Elton John is joined by singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten on the latest episode of Rocket Hour. She tells Elton about the inspiration behind her latest album ‘We've Been Going About This All Wrong'.
Sharon Van Etten on making her latest album, ‘We've Been Going About This All Wrong’
I had just moved to California in September of '19 and finished building my studio in January of 2020 out of my garage. And sooner than later, I was challenged by the universe to call my bluff on all the reasons why I moved to California. And I began writing. And when I tend to write, I don't really know what I'm writing about. I just write about whatever I'm going through. And I'm analyzing all the feelings and emotions of having a family and relocating and figuring out what this new uprooting means and in terms of the end of the world.
Sharon Van Etten on moving to California
It's very different than New York scene, but having a family and wanting more space in nature… Originally, I thought it was going to be a great idea. And for many reasons it was, but the environmental shifts are pretty jarring between the fires and the earthquakes and things like that. But I do love it for the collaborations and artists that I've met while I've been there.
Sharon Van Etten on collaborating with other artists on her new record
Mostly people that I had be-friended from my previous album. Zach Dawes is an artist who actually helped make that Josh Homme cover happen. And he had a big part in helping me learn what the sonic palette of this record was going to be, as I figured out what I wanted the instrumentation to be. But the band that played on it is mostly my touring band now.
Elton John on Phoebe Bridgers, Nova Twins, Wet Leg and the many great female songwriters
There's so many great women's songwriters, artists in their own right and doing all sorts of music. In Britain, we have people like the Nova Twins, making great rock and roll records. Wet Leg. And then over there, you've got Phoebe Bridgers, yourself. And it is a constant stream of brilliant women musicians. And I just think it's great because to me, with a couple of exceptions, you guys are writing the best music and making the best records. And it's really great to see. And you make records, to be honest with you, that I could play your record now and in twenty years time, it would sound as good as it did when it first came out. And that's what I love about it.
Elton John on loving Sharon Van Etten’s music
ELTON JOHN: You are pretty good at writing songs and making great, beautiful records that one can sit down to after a long day and just put the record on vinyl and just listen to it and just go and lose yourself in it. And I think that's the greatest thing I could say about music. It touches me, it takes me somewhere else and it makes me feel warm inside. It's just brilliant. And that's why I love doing this radio show is because I get to hear records that some people don't. But you are very much loved in this country. And you're very much appreciated in this country and rightly so. And we're going to play ‘I'll Try’ on the show. I promise you that we're promoting this record all the way through from now on. And it really is, I'm quite nervous talking to you because I love you so much. And I have done for a long time.
SHARON VAN ETTEN: Oh, stop. I'm nervous talking to you. Are you kidding me? You are celebrated in my family and in my partner's family. My partner told me he dressed up in drag wearing his boots and his boas since he was a kid. His older sister used to dress him up and they would just have... You're still such a huge…
ELTON JOHN: I'm always dressing up in drag.
SHARON VAN ETTEN: But your voice is just… It's definitely been an influence.