Sharon van Etten set for UK tour

Sharon van Etten set for UK tour

Third album from cohort of The National, The Antlers and Beirut

When we tell you Sharon Van Etten’s had it tough, we don’t just mean a bit of writer’s block or bad press. The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter found herself fleeing an abusive relationship and endured two years of homelessness while making her third album, Tramp. It’s a relief then to find her ‘having a blast’ on tour with ‘friends that keep challenging and encouraging my form’. ‘It’s like summer camp’, she says. ‘Spirits are high ... and re-realising this album in a straight-up band format has been a learning experience for me.’

Van Etten’s poetic folk rock confessionals are an intense and beautifully disarming listen, but it’s not all Conor Oberst and Leonard Cohen on her playlists. Julie Andrews would feature prominently – we didn’t see that one coming – along with Kris Kristofferson, Andrea Bocelli, John Cale, The Go-Betweens, Throwing Muses, Iggy Pop, The Kinks and The Carpenters. It was TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone who eventually encouraged her into music-making though, word of her talent quickly spreading, with The Antlers, Beirut, The National and Bon Iver all clamouring to work with her. Things have clearly turned a corner for the singer who is currently on the creative form of her career and buoyed by ecstatic responses to her latest offering. ‘It is a progression from where I came from,’ she explains, ‘but I don’t think it’s out of the blue. I have been developing a lot over the years and I think this is my strongest record yet.’

She agrees that it was the hardships of making Tramp that actually brought better material out of her. ‘Definitely. I think that ultimately helped it be a more immediate and urgent album.’ The writing process as catharsis clearly applies here. ‘Always,’ says Van Etten, ‘I only write from personal experience. I only choose to share it when I think I have ideas that are universal I hope people can learn from and relate to.’ And her ultimate aim with it? ‘To help the listener not to feel so alone.’

Oran Mor, Glasgow, Thu 12 Jul

Sharon Van Etten - "Leonard" (Official video)

Sharon Van Etten

The Brooklyn singer/guitarist tours her latest album Are We There.