version was released on Threads, an album she still intends to be her last. “I feel like Johnny’s spirit inhabited it,” she wrote about the song at the time. “I feel the song has found its perfect incarnation.”

Crow rarely talks about her relationships, and her second engagement – to casting director Joe Blake – may be news even to some fans. “Home”, the fifth and final single from the self-titled album, deals with her growing restlessness in the relationship, which was becoming more platonic. Long stretches of touring had started to put an emotional as well as a physical distance between them.

Between September 1996 and December 1997, Crow played upwards of 150 shows, including the inaugural Lilith Fair, Glastonbury, and a stint opening for The Rolling Stones on their Bridges To Babylon tour. Splitting from Blake, she bought a loft apartment in New York’s Meatpacking District and began to establish a recording space at the nearby Globe Studios, owned by a friend of Suzanne Vega’s then-husband Mitchell Froom.

Recording for her third album began in late 1997, with Trina Shoemaker, Jeff Trott, and Brian MacLeod all returning. Guests included Froom, Lisa Germano, Rolling Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys, and Prince collaborator Wendy Melvoin; Bob Dylan donated an unreleased song (“Mississippi”). “It’s hard for me to separate what my life was like from the making of that record,” says Crow. “I had just come out of a relationship, I loved being in New York, and everything about that time was inspiring. It was a really introspective and creative time, and I feel like those feelings are all over that record. It feels very intimate and vulnerable and sort of in-your-face. It’s my favourite record that I’ve made.”

Being among the frenetic energy and atmosphere of the Meatpacking District, with its trans sex workers, Hell’s Angels bike gangs, and carcasses running blood into the streets, Crow felt creatively renewed. Whereas many of the songs on her first two albums were written in a narrative style and heavily influenced by literature, The Globe Sessions was more transparently dealing with Crow’s own life. Released in September 1998, the album peaked at #2 in the UK charts and produced three Top 20 singles: “My Favorite Mistake”, “There Goes The Neighborhood” and “Anything But Down”.

There’s a persistent belief that Crow wrote “My Favorite Mistake” about Eric Clapton, whom, according to Jeff Trott, she dated “for about six months” after her split from Blake. Taking her cue from Carly Simon, Crow has never confirmed or outright denied it. Others have speculated that it might be Jakob Dylan, whose band The Wallflowers had toured with her in early 1997. She won’t say, but in a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show she did confirm it was a musician. “I felt bad for about eight or ten months and then I never thought about it again,” she told Stern. “That being said, there have been several other favourite mistakes since him.”

Besides “My Favorite Mistake”, there are three other songs from The Globe Sessions on the documentary soundtrack. “The Difficult Kind”, which we hear as a live duet with Sarah McLachlan, looks at Crow’s life through the lens of her love affair with being on the road; “Riverwide”, a cryptic, slow-burning folk-rock song inspired by “Joni Mitchell’s crazy tunings” and the poems of Walt Whitman; and “Crash & Burn”, a favourite of Amy Scott’s that deals with heartbreak and depression.

“I didn't feel like I had the luxury of taking time off. I felt like if I took time off then people would forget me and I’d have to start all over.“

Crow’s mental health struggles are a focal point of the documentary, which charts some of the “real high highs and real low lows” that have always been a part of her life. She describes being “really destroyed” by the Frank DiLeo ordeal, how she “just went into a hole” after the Letterman fallout, the “giant mind-fuck” of fandom and fame, and the bouts of severe depression she experienced while making her fourth album. “C’mon, C’mon was a hard record to make,” she tells me. “Even though I don't hear the struggle that went into the record when I listen to it, I know it was there.”

“The first three records I made pretty much back-to-back, so by the time I was getting ready to make C’mon, C’mon I was pretty exhausted. I was trying to figure out what to do next and I just couldn’t seem to finish anything. Looking back, I think at a certain point it would have been good to just take some time off. But I didn't feel like I had the luxury of that. I felt like if I took time off then people would forget me and I’d have to start all over.“

Crow has talked before about the suicidal thoughts that returned to her during that time, but she’s never been so open about it as she is in the film. In one essential segment, she describes a full-on emotional crash in a Boston hotel room, the overwhelming depression that followed, and considering throwing herself out the window of her New York loft apartment. “That was when it got kind of worrisome,” she says. No kidding.

By the time C’mon, C’mon was released in April 2002, Crow had turned 40 (an age she had been dreading) and was looking on the brighter side of life. Selling over 2 million copies, it’s represented on the soundtrack by its first two singles, “Soak Up The Sun” and “Steve McQueen”. Oddly, the Emmylou Harris-featuring “Weather Channel” is missing, despite being an important touchpoint in the story of Crow’s breakdown in the film.

Harris herself pops up a few times in the documentary as a talking head, but the most interesting outside input comes from Trina Shoemaker and Crow’s former flatmate, actor Laura Dern. Just as Shoemaker was there for Crow in New Orleans (“I was like her, I was alone… Bold, willing to fight. Literally willing to, like, punch people. I wanted to protect her”), Dern was one of the women who flocked to her side following Crow’s split with cyclist Lance Armstrong and her diagnosis with breast cancer less than 3 weeks later.

In the film, Crow hints at the anger she felt at the time. She and Armstrong had planned to marry in the spring and live together in Texas; instead, she was back in Los Angeles, single, undergoing radiation therapy, and with fans and press at the gates of her home. “I was like, “What the eff just happened to my life?”,” she says. “I felt like I didn’t deserve it.”

The film skims lightly over the Armstrong years and doesn’t even touch 2005’s Wildflower, the album their relationship inspired (and Crow’s sixth consecutive million-selling record). Focusing on her relocation to Nashville and parenting her two adopted sons, Wyatt and Levi, it gallops all the way through to 2019 and the recording of Threads. The soundtrack features a couple of songs from 2008’s Detours and the title track from 2017’s Be Myself, but nothing in between. Understandable, but a shame nonetheless.

If there’s one major oversight, it’s that the film fails to engage with Crow’s long history of activism beyond being an advocate for breast cancer research. Evident in her music as early as “The Na-Na Song”, Crow’s political beliefs have become increasingly central to her work. On Detours, she dealt with the climate crisis, our over-reliance on fossil fuels, and the so-called war on terror, while several songs on the Be Myself album were written in response to the dawn of Trumpism.

“It has become very personal since I’ve had the two boys,” she says. “You want to look some of these politicians in the eye and say, “Do you not care about the future for our children?” And I guess they don’t. But the reality of it is, the next generation are growing up with the kind of savvy that I didn’t have. I think, for better or worse, they are going to be more equipped to handle what’s ahead of them than my generation was. So that does give me at least a modicum of hope.”

In 2012, Crow released an outtake from her country record Feels Like Home called “Woman In The White House”. Four years later, disgusted by Trump’s behaviour on the campaign trail, she threw her weight behind Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. Like the other 65.8 million Americans who voted the same way, she has been horrified to see how the political landscape has altered in the wake of her loss in the electoral college.

“I’m really just sickened by the state of our country, it makes me sad,” she tells me. “I grew up in this country pre social media, when people were kinder to each other and when there wasn’t so much money in our government. I think we’re seeing this decline all over the world, but it seems to be extremely exaggerated in America. I’m worried about the future of this country, and certainly it doesn’t bode well for the future state of our planet when we’re so preoccupied with doing awful things at home and not even addressing the elephant in the room.”

"Some of the most vile behaviour I’ve seen has been in the name of Christianity and the hypocrisy is glaring."

Having been raised in the Presbyterian church and still holding on to some of her religious convictions, she has some thoughts about the way that Republican politicians are shamelessly dismantling the separation between church and state. “It’s disgusting,” she says. “You know, one of the tenets that our country was based on was the right to religious freedom. And now we’re dictating, by virtue of weaponising the Bible, how everyone in this country should live. The fall of Roe v. Wade dictates that no matter what your religion is, you’re going to live by the religion of Christianity. And it’s deeper than that. Some of the most vile behaviour I’ve seen has been in the name of Christianity and the hypocrisy is glaring.”

Crow believes in karmic retribution (see 2020’s “In The End”), but she’s not convinced that we will see it come around to Donald Trump. “As long as there’s all this money in politics, rich people like Trump can get off scot-free,” she says. “I don’t have a lot of hope that he’s gonna go down. I don’t think he’ll get re-elected, but the reality of it is that someone as vile as he is may step in.”

Of the two new songs on the Sheryl soundtrack, “Still The Same” covers similar ground to “Halfway There” and “Roller Skate” from Be Myself in that it’s a song about finding ways to listen to each other, find common ground, and unplug from the noise. “At the end of the day, we all come into the world with the same basic needs – water, air, food, love and safety – and all the rest of the crap is just subterfuge,” she says. “It’s just stuff that we’re being bombarded with. At the end of the day, if you put it all away, there’s so much to be learnt.”

The other new song, “Forever”, was inspired by conversations she’s been having with her older son Wyatt, who’s now 15. “He, like every kid now, has anxiety and worries,” explains Crow. “That’s not something I grew up with. I didn’t have to worry about whether the planet was going to be on its last legs when I got older, or whether I was going to lose somebody I loved in a pandemic. I didn’t have to worry about whether I was going to die by gunshot wound in school. I wanted to let him know that there was nothing he couldn’t talk about with me, and that’s what inspired the song. The greatest gift we can give each other is to be present. To put our phones down and listen and acknowledge the moment.”

Crow intends to show the documentary to the boys one day, but for now she’s holding the more painful parts of her story back. “It’s wonderful to have the story out there, but I’m not sure I want to relive it and to watch myself talking about it,” she says. “It’s hard to see yourself get older anyway.”

It’s her greatest hope for the film that her experiences with success, depression, sexism and ageing will resonate with women (and men) from all walks of life, not just in the music industry. “I’ve had feedback from people I would never have imagined,” she says. “One journalist said that the film defied everything that he had thought about me, and that’s exactly what you want to happen when you make a documentary like this. You want people to go, okay, wait a minute. I wasn’t a fan, but there is a story here and I relate to that story. For me, that’s one of the highest compliments.”

Having now told her side of the story – the parts that she can say out loud, at least – what’s left on Crow’s wishlist? “I’ll aways write music because I always still feel like my best work’s in front of me,” she says. “There’s so many things to write about, good and bad, and there’s always a beautiful and artistic way to write things, and that keeps me interested.”

“But my only mission now is to protect my kids and keep my kids feeling hopeful, and hopefully push that forward for other people. I don’t know any more how to cut through the amount of noise that’s out there. I think everyone is frustrated with the idea that we can’t hear each other anymore, we can’t find a way towards the middle. More than anything else, I just want to try and cut a swathe of hope through the noise, for my kids.”

Inspired by a solo livestream concert she did from home last year, Crow hopes to take something similar on tour in 2023, “not just a concert, but an actual one-woman show.” “It’s more difficult than I thought!” she says. “Like, what are the stories? And how can we create a production around that? We’re working on it now.”

I point out that the tour would coincide with the 30th anniversary of Tuesday Night Music Club and the 25th anniversary of The Globe Sessions. With the widely reported loss of Crow’s masters in the 2008 Universal Studios fire turning out to be a false alarm (“Luckily, they found most of mine in a different area,” she says), could it be that The Globe Sessions will finally get a long-deserved reissue? “I think we will do something,” she says. “Maybe dig through and see what was not put on the record. I don’t even know what we recorded, which is kind of shocking. It’s time I went back through to see what’s there.”

Today’s dilemma, though, is what to do with the Crow family fish tank. “My 15-year-old’s fish has gotten too big and no one will take it,” she says. “I keep telling him, “We’re not killing that fish! We’re gonna find a home for it.” Yeah, it’s things like this that monopolise my time now.”

Sheryl: Music From The Feature Documentary is out now on UMG

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