Sheryl Crow: ‘Surviving breast cancer redefined who and how I am’ | Life and style

Music was my life like a child. My earliest memory is singing as we drove through Missouri in our powder blue station wagon. Having parents with swing band players meant the house was full of dancing. Music was my identity; I never thought of another future.

I skipped school at age 15 to enter a best-legs competition – and won. The competition was run by a local radio station. I can’t remember who judged—a bunch of dirty old men, I’m sure—but I walked proudly across that podium to the win. I may have been placed under house arrest and thrown into custody, but I kept my $100 winnings.

Surviving breast cancer redefined who and how I am, although I’m not sure I would recommend it. Until then, I had been the caretaker of everyone around me all my life. From that moment on, I started to put myself first. I had voices in the back of my mind telling me that what I was doing wasn’t good enough. Now I have finally silenced them.

I should never drove after long nights of partying while writing my first record. I was 29 and after too many drinks would drive back from Pasadena through the canyon to my house in Hollywood. I wish I could go back and confiscate the keys.

be excellent baton twirler is a really useless skill that will get you absolutely nowhere in life.

I could run a marathon in a pair of Yves Saint Laurent heels – you’ll learn to adapt when you’re just under six feet. My height has never bothered me, but people think I’m taller because of the smoke and mirrors on stage. “You’re so small, Sheryl,” people often say when they first meet me. “Yes,” I answer, “I know.”

Our children will suffer for our passivity to climate change. I am terrified for their future. We refuse to understand the magnitude of the problem, so we ignore it. It’s what my kids tell about humanity that hurts the most. I raise them to be empathetic, to care for others. What shall I say when they ask why we set the world on fire?

be at the party doesn’t bother me anymore. For me, motherhood trumps red carpets and award shows. I got older when I was older and had already achieved what I wanted in my life. Now my joy comes from raising these two wonderful people.

If I knew the secret to a happy relationship, I wouldn’t have been engaged three times while somehow becoming single. I’ve had great relationships, loved and been loved, but I’ve had a weird life with a job that kept me traveling. I am content and happy, but would I like someone to join our little family? Of course.

eight years ago I was driving down a country road when a speeding car zoomed toward us. I swerved as best I could, and the other driver slammed through us. My friends and I sat in silence as death passed. I think a lot about why we were spared. I only thank the angels.

I tried to be political pronounced when I felt it mattered, but too often I was told by strangers to “shut up and sing”. I heard that so many times that I started doing it, channeling my beliefs through my music instead.

You don’t have to be a heartbroken, tormented soul to write a good song. It took me too long to learn that.

Live from the Ryman and More will be released August 13 (sherylcrow.com)

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