Sheryl Crow has plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In the last year, the nine-time Grammy winner (and HuffPost blogger) became a mother to adopted son Wyatt, traveled the country on a Stop Global Warming college tour, got up in Karl Rove's grill, and oh yes, finished a new album to be released next February. Crow took a break from mixing to chat about her new single "Shine Over Babylon", her Thanksgiving plans, and how we, as a nation, need to wake up.
What are you up to for Thanksgiving? I am heading home to Kennett, Missouri, where my whole family is, and I'm sure we're going to overeat. Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday; it's so relaxing. There's no hustle and bustle like the Christmas gift bloat, and then I'm heading to New York to do press for this album.
Why did you choose "Shine Over Babylon" as your first single? Actually, this isn't technically the first single. The record business has changed so drastically -- it's like the Wild West out here -- that the game plan was to get out as much music before the album came out as possible, so people could hear it. This was the first one that I felt should come out because it really speaks to the tone of the record and for me, it has a lot of impact as to what's going on right now. We're going to follow it with three more songs with video on YouTube in the upcoming week.
YouTube, huh? Do people even bother with television now? As far as I know, MTV and VH1 don't play music videos any more; it's all reality TV and game shows, so I don't know if they'll really pick up a video. To me, it's an interesting time because you used to make a video for a million dollars with a great director. Now, you spend $10,000, if that, with no hair and make-up, and do it completely guerrilla style. For example, we did a song called "God Bless This Mess" about the war and we shot it in front of the White House and nobody stopped us. It's really really exciting to just go out and shoot, like how Bob Dylan shot "Don't Look Back" -- it's just a guy with a camera and you're performing the song.
Did no one care you were recording in front of the White House? It was almost like I was shape-shifting, honest to god. I couldn't get arrested doing this video. I was even trying -- I mean, is anyone even noticing that I'm singing subversive lyrics right in front of the White House? Goes to show you.
"Shine Over Babylon" isn't necessarily as controversial, but it's certainly eco-conscious. Even though it may sound like an apocalyptic diatribe, I hope people will find a certain modicum of hope in it. It's really more of a battle cry than about being disillusioned.
What issues work you up the most? The last three years have been very impactful for me, particularly when it comes to politics. Really, even the last six years. My album is called "Detours," and I come back to that theme all the time, because personally... [Crow shifts voices] Hi big boy, my smiley bug, my son just got up... Anyway, I always think of detours as some path that you take away from yourself before it eventually brings you back to remembering who you are. For the last six years, we've been sent on the most massive detour based on fear and misinformation, and we have to really look at our selves in this moment in time -- and it's directly correlated to our lack of passion and our propensity to fall asleep in the face of misinformation -- and just figure out who we are. Personally, the detours I've been on relationship-wise and with my breast cancer, have helped define who I am and who I'm going to be.
I can imagine motherhood is also a transformative experience. I'll tell you -- not to sound like a Hallmark card, but just having him around has rendered my heart completely open and fearless. [When writing the album,] I don't remember exercising my overactive ability to edit myself at all, and I feel an urgency for the truth to prevail. It doesn't matter if [my] lyrics are biting or going piss people off -- I have to write what I'm feeling right now because I have this little guy who's looking at me, and asking the question, "What kind of world is awaiting me?" and that was really what propelled my record.