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If you like Sheryl Crow's story, you might also like:
Johnny Cash,
Vince Gill,
Lauryn Hill,
Quincy Jones,
Naomi Judd,
B.B. King,
Wynton Marsalis,
Johnny Mathis,
Stephen Sondheim,
Esperanza Spalding
and Bernie Taupin

Related Links:
Sheryl Crow Music On Jango
Artist Direct
Sheryl Crow's Site

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Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
Profile of Sheryl Crow Biography of Sheryl Crow Interview with Sheryl Crow Sheryl Crow Photo Gallery

Sheryl Crow Biography

Award-Winning Singer and Songwriter

Sheryl Crow Date of birth: February 11, 1962

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  Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow Biography Photo
Sheryl Suzanne Crow was born in Kennett, Missouri, a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Although her father was a practicing attorney, both he and her mother were enthusiastic musicians who played in a swing band on weekends. Her mother also taught piano, and insisted that Sheryl and her siblings study piano.

Sheryl was drawn to a musical career from an early age. While she earned a music degree -- studying classical piano at the University of Missouri, Columbia -- she played keyboards with a local cover band and was already planning a career as a professional songwriter. After graduation, she settled in St. Louis, where she taught music to autistic children, and sang with a local band. She also recorded advertising jingles for local businesses and learned her way around the recording studio.

At 24, Sheryl Crow was ready to make the move to Los Angeles and break into the big time. Her thorough musicianship and St. Louis experience won her more work recording jingles, but she was a long way from the goal of recording her own songs. Her first break came when she was hired as one of Michael Jackson's back-up singers for a world tour supporting his album Bad. She received extra attention when she was featured in an onstage duet with Jackson, then at the height of his popularity. Touring the world with the era's biggest star was a heady experience for the girl from Kennett. The two years' experience with the King of Pop gave her the credibility to pursue a recording contract of her own.

To her frustration, record companies could only envision her as a big-haired singer in the 1980s dance-pop mold, not at all the career she was looking for. She was in steady demand as a session vocalist, recording backup vocals with Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Foreigner, Joe Cocker, Sinead O'Connor and Sting. After recording with former Eagle Don Henley, she joined Henley's touring band for a year. Her contacts as a singer also helped promote her career as a songwriter. As more producers heard her demo tapes, her songs were recorded by established artists including Wynonna, Celine Dion and Eric Clapton, who became a personal friend.

Sheryl Crow Biography Photo
After she worked with producer Hugh Padgham as a session vocalist, he was impressed enough with Crow and her songs to help her secure a record contract with A&M Records. Unfortunately, the resulting record was not at all to Crow's taste. The production emphasized heavily arranged ballads, steering Crow away from the earthier sounds of classic rock and country that were nearer to her heart. Rather than make her solo debut with an album that misrepresented her authentic musical personality, Crow asked A&M to shelve the record altogether.

At the end of her 20s, near the cutoff age for a career breakthrough in the youth-oriented music industry, Crow found herself with a contract, but no record, fearful that she had burned her bridges irreparably. At the invitation of friends, she joined an informal collective of musicians who met at a Pasadena recording studio on Tuesday nights to try out songs and hone their chops. Crow felt artistically renewed in this collaborative atmosphere and approached A&M Records with some of the material she'd recorded with her new friends.

The resulting album, Tuesday Night Music Club, hit the stores in 1993. Although Crow was pleased with the record, it was slow to attract attention. The industry gave it a second listen after the song "Leaving Las Vegas" was featured in a popular film of the same name. A&M decided to release one more single from the album, "All I Wanna Do," in the summer of 1994, nearly a year after the record was initially released. This song, with its irresistible chorus, "All I wanna do is have some fun, and I've got a feeling I'm not the only one," became the inescapable hit single of the summer.

Sheryl Crow Biography Photo
At the 1995 Grammy Awards, Sheryl Crow received one trophy as Best New Artist and another for Best Female Rock Vocal for "All I Wanna Do." The song itself was named Record of the Year. Now the whole country was paying attention. Tuesday Night Music Club sold more than 7 million copies, and Crow and her band were playing all over the country.

After concluding her first tour as a headliner, Crow set about putting together a second album. Some of her previous collaborators had become alienated by the attention heaped on Crow as lead vocalist, and she took on the task of serving as her own producer on her second album. Knowing that she alone would be responsible for the success or failure of this record, she titled it Sheryl Crow. Overcoming the traditional "sophomore jinx" that plagues so many artists' second records, Crow came up with an even more compelling collection of songs than her first. The singles "If It Makes You Happy," Every Day is a Winding Road," and "A Change Would Do You Good," became major radio hits in 1996, and brought Crow a second Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal, along with another for Best Rock Album.

The following year, Crow wrote and performed the title song for a James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, joining the long line of artists, like Paul McCartney, who had enjoyed singular success with songs for the perennial movie franchise. Crow's third album, The Globe Sessions, was named Best Rock Album at that year's Grammy Awards, and like its predecessors, sold millions of copies. Crow was an enthusiastic supporter of other women musicians, producing records with older artists like Stevie Nicks, and supporting younger ones like Sarah McLachlan and Michelle Branch. In 1999, Crow put on a free concert in New York's Central Park, with many of her new friends and some of her oldest musical heroes. Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Chrissie Hyde, The Dixie Chicks, Nicks and McLachlan all joined Crow onstage. The show was broadcast as a television special and brought Crow another Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal for the song "There Goes the Neighborhood." She won yet another Best Female Rock Vocal Grammy for her version of the Guns and Roses song "Sweet Child of Mine," heard on the soundtrack of the film, Big Daddy.

Sheryl Crow Biography Photo
Her 2002 record, C'mon, C'mon, was another platinum smash, and the hit single "Soak Up the Sun," like several of her hits before it, became a fixture on rock radio. By this time Crow's every move, from her hairstyles to her fashions to her personal life, was subject to intense scrutiny by the news media. She used her celebrity to draw attention to causes she believed in, supporting the Senate candidacy of Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, and speaking out against U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Crow released a collection of past material in The Very Best of Sheryl Crow, an enormous success that also included a new hit single, her version of the Cat Stevens song, "The First Cut is the Deepest."

In 2005, she released a new collection of songs, Wildflower. Something of a departure from the good-time rock anthems that had made her famous, the songs, many crafted with string arrangements, were more introspective than her previous work, reflecting her new-found interest in meditation.

Early in 2006, shortly after the end of a highly-publicized engagement to champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer was detected early, and after minimally invasive surgery and a short, precautionary round of radiation therapy, she appeared to have recovered completely. By the following spring, she had resumed public performing and was on tour supporting her album. Surviving this health ordeal appeared to have brought her new peace of mind, and she took to the stage with undiminished energy.

The following year, Crow adopted a newborn boy she named Wyatt. As she began to build a family life with her new son, she settled down on a farm outside of Nashville. She recorded her 2008 album, Detours, in her home studio there. A harder-rocking effort than Wildflower, it reunited her with Tuesday Night Music Club producer Bill Bottrell, and represented something of a return to her classic rock roots. Like Wildflower, it placed a strong emphasis on lyrical content, particularly in the environmental anthem "Shine Over Babylon," and in "Love is Free," a paean to the spirit of post-Katrina New Orleans. When Sheryl Crow toured that year, one dollar of every ticket sold was donated to the United Nations World Food programme. Crow was an enthusiastic supporter of the Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama, and performed on the closing night of the 2008 Democratic Convention.

Crow adopted a second baby, Levi, in 2010, and released a new collection of songs, A Hundred Miles From Memphis. A literal reference to the location of Crow's home town, the title also tips a hat to the soul music that thrilled and inspired her when she was growing up. In a departure from the highly personal, vocal and verbal emphasis of her two previous releases, the new record is built on a more collaborative, rhythmic, instrumental foundation, and features guest artists such as Justin Timberlake and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. With the release of this seventh album, Sheryl Crow has proved her ability to grow and develop in her music. Her millions of fans can expect her to continue composing and performing for many years to come.

This page last revised on Nov 11, 2013 20:17 EDT
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