Sharon Van Etten Quotes

  1. I like having a home. I like having a place to return to.
  2. I used to hyperventilate, but I don’t do that anymore.
  3. I don’t like to hold back. Especially with who I am and what I do, it’s all me. Everything’s my name; it’s what I do. It’s how I feel. It’s what I think.
  4. I think leading up to the tour is the most stressful part because you barely have any time home.
  5. I love how small the world is.
  6. I’m a really strong person. I’ve no regrets in my life.
  7. Brit Marling is very positive, very professional, very encouraging.
  8. I didn’t start writing with band arrangements until I was working on ‘Tramp.’
  9. When I can write a song in a way where I feel like other people can relate to it, and I can take it past being cathartic just for me, that’s when I know I can share it. Otherwise, I’d just feel like it’s selfish.
  10. I feel like I’m getting better at being a writer.
  11. Performing a song is intense. When I see people connecting, it makes it all worthwhile.
  12. I’m still learning how to be comfortable touring. I haven’t found that balance yet.
  13. Honestly, live is my favorite way of performing. Every show is a completely different energy.
  14. If I start panicking a little bit, I just talk through it with somebody.
  15. Everything will be okay. I have a sticker on my laptop that says that.
  16. I only work with people that are mysteries.
  17. I guess I usually write when I’m in a really intense headspace, because it’s my form of self-therapy.
  18. My mom used to ask me when I was gonna write a happy song. I still tell her that it’s when I start to write really happy-sounding songs that everyone needs to start worrying.
  19. I go back to things all the time. It’s really nice, too, like when I’m going through some kind of a writer’s block, and I’m feeling uninspired, I go to some of my oldest songs from over the years and sift through them, and one thing that’s very nice is to see how I’ve grown up a little bit. A little bit.
  20. I’m a total goofball.
  21. There’s something to writing a hook and something to writing a memorable melody. That’s what I liked about musicals. Then I realized I could write my own songs, and I didn’t have to sing other people’s.
  22. In some ways, being on the road is like summer camp. There’s a camaraderie, but I’m also learning how to be more of a leader.
  23. Half of my anxiety is about whether people are going to like me.
  24. You’d better have something good to say if you’ve got a roomful of people who’ve paid to see you.
  25. Time is very weird.
  26. I moved to New York to pursue music.
  27. Writing songs helped me figure out how to communicate with other people. I finally figured out that if I could express something in a song, I could probably express it in my real life, too.
  28. ‘The Boatman’s Call’ is amazing; it’s an album of love songs, really beautiful.
  29. I didn’t have my first band until I was, like, 30.
  30. I am my therapist, and I analyze what’s happening and if I’m being hurt in the process. The result is songs that are very emotional, very deep, although I try to write them generally so they won’t alienate the listener.
  31. On first listen, it’s nice to just soak up the sound without thinking about what it means. It’s like a relationship. Records I’ve had for years mean more to me now than they did years ago.
  32. Music is still my main thing, but I will explore anything that’s interesting and challenging.
  33. Everyone has their down days. Unfortunately, that’s when I am the most prolific.
  34. One day when I have a band I will have a band name, but since it’s just me I feel it should just be my name. For me it doesn’t make much sense since the music is from me and about me. I haven’t ever been in a band.
  35. I think there are times in a lot of people’s pasts where they’ve unintentionally fallen in love with really damaged people. You go out with someone who’s a mess so you can feel less of a mess.
  36. I can’t read notes well, but I can hear something and sing a harmony to it automatically.
  37. I don’t know how to get a crowd singing along. That’s not what my music does.
  38. I totally lucked out by meeting a lot of amazing people. I guess it stems from going to shows and being confident enough to meet people and be able to talk to them like a normal person rather than have my head down all the time.
  39. When I first started making music, it was where I went when I couldn’t express myself, when I wasn’t able to connect with other people, when I couldn’t talk about what I was going through.
  40. I try to focus on the melodies and try to make everything else minimal. The melody and the lyrics are most important to me.
  41. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a professional, but I like to dress up like one.
  42. I was pretty troubled for a long time. And I didn’t know that. As a kid, I never talked about my emotions. My mom gave me a journal, but I didn’t know what it meant. I just wrote all the time, not even thinking about it. But it also made me feel better.
  43. I’m attracted to music made by people who let themselves be emotional. They really care about what they do, and we believe in what they say.
  44. I don’t want to bury anything in poetry.
  45. I started writing for myself when I didn’t know how to understand how I was feeling, and I didn’t know how to talk to people about it, so I would break into the subconscious to try and understand what I was going through.
  46. I’m very democratic about stuff. I know what I want, but I also like getting opinions and people sharing ideas.
  47. I have this red cardigan that my friend Coco gave me that has holes for thumbs. It’s my cozy sweater. I wear it a lot.
  48. I’m trying to learn how to cook.
  49. My career is based off of me talking about my emotions.
  50. In my teenage years, there was a lot of angst going on.
  51. When I write, it’s to heal. It’s my own self-therapy so that I don’t actually feel sad all of the time.
  52. Relationships. Ugh. You have to laugh sometimes.
  53. I’m still friends with most of my exes. There are only one or two people that I’ll never talk to again.
  54. My mom is a history teacher, so we’d go on all these historic trips as kids around Halloween, because it was kind of creepy.
  55. I have a day job Monday to Friday. I work at a record label in Brooklyn called Ba Da Bing. It’s a great indie label and I listen to music all day. I meet people online and find out about the cool new music blogs.
  56. I’m really out of touch with myself emotionally. I’ve always had a hard time talking about how I feel.
  57. I love traveling. I love meeting people. I love performing, but it’s hard to be gone and to not have a real life and to just get the emotional love that you need from the people you’re traveling with.
  58. I hit ‘record’ whenever I’m going through a really hard time. I don’t listen to it for a couple of days, so I have some perspective. If it’s too personal to share, and I feel like would alienate the listeners, then I usually don’t share that stuff.
  59. My goal is to become a therapist by the time I’m 50.
  60. The dilemma I have is that everything I do at work is all about me, and at what point is that selfish? I’m just talking and singing about myself, or I’m standing on a stage and hoping that everybody likes me. Obviously, it’s also about the music and feeling and connecting; I know it’s deeper than that.
  61. I’m pursuing a degree in mental health counseling. It’ll be a long journey, and I still want to do music and other creative projects.
  62. I’ve always been really shy. I was always afraid of any kind of confrontation.
  63. I’ve always liked to learn how to do things – I’m a hobby person. So I’ll learn something at a beginner’s level, then usually move on to the next thing.
  64. Singing a song like ‘Your Love Is Killing Me,’ people are worried about me. My mother called me, like, ‘What’s going on with you? Are you alright? I thought you were doing fine.’ And I’m like, ‘I am doing fine. It’s just, this is what I do.’
  65. I’m not the sad sack that people might think I am. But I think that if I didn’t write and perform, I probably would be.
  66. Just getting older, you stop caring what other people think, but also, you know who you are, and you know what you want.
  67. ‘Imperfiction’ will forever be one of my favorite records and moments in time.
  68. I’m a sucker for a love song!
  69. My friends actually used to call me the ‘Female Conor Oberst.’ I got to open up with him once, and I told him about that, and he thought it was hilarious.
  70. I believe my songs are strong enough to stand on their own – even way back then when they were recorded badly and minimally.
  71. I wanna grow and develop as an artist, and I feel like different kinds of collaborations can only help me in that way.
  72. I used to work at a label. I used to be a publicist. I used to be at a management company.
  73. I was in musicals. and I was in the choir when I was younger. Before I started writing my own songs, I thought I wanted to be on Broadway, but it was nothing I ever really pursued.
  74. Every time I re-perform a song, I gain some perspective.
  75. I realized that there’s this fine line between being personal and being general and being alienating.
  76. I hate putting negative energy out into the world. But it’s either inside or out. I mean, it’s either get an ulcer or have a fight.
  77. Most musicians are normal people who want to hang out and are really down to earth.
  78. I’m getting bored performing the same songs over and over. Songwriting comes and goes.
  79. You write these vulnerable songs as a sort of therapy, but if you don’t confront people on a daily basis, it’s not reality. There’s still a bit of separation there.
  80. I always had a hard time communicating my emotions. I’d retreat into my bedroom and listen to music. And when you’re a teenager, you’re dealing with all these hormones. It’s like, ‘What are these?’
  81. If I make assumptions about the audience and start overthinking things, I can drive myself crazy about how the audience perceives me. I try not to do that anymore.
  82. I’m not a down-in-the-dumps person. I think some people assume that I am because of the music I write.
  83. I was without my own place for nearly two years. It’s such a cliche to be a homeless musician in New York, but luckily, I had amazing friends who let me stay with them. I visited my parents a lot. It’s not like I was sleeping in my car, though I might have done that once… But it was by choice!
  84. Whatever your writing is about, you’re really connected with it, and you can always go back to when that was. I remember everything, and time and place are like a center for me.
  85. I overthink everything. I’m just like, ‘Wait, why do they want to hear me?’ I start doubting myself. Other times, I’ll just get so emotional during a song. Sometimes I’ll cry while I’m singing. It’s so weird. I’m such a baby.
  86. Sometimes music should just be about you sitting on your bedroom floor, or in the back of the car, singing along stupidly. Evan Dando’s music was all about that for me.
  87. It’s really hard to watch yourself.
  88. I started playing, and people responded to it and connected with it and now, I don’t even know what I’m really connecting with anymore or if I’m helping people. Now it’s more of a business.
  89. I love being domestic: making coffee, just putting on a record, and just sitting, not doing anything. It’s so great.
  90. I didn’t think I was helping other people. But I think that comes hand in hand with trying to be able to connect with people, and if you make things too personal, then it’s harder for people to relate to you. Otherwise, it’s just them listening to you read your diary.
  91. I have a lot of alter-egos: I would love to be a back-up singer for someone someday. I have an electronic side-project. I have a ’90s grunge side project; I have a piano project… I have this industrial, goth-electronic song, super creepy sounding, just really dark and dreary.
  92. The studio is a time when you can do anything that you want to. You have that freedom.
  93. I get things out of my system through my songs, but, because they can be about so many different things, it takes me a while to get through them emotionally.
  94. It’s not onstage as often anymore, but whenever I got anxious, I used to talk a lot more, and I wouldn’t even know what I was saying… it was so bad. If I just talk myself through something, even if it’s just talking about nothing, it usually gets me out of it.
  95. I don’t think I’ll ever feel perfectly balanced, but I feel like I’m figuring it out, and I’m surrounded by really wonderful people that want to see me succeed and be happy. Life is wild.
  96. I’m nervous performing because it’s such a weird thing to do, standing on stage demanding people’s attention.
  97. People always ask me, ‘Why do you only write about heartbreak?’ I think I only write when I’m broken, so that’s just what happens. It makes me feel better, but having some distance helps.
  98. Both my brothers are drummers.
  99. I’m a late bloomer in music.
  100. I was so broken when I did the first record. I was living in my parents’ basement, I didn’t know anyone. I was broken-hearted and writing this really dark record. I was at the bottom of a well.
  101. As a kid, you put musicians on a pedestal – well, I did. The more you meet bands, and the more you hang around them, you can have normal conversations.
  102. All the records I keep are like friends I visit.
  103. Moving to New York City and doing what I do, social anxiety is a really ridiculous kind of curse to have. But I met people along the way who deal with it – performers as well – and they are learning to deal with it daily and deal with it in different ways.
  104. I’m a lot more secure than I used to be.
  105. I will entertain things that are entertaining and sound interesting and challenge me. But acting just doesn’t come second-nature to me.
  106. I work a lot with sounds based on stream of consciousness. I like the way it sounds, then I turn it into something that makes more sense.
  107. People relate to songs so differently. No matter what it’s about in reality, people create their own meaning behind it and connect with it on their own terms.
  108. I would love to work with PJ Harvey some day.
  109. I only write when I’m in a dark place. I hit ‘record’ and get it out, writing and playing my guitar at the same time.
  110. Hopefully, the stuff that is way too personal that I record and keep – people won’t hear it because it’s way too personal.
  111. Sadness isn’t an emotion that most cool bands want to talk about.
  112. Noveller make soundscapes that are creepy, ethereal, really beautiful and all over the place. They can be intense, dark, and groovy but also dreamlike and happy.
  113. The only thing that’s helped me get through some really hard times was just being able to write and express – it’s very cathartic for me. I’m hoping that, by writing and performing for other people, it affects them the same way.
  114. I wasn’t a very good salesman.
  115. I feel like, as a female, I am maybe hyper-sensitive to feeling pushed into a corner or somebody taking a song a different way.
  116. In 2015, I told my band that I was taking a break so I could focus on my home life, go back to school, and try to remember what it was like to feel like a human being again.
  117. I hate the term ’emo.’ It turned into this genre of music, when all music, if you connect with it, is emotional.
  118. I think, in general, I find writing to be very therapeutic and singing in itself to be really therapeutic.
  119. I have a hard time not wearing my heart on my sleeve and answering people honestly. You know, my friends warn me that I should be more guarded ’cause sometimes I am too honest and open, but it’s also just who I am.
  120. I always write from a personal place – whether it be about my friends or myself or a story that I heard.

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