Sheryl Suzzane Crow was born on Feb. 11, 1962, the 3rd of 4 children. She grew up the middle kid in a very close knit family in Kennet, Missouri, a small town which according to Sheryl has more of a Southern feel rather than a Midwestern one. Her house, well, a two-story brick house, three minutes from the square by car, a comfortable home with a music room and a back porch where, as Kathy Crow ( Sheryl`s oldest sister ) puts it, "we sit outside and fling a burger on the fire once in awhile."
Sheryl, now 37, has 2 older sisters Kathy who is currently working in the Nashville, Tenn., office of a major music publishing company, she is a songwriter, and Karen, the most classically geared pianist of the family who lives in Perryville, Mo., with her husband and three children; In case you haven`t noticed, sister Kathy makes an appeareance on Sheryl`s latest record "The Globe Sessions", Kathy sings backup vocals in the song "The Difficult Kind".
Sheryl also has a younger brother Steve, who is a builder back home and according to Sheryl he`s the one who`s got the ears of the family, she says he can always predict which songs in her albums would make good singles. Sheryl says she still calls him up to see what songs will do better in the radio.
Sheryl`s father, Wendell Crow, is an attorney and amateur trumpeteer, Sheryl once descriibed him as moody, and her mother, Bernice, a petite, brunette piano teacher who turned 60 in May, made sure all of his girls learned the piano.They both grew up in nearby Caruthersville, and have called Kennett home since 1959. Sheryl`s parents had a friend called Leo, that guy played standup bass in her father`s swing band. Sheryl addresses him on her song "We do what we can", same song in which Sheryl`s father plays the trumpet in it.
By the time Sheryl was 3, she was busy entertaining her family by singing "Downtown" in a near perfect imitation of the Carnaby Street songbird, Petula Clark. Bernice remembers how she and her husband and two older daughters would laugh and laugh at Sheryl`s preternatural act, and talk about "our little rock singer.
Sheryl says she was the one who did everything as planned, that she was constantly trying to make everybody happy by getting straight As and practicing the piano, and that her role was to take care of everybody, to make everybody feel all right and to have everybody feel okay with her at all times. She idolized her parents and needed their approval, but never got enough because she was working so hard to make them happy that she didn`t appear to need it.
Her siblings and her were always expected to do the best we could. There were 3 pianos at the house, so all 3 girls practiced together. Her parents were very artsy and musical. They listened to a lot of big bands, swing bands, and crooners. As a child, she really related to that music. Her parents loved books and read to the all the time. They raised them to be excited about writing and reading. Instead of letting them watch a lot of TV, they would read to them.
Because she learned to value writers very highly, once she started to write her own songs she approached the process from the standpoint of a writer rather than from the perspective of a songwriter. She didn`t really like or trust her own voice, so she would write about characters by default, something that came naturally because all the figures Mark Twain and John Steinbeck created were such familiars in her house.
The yearbooks that chronicle her four years at Kennett High, from 1977 to 1980, bear out the golden girl image: drum majorette, a member of the Pep Club, Future Farmers of America, and the National Honor Society. She was also Freshman Maid, Senior Maid and the Paperdoll Queen. Sheryl was a cheerleader, she ran track, made good grades and drew male admirers but according to her, she was never terribly popular. She was always a good girl but a bit of an outsider. When you`re trying to please your parents, as she was, you don`t get into too much trouble. The first time she went out with her friends to smoke pot she didn`t even get to enjoy it because she felt so guilty. She was also on the periphery because she thought what was going on in music was so dismal - Kansas and Foreigner, all that corporate rock. Everybody knew who the lead singer of Boston was. She just couldn`t relate to any of that. She was trying to get her friends into Van Morrison and Derek and the Dominos. Peter Frampton was her first concert.
Sheryl had her dark nights of the soul, suffering a condition she shared with her mother. "I never could understand why I would have this `sleep paralysis`," Sheryl says. "There would be nights where I would be so afraid to go to sleep . . . In sleep paralysis, sometimes you get to the point where you are sure you`re going to die in the dream, and your breathing stops and all that. It`s a bizarre and twisted feeling where you feel completely paralyzed. And then the fear that comes along it makes your heart race; it makes you sweat.
Crow came out of Kennett High School and enrolled in the University of Missouri, in Columbia, were she studied with Raymond Herbert, a music professor at Mizzou, who had taught her older sister Karen a few years before. Herbert considered Karen exceptionally gifted, both academically and musically. Sheryl was slightly less exceptional. No question, she was a very good student and musically talented in her own right, but more than that, she was a plugger. She pledged the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She majored in music composition, performance, and teaching. She improvised part of her curriculum on her synthesizer, and at night it saw service onstage with various bands. Now, as then, Crow knows covers. Some of her prime influences are the Stones and Rod Stewart. The college a rock-and-roll cover band she was in was Cashmere, she played the keyboards. After graduating, she was hired in St. Louis as an elementary school music teacher. She tought children with special needs, autistic children, I think, worked as a vocal music teacher, and taught the special chorus for the fifth and sixth grades. Mary Jackson, a second grade teacher at Kellison, recalls a "hometown girl from a small community, a relatively quiet, strait-laced, nice girl," but never sensed a future rock star in her midst.
Crow ended up on the beer soaked bandstands of St. Louis, covering hits, and one night, she tried to steady a waitress who slipped while carrying mugs. Crow remembers the numbing bash in the mouth, then looking up into a mirror on the far wall to see her front teeth half clipped off, "Hee Haw style." She spent a miserable night with beer as her anesthetic, waiting for a dental surgeon, and it wasn`t until the release of her debut a decade later that a lengthy restoration job saved the capped but threatened stumps that peek from under what one British scribe called "rock`s sexiest top lip."
Crow, back in Missouri, contacted this famous local producer, Oliver, the guy found her vocally undeveloped and musically naive in terms of rock-and-rol but they shared a jazz backround so he was willing to help her out, and our Sheryl worked real hard to develop her voice and music skills, soon Oliver was using her for singles. In that time, the local band P.M. was looking for a vocalist, Oliver recalls how Sheryl took all the tapes back home, learned them and the next day kicked ass. She went through an intense learning period, spending 8 hours a day for months perfectioning every aspect of her craft, vocals, rock-and-roll history, performing with P.M. and doing singles for Toyota and McDonald`s. During a vacation Crow visited a friend in L.A. and was psyched and thrilled about the sunny, party climated and talked about moving there someday. Crow asked Oliver for advice wether she should leave for L.A. and pursue her musical career, Oliver told her she should try it, he helped her put a demo tape together with all the jingles she`d made while with him. After a love relationship soured in Missouri, Crow decided to take the move, she went to her parents house on a tuesday and told them she would leave on sunday. She was 24 when she took off for Los Angeles with little money and few prospects, they day she left her car broke down, she tought it was a signal that told her she should go back, but Crow, certain that this would be her only chance to see if she could make it in the music industry kept on going.
L.A. was quick to show Sheryl the real world, she moved 4 times in 6 months, once ending up living in an apartment with strangers, her first taste of weirdo girls that did drugs and stuff like that. Sheryl says they were actually good people but that she just hadn`t been exposed to that before. Another place she ended up in was a 1-room apartment, 500 bucks a month, a little too much. But Crow was surious about it, a friend of her who had also graduated from his college came to visit her once in L.A., he says he remembers seeing serious pieces of equipment all around the place, P.A., synthesizers. He knew at that point there was a heck of a lot of "something" to Crow`s music thing.
In L.A. she did songwriting for various artists such as Wynonna Judd and Celine Dione, and worked for people such as Rod Steward. She also did jingles jobs and waitressed, it was in one of those jingle sessions that she overheard that Michael Jackson was having auditions for back up singers. She got the job, she credits her quality of "innocence" for the succesful audition. Soon she was on stage with Michael dueting with him in his "Bad" tour, she also made some appearances in tabloids as his suppossed lover. The tour that had Sheryl on stage around the worl came to an end in early 1989, and later that year she sang backup vocals with Don Henly. For eight years, she struggled to land a record deal, until Hugh Padgham discovered one day when she was hired to sing backup for a session he was producing. Padgham got her demo tape and passed it to David Anderle, the head of A&R at A&M. Anderle alerted Al Cafaro, who runs the label, and soon, Crow was in Anderle`s office. Sheryl now had a record deal. When she went into the studio for her first solo sessions, "it was Sheryl`s first time as the artist," recalls Cafaro. "She`s in there with the man who produces Sting and Phil Collins. What do you think she`s going to do? She`s going to shut up and take direction." She sure did and ended up with a extremely crafted and polished pop album which left her and the record company cold, so it was shelved. That first record album included songs such as "All by my self".
Sheryl soon fell into a really bad and long bout of depression, says Crow, "my mom would call, and my mom and I are very close, but she would call, and she would say, `You`re a cute girl, you`re smart, you`ve got everything in the world going for you,` and that would just make it worse. Because then it makes you even loathe yourself more for being sick." This depression was a harsh one, apparently Sheryl tought about suicide all the time, though she now thinks suicide thoughts are stupid ones.
The depression lasted for about a year and a half, but she managed to came out of it through theraphy, anti-depressants, and the fact that she was now working with a bunch of guys who called themselves the Tuesday Night Music Club (TNMC) and who got together every tuesday night on a little studio in Pasadena and drank and wrote songs until late hours. She was really in need of all the bonding ans everybody had a great kindred spirit and everyone was on equal footing. Since she was the only one with a recors deal signed, they all agreed to help her get a record done, they understood it was going to be her record and still everyone wanted to be there and collaborate with the songs and stuff. So, TNMC, Sheryl`s 1st album was born. It took some time before it bacame really succesful, but as soon as it did, the guys in the TNMC claimed Sheryl gave them little or no credit and that she actually didn`t collaborate that much in the album. Kevin Gilbert, a key Tuesday player and Crow`s former boyfriend, expressed his resentment over her solo ascent, charges that were amplified by the media when he died in 1996 of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Kevin hadn`t been succesful in his musical carrer. His death "still has a big impact on me," Crow says. "For the first year after he died, I saw him everywhere I turned. It was almost like he didn`t want to go away." Sheryl wrote "Sad, sad world" for him.
Crow was actually blamed for some other guy`s suicide, the author of the novel "Leaving las Vegas" Sheryl and the guys from the TNMC had written the song "Leaving las Vegas" inspired on the novel and using the title of the novel with permission of its author. Apparently Sheryl said in a T.V. show that the song was autobiographical, but later took it back, the author of the novel ,who was watching the show, later comitted suicide so they blamed it on her.
Althought the loudest accusers have since apologised, such things are hard to forget. The press went hard on her too, doubting her talents and stuff like that, that was weird for Sheryl since even when she was singing with other people, she always played lots of instruments and made demos on her own all the time, so she had never been anything but a serious musician, and the fact that the press speculated about her talents and credibility really confused her.
All of this anger she felt in her 20`ies and the things that happened after TNMC are reflected in her 2nd album "Sheryl Crow". A very raw album according to her. She had to produce it herself after Bill Bottrell, TNMC producer, quit. Apparently he felt as though he wasn`t needed so he left the very 1st day. Shery, with the help of her engineer and now friend Trina Shoemaker took the risk and produced herself, it actually came in easy because she had always record herself at home so he was familiar with the process, and besides, she had an understanding female engineer who was trying to try everything. To everyones surprise, Sheryl did a great job and sold a good number of copies of this album, she now had a new image leaving behind her countryish-girl-next-door look for some more sophisticated and agressive, yet slutty one. In this album, there`s a song called "Love is a good thing" in which Sheryl sings that Wal-mart sells guns to children, apparently Wal-mart made a big fuss out of it and refused to sell the album unless Sheryl changed the lyrics, Sheryl decided to stay loyal to her thoughts and perspective and didn`t change the lyrics, thus, Wal-mart banned the album. That was hard on Sheryl not for the sales she lost but for the fact that Wal-mart is the only place where her family can get her albums at Kennet, Mo. A funny thing is that Wal-mart is now carrying her latest record "The Globe Sessions", seems like Wal-mart was the one who lost.
Now, Crow comes back with her latest record "The Globe Sessions" , her best work up to now I think, it is also self-produced and done in her own studio, "The Globe Studio" Trina Shoemaker is the engineer again and Crow`s sister Kathy joins her in one of the tracks "The Difficult Kind". She is nominated for 6 grammy awards, including Best Producer. Sheryl is now more under control.
Her debut, 1993`s Tuesday Night Music Club, sold more than nine million copies and led to three Grammys, including best new artiste.
Her self-titled 1996 sophomore effort sold more than six million copies and won Grammys for rock album and female rock vocal. Sheryl has been joined in stage by Pavarotti, Garth Brooks, The Wallflowers, Elthon John, and some other celebrities, she was part of Lilith Fair, but apparently that didn`t end up good.
She has a house at 1919 Hollywood Hills, a Spanish hideaway strewn with antiques, but just recently moved to New York, just around her new record studio "The Globe Studio" were the latest record was made, hence its name.
She has a dog, Scout, an eight-year-old mutt she plucked from an animal shelter. He joins her in the studio and on tour and he worships his owner.
She is rumored to be having an affair with rock legend Eric Clapton (Clapton has joined Crow on stage at various shows). But we canґt tell for sure because there`s also this other rumour that says that she`s been dating his guitarrist Jeff Trott for 3 years already and that they even live together, still, apparently "My Favorite Mistake" was written thinking of Clapton.
Crow says: "Ideally and romantically I`d like to picture myself as a fine painter, but I`m a terrible artist. I`ve only felt the pull of music. I`m pretty happy with what I have. There are still those days when I`m tempted to crawl into my apartment and forget the whole thing, but I don`t feel that way all the time like I used to. I sometimes fantasize about having a farm where I can live ith fifteen dogs if Scout could handle it. I could turn into Brigitte Bardot. No one would ever see me gain. It would just be me and dog hair everywhere. That`s about as far as my imagination goes these ays. I used to think all the time about suicide - stupid thoughts - just because it was part of my nature. don`t have those moments when I feel that way anymore. Life it pretty full. It`s mostly about music and ot much about explaining. Most days are more inspired than not. I feel like I`ve passed through a certain door in my life and that I`m standing in a different room now.