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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,
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and Bernie Taupin

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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 Interview

Award-Winning Singer and Songwriter

June 3, 2006
Los Angeles, California

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  Sheryl Crow

To start at the beginning, what was your childhood like in Missouri?


Sheryl Crow: I grew up in a really small town that is typical of towns in the South. Kennett, which is where I grew up, sits right on the Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri border in "the Bootheel." So typically, we are considered to be South, because we are south of the Mason-Dixon line. A very quiet town, kind of revolved around a town square with a courthouse. Very old-fashioned, right in the Bible Belt, mostly farmers, predominantly farm land, cotton, soybeans. God-fearing people, and it's remained pretty much intact, with the exception of Wal-Mart coming in and the downtown kind of falling apart. It's pretty much the same as it was when I was growing up. Everyone knew everyone. My parents knew all my friends. All my friends' parents kept an eye on me. It just was a very strong community and still pretty much is that way.


How did your folks happen to be there? What did they do?

Sheryl Crow: My parents grew up about 28 miles from there, on the Mississippi, in a town called Caruthersville. They both went away to school and came back. My father got a law degree and got a job in Kennett, which was very close. They still live there, after 51 years of marriage.

Was there a lot of music in your house?

Sheryl Crow: A lot of music.


My parents both studied music, and my dad, actually, I think his great, great love was really for music first, but it was just not a career that his parents wanted to see him go into. So he studied it for a year. I think he's kind of a savant, because he played concert pieces and had only ever taken one year. So he and my mother both really, still, have an incredible love and appreciation for all different kinds of music. They played everything from Ella Fitzgerald to James Taylor on the Magnavox, and they also played in a swing band when I was a kid.


What instruments did they play?

Sheryl Crow: My father played trumpet, and my mother played piano and sang. They played standards. On weekends, they would bring all their friends home after their gigs and stay up smoking and playing records, drinking. It was just what I thought every kid grew up with.

Were you a serious student in school?


Sheryl Crow: I was one of those kids that was able to do the minimum for the maximum. Grades came easily to me. Studying came easily to me, and I enjoyed school, but my forte really was the arts. Loved music, always found my identity in music. I realized about at age four, I could play by ear. So while I was studying music, I was also getting away with playing stuff off the radio, and I kind of knew what direction I was going in.

[ Key to Success ] Passion


Did you find it hard to learn classical pieces from printed music when you could play by ear so well?

Sheryl Crow Interview Photo
Sheryl Crow: Yeah. We joked about it in my family all the time. All four of us kids took piano lessons, and three of us actually went on to major in classical piano. I was one of them. I could listen to my mother or my piano teacher play the piece and then play it back. I really wasn't the best classical pianist in my family. I was definitely the least serious about it.

Isn't it hard to really work at something when it comes that easily?

Sheryl Crow: It is, especially if you can just hear it. So I came away from college having retained very little of my classical training. I made it all the way through school and made good grades and loved classical piano, I could figure it out and play it, but then it would go away.

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This page last revised on Oct 15, 2008 12:39 EDT
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