Sharon Van Etten (born February 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter from New Jersey.
Sharon Van Etten was born in Clinton, New Jersey. In 1999, she moved to Tennessee to attend Middle Tennessee State University and studied recording, but dropped out of college after a year. Van Etten ending up working at the Red Rose, a coffee and record shop and music venue in Murfreesboro, for about five years. In 2004, she moved back to New Jersey, where she worked at Perryville Wine and Spirits. Van Etten moved to New York in 2005.
Van Etten self-released handmade CDs until 2009, when her debut studio recording was released. Before her studio debut, she worked at Astor Wines and as a publicist at Ba Da Bing Records,
Because I Was in Love
Van Etten’s official debut, Because I Was in Love, was released on May 26, 2009, on Language of Stone, and was manufactured and distributed by Drag City. “Because I Was in Love” was produced by Greg Weeks at Hexham Head studio in Philadelphia.
On September 21, 2010, she released her second album epic on Ba Da Bing Records. With no set band at the time, Van Etten called on friends Jeffrey Kish, Dave Hartley, Jessica Larrabee, Andy LaPlant, Cat Martino, Meg Baird, Jim Callan, and Brian Christinzio. The album was produced by Brian McTear at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia. NPR described it as possessing “a fuller sound compared to the super-spare arrangements on her first two self-produced albums, but epic still feels incredibly intimate, with lots of room to breathe and unfold.”
Her third studio album, Tramp, was released on February 7, 2012, on Jagjaguwar. Tramp was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, and recorded in his home studio in Brooklyn, NY. The album features musicians Doug Keith, Thomas Bartlett, Bryan Devendorf, Bryce Dessner, Matt Barrick, Rob Moose, Julianna Barwick, Peter Silberman, Logan Coale, Clarice Jensen, Ben Lanz, Zach Condon, and Jenn Wasner.
Are We There
May 2014 brought about the release of Van Etten’s fourth record, Are We There on Jagjaguwar. Van Etten self-produced the record with Stewart Lerman, with the guidance of bandmate and manager Zeke Hutchins. Most of the recording was done at Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, New Jersey, with piano tracks being recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. The record features musicians Zeke Hutchins, Doug Keith, Heather Woods Broderick, Dave Hartley, Adam Granduciel, Marisa Anderson, Stuart D. Bogie, Mickey Free, Mary Lattimore, Little Isidor, Jacob Morris, Torres‘ Mackenzie Scott, Shearwater‘s Jonathan Meiburg, Lower Dens‘ Jana Hunter and Efterklang affiliate Peter Broderick.
I Don’t Want to Let You Down EP
In 2015, the “I Don’t Want to Let You Down EP” was released on Jagjaguwar. It is composed of the songs that did not make it onto “Are We There”.
- 2011: In February–March 2011, Van Etten joined The National for 13 European tour dates and at the 2011 MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati. In September 2011, Van Etten opened for The National again at the Hollywood Bowl (with Neko Case) and in December 2011, at the Beacon Theatre.
- 2012: In May 2012, Van Etten played alongside The Walkmen, Beirut, St. Vincent, The Antlers, Atlas Sound, and others at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
- 2013: In March/April 2013, Van Etten opened for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds‘s North American tour, sometimes singing guest backing vocals with Cave and his band.
- 2015: In February 2015, Van Etten will be on tour as part of her new 2014 album Are We There, kicking off in New York, spending the majority of her time in Australia, New Zealand finally heading back through Europe back to Boston and New York to conclude her tour.
- 2015: On June 26, 2015, Van Etten performed on The Park stage at the 2015 Glastonbury Festival.
Van Etten’s music is characterized by a heavy use of harmonies. Van Etten’s songs were described by the music website Pitchfork Media as having “echoes of folk tradition.”NPR Music asserts: “Her songs are heartfelt without being overly earnest; her poetry is plainspoken but not overt, and her elegant voice is wrapped in enough rasp and sorrow to keep from sounding too pure or confident.”