My fourth studio album 'Are We There' is out today. I am waiting in the green room getting ready to play Jools Holland. This is the beginning of our European tour and we'll be out in the US in June. See all dates here:

Here is proof: And here is a photo of me: You can buy my album here:

UPDATE: Thanks everybody - nice chatting with you. See you on the road. Sorry I couldn't answer all your questions! Gotta get ready to go on air! Ah!!! xoxo

Comments: 209 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

dtnd23 karma

SVE/angel olsen/lady lamb tour please thanks

sharonvanetten20 karma

I'm down! set it up! 2015??? I think they're all booked up. Love those ladies.

ModestMase13 karma

What are some of your favorite albums to come out in the last few years? Thanks for this AMA! Are We There is a masterpiece.

sharonvanetten10 karma

She Keeps Bees, Shilpa Ray, Zachary Cale, and Doug Keith

mina7112 karma

what is your songwriting process like? do you write lyrics or do you think of melodies first?

sharonvanetten30 karma

I'm usually going through a really dark time. I pick up my recorder and my guitar or sit at the piano and sing stream of conscious for about ten minutes or so. Then I set it aside and don't listen to it for days. When I have a bit more distance from it, I listen to it and try to understand what it is I was going through and what I was feeling... Then I listen to see if there is a melody or a line that I can (and other people can) relate to and learn from. If I can't find any of that I don't share it. IF there is something to it, I work on it from there.

ravsrinivas12 karma

Dear Sharon, I'm a screenwriter but I always tell people that you're my favorite writer. Are there any films past and present that may have influenced your writing or your life in general?? xoxo

sharonvanetten12 karma

My favorite movie of 2013 was The Great Beauty... but one that affected me for a lifetime is Kicking & Screaming by Noah Baumbach. It still really touches me. thank you. x

silentseas10 karma

Hi Sharon!

Do you ever feel like there are certain things you can't write/sing about because you think being honest would hurt someone else? How much do you let yourself censor material like that?

Thanks! Can't wait to see you in Portland in July!

sharonvanetten9 karma

That is a tough one. I worry all the time that I am hurting someone. But that one person might be the only one who knows. And even then I don't think they truly have any idea what the song is about. When it is obvious to me, I don't share it. x

BigSAC195710 karma

Do you worry about being forever labeled as the "dark" songwriter ??? Any chance that you will write an albul full of happy songs ???

sharonvanetten17 karma

I know! Of course I think about it, but it's just not the way I write. I write for therapeutic purposes. And people just latched on to it. I don't know what else to do. I will probably do something else after a while. I don't know!

shespeakseasyy9 karma

Also, thank you for encouraging me to keep writing songs back when I first met you at your March 2011 Bottom of the Hill show. You and your music have taught me that it's okay to write about love, as long as it's done artfully. I am so thrilled with your success--you deserve all of it.

sharonvanetten5 karma

you are so sweet. thank YOU!


mina718 karma

how/when did you realize that you were actually starting to write good songs?

sharonvanetten24 karma

I am not sure. I remember the first time I silenced a room. I was mid song and the whole room of Zebulon just stopped. I almost started crying mid note. That was just a sign.

Roggia8 karma

Hi Sharon, I have a new bathroom, you're invited anytime. Cheers.

sharonvanetten12 karma

I'll bring my own toilet paper. x

grundpa8 karma

Will you be collaborating with Beirut on their new album?

sharonvanetten9 karma

I don't think so. I haven't seen Zach in ages.

da_governator7 karma

Hello Sharon, loving your art and loved seeing you perform at the Case Del Popolo in Montreal a couple years back.

Watching that powerful Walking Dead episode end with your song was really something.

Did you record a specific version of the song for them and did you get picked as an artist or was it Serpents that caught the show's producers attention?

sharonvanetten5 karma

that was a demo version that the show asked for. I wrote it before i recorded tramp and we released it as a special edition at the end of 2012 and my band mate doug keith added some cool guitar to it.

UncleT-Bagg7 karma

Hi Sharon, I'm a huge fan, thanks for doing this! I was just wondering whats your favorite venue to play and whats your favorite band you've toured with?

sharonvanetten9 karma

War on Drugs and Nick Cave were some of the best tours ever! And I love playing wherever my friends are... but Bowery is still my favorite. x

robrowboski6 karma

Hi Sharon I just wanted to say I think you and Beck and the best songwriters out there right now, Thank you for your music it has gotten me through some rough times and rough thoughts. Are we there is a life changing album for me to hear on so many levels. Thank you for all you have done for me and so many others without even knowing your music saved me.

sharonvanetten6 karma

Thank you. I'd give you a hug if I could. x

Lion_of_Judah6 karma

I'm from Ethiopia and I'm a fan. Favorite quote, please?

sharonvanetten16 karma

"Distance has a way of making love more understandable." - wilco

bobmen5306 karma

Hi Sharon, had a blast listening to your album. So happy to see you succeed. it's been a long road from Perryville Wine & Spirits.


sharonvanetten4 karma

aw thanks, bob! much love to you! xo

Kurzwellen5 karma

•What are the 5 most underrated records of all time, in your opinion?

•What is the strangest experience you've ever had, playing a show?

•Are We There, is a masterpiece, probably my favorite album of the year. Was it any easier or more difficult to record than your previous works?

Thanks so much for doing this AMA, I look forward to seeing you live on the 17th.

sharonvanetten6 karma

Meg Baird - Dear Companion Rain Machine - s/t Little Scream - The Golden Record Kate Wolf - Give Yourself to Love Ed Askew - Imperfiction

The new record just felt like a natural progression. It was challenging, but it was fun too!

l3ftofthedial5 karma


sharonvanetten3 karma

I've struggled with a lot of things. I like dogs and cats. x

wool_socks5 karma

How did you start working with Jagjaguwar? What's it like to work with a label through the process of creating an album?

sharonvanetten4 karma

I met Darius Van Arman from working at BaDaBing Records in Brooklyn and I had a lot of respect for how he worked with the owner, Ben Goldberg. I was also a fan of his artists and I knew I could trust him. In the recording process, they were hands off, and just waited until I was ready to share anything with them. They have been nothing but supportive. I am extremely lucky.


hi sharon :) what are your dream cover songs? the ones that you would love to give a new version or just record it in your voice :) ( so much love from brazil <3)

sharonvanetten6 karma

Cover songs are hard for me because I am such a fan of someone I would cover that I would be afraid of offending them. I still want to do Blondie's version of Hangin on the Telephone... and Pat Benatar's Heartbreaker... but I don't know. I usually don't feel right about it.

slumbertwo5 karma

What was it like to self-produce your new album? Sometimes having creative control isn't all it's cracked up to be (decisions decisions!). Was there a steep learning curve to this, or was it a natural evolution?

sharonvanetten8 karma

It was a natural evolution. I feel like I learned a lot from everyone I have worked with up until this point and my confidence has grown. I am still finding my voice and I will constantly evolve as a person and I never want to make a record the same way. That is boring to me. But this is the first time I had a band going into the record. And I was comfortable and open in working with them and it was easy to communicate with them and I knew what I wanted - but they could also do it better than I could once I communicated to them about it.


shefl5 karma

I really enjoyed your cover of Bruce Springsteen's "drive all night." Who are some of your other early influences? Also, I can't wait to see you perform in June.

sharonvanetten4 karma

i love bob dylan and the kinks, leslie gore, pj harvey...


br0_x4 karma

How was self-producing the new record? Haven't listened to it in full as yet, but I love your work! Bon Chance! :)

sharonvanetten6 karma

it was a challenge but very fun too. x

carissaj284 karma

When you first started out, did you play small venues singing by yourself with a guitar? If so, did you go on any small tours or stay local? How long were you playing these shows for before you got discovered?

sharonvanetten7 karma

I was playing solo since 2003. I didn't have a band until 2010. I drove around in my subaru solo for years. Things were so much simpler then. x

carissaj284 karma

Hi Sharon! You're a huge inspiration for me. Thanks for all the great music :)

How do you prepare for huge shows? Do you get nervous? Any before show rituals?

sharonvanetten7 karma

I'm so nervous. I like quiet and being alone and just being centered by my band. we have a high five chant before each show and give hugs.

anniefled4 karma

Hello Sharon! Your songs have always come across to me as the most raw and honest love songs I've heard. What are your favourite love songs and why?

sharonvanetten6 karma

The sad ones usually. Cause when I listen to love songs I want to turn down the lights and drink wine and be sad. With good reason...

StickWay3 karma

Hi, I wanted to first thank you for your amazing work, I have all the albums are great and I look forward again. And my ask is ... You want to change the musical style, as did Wye Oak? Or want to go with this? Thanks again, my english is bad, I'm from Brazil. Salad for all of us

sharonvanetten3 karma

I don't plan on things i just let things happen naturally. thank you.

tallinspace3 karma

Hi Sharon , The New album is amazing and is getting very positive reviews by tight arse critics across the board. Does that makes you proud ?

sharonvanetten6 karma

I was proud of the record before the reviews came in, but it's always nice when people recognize. Thank you. x

Finesse1173 karma

Hello! How/when did you discover what an exquisite complement Heather Woods Broderick's voice is to your own?

sharonvanetten7 karma

Aaron Dessner introduced us at a festival 3 years ago or so. It was love at first sight. I've never been able to sing with anyone like her. She is also and amazing presence and a really healing, smart person.

howardfeibusch3 karma

What microphone do you use in the studio? Thanks!

sharonvanetten5 karma

I think we used a Neumann. I'm not really a gear head. sorry.

tffnydvs3 karma

Have you started watching Parks & Recreation yet? You should, it's very good.

Very good show in Brussels this weekend. :) See you in Amsterdam next week.

sharonvanetten5 karma

I haven't! I need to! I know! ah!

cornelius19813 karma

I think your evolution as an artist and songwriter has been incredible to watch (and listen to), and think that Are You There is just brilliant, but there are a lot of your older songs that I think are too good to be forgotten, such as "Heart In The Ground" and "I Can't Breathe"...any chance of these showing up in a future release, like how you did with the Tramp demos?

sharonvanetten3 karma

Dude. I have hundreds of songs that haven't really seen the light of day. When I can think of a way to group them together and record them properly and make sense of them I will. I like those songs too, but they never "went" with anything. I won't forget about them. Promise. And thank you. x

Tovetove3 karma

I saw you a few years ago in London, in Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen - possibly one of your first (if not the first!) shows in the UK. I remember you were really surprised that people knew your songs, and you seemed kind of amazed and touched. It was the loveliest night. I was wondering - has that surprise worn off yet? And do you miss playing the tiny venues, or is the fame/money/opportunity to work with lots of other fantastic musicians worth it?

sharonvanetten4 karma

Every day I am blown away that people care about what I do. I will always write songs. I don't do this for fame or money. And I don't know how much longer I will do this because that scares me. I like where I am and I am afraid to grow. I do miss more intimate venues, but I also love my band and most of the smaller places cannot accommodate our size anymore. Also, the songs I used to play solo are hard to sing for me now. But I miss those days very much. I remember my first show in UK was in 2007/2008. My, how time passes...

emersonstrange3 karma

do you consider yourself a selfish person? it seems that most musicians sacrifice/burn bridges alot to get where they are and from interviews i've read about you it seems like you traded your relationship for your career - ?

sharonvanetten12 karma

As far as my relationship goes, I know it wasn't meant to be. Anyone that truly loves me and supports me ... there wouldn't have been a decision to make. Even though yes, I worry that my pursuing music anyway is a selfish thing to do, the people that come forward that remind me that I have helped them helps me feel like I'm not a terrible person.

Hoptown3 karma

I read that your ex-boyfriend didn't believe you were good enough to be a professional musician. Have you reached out to him and rubbed it in his face? I probably would.

sharonvanetten18 karma

No. He is someone I never want to see again. I hope he is in a better place, but I don't want to go back there. I am doing this for me, not him. x

kickingtelevision2 karma

•Which song off of “Are We There” are you enjoying playing live most? and
•What have you been listening to/ reading lately?

I’ve been thinking about how to articulate why it is that I love “Are We There” so much. The best I can come up with is: if you were to take the distinct characteristics from each of your previous records and add them together, you’d get “Are We There.” That is to say: it sounds complete, and distinctly SVE… and it’s really fucking awesome.

See you in Cambridge, MA!

sharonvanetten3 karma

  • So far, Break Me & I Love You But I'm Lost are my favs.
  • I've been listening to Glass Candy, Figure Study, and Lyla Foy and reading Denis Jonhon's 'Already Dead'.

Thank you so much. I am really proud of what we've made. x

ILoveIceCream252 karma

Hi Sharon! Congrats on the beautiful new music! My question is: If you could have anyone's awesome hairdo from history, who would it be? You can pick up to three...(Other than your own awesome hairdo, of course!)

Thanks- have fun on tour!! Shay

sharonvanetten6 karma

Winona Ryder or Lorde. x

JimBarr32 karma

Hello Sharon! Love the new album! Will you ever do a straight out rock record?

sharonvanetten3 karma

If it ever makes sense and comes naturally. I don't know. Of course I love rock music, but it also just isn't me.

howardfeibusch2 karma

Hey Sharon. I was wondering which mic you prefer to use in the studio on your voice. Specifically on the Tramp album. Thanks!

sharonvanetten3 karma

A neumann. Don't know which model though I'm sorry! I'm not a gearhead.

Roggia2 karma

Hi Sharon. Are you going to release the demos of "Are we there"?? Love the album!! And your cover of "Drive All Night" is AMAZING!! Come to Argentina sometime! Bye.

sharonvanetten3 karma

I don't know yet! Maybe! There is a demo on the b-side of the 7" single. But maybe at some point the whole album. x

irem32 karma

Hi sharon first of all are we there is amazing. I'm wondering do you plan make some songs with zach condon again? And please come istanbul again we miss you

sharonvanetten3 karma

If Zach ever asks and we are in the same town. sure! we will be back. i promise. x

detectiveburtmacklin2 karma

When you began writing and working on 'Are We There' what was your mindset going into it? Was it different from your previous albums?

sharonvanetten3 karma

I wanted it to be a very band centric record, and I wanted to guide everyone myself. And I wanted to work out of a studio that didn't have a certain 'stigma' to it. I am still trying to find my own identity and I didn't want the studio to attach their sound to me. You know?

Coreylev27902 karma

Hello Sharon, hope you are doing well on your tour. Saw you perform in Providence, R.I. recently, amazing live show. As a songwriter myself, I was wondering how you deal with bouts of writers block. Do you step away from writing for a little bit, continue to write through the block, or something different? Also, read an article where you discussed your love of wine, any particular favorite vineyard? Thank you for your time.

sharonvanetten3 karma

hello! Thank you so much. We had such a good time in Providence. If I feel like I'm going through a block, I go through old writing I haven't looked at in years and try working on that. If I feel like I'm forcing that, I try other mediums. I read, I go to galleries, or movies. I like to cook. I like to knit. And yes, I do love wine. And Tony Coturri & Olivier Cousin are my favorites at the moment.

mackasaur1 karma

Loved your sets at the Newport Folk Festival in 2012 and when you opened for Nick Cave in Boston last year. Especially enjoyed meeting you the latter time. My question is what prompted you to experiment with more drum machines on Are We There? What was the hardest part of blending your usual songwriting style with a more synth-heavy production style?

sharonvanetten6 karma

My bandmate Heather loaned me her omnichord to learn how to play the song Magic Chords live. I ended up loving it so much that I brought it home and wrote a lot of songs on it. That's where the beats came in. ha! nothing fancy!

leviathanbound1 karma

I'd like to thank you for getting me through many drunken summer nights a few years ago. Epic is in my top favorites as far as albums go.

Do you restrain yourself when writing songs? It feels like you don't but I'm not entirely sure how much of yourself you've decided not to share through your music.

sharonvanetten4 karma

It's a hard balance. I am still learning. x

elongatedscrotalsack1 karma

Hi Sharon,

I love your music. I wish you were doing more UK dates on this tour though.

Also Heather Woods Broderick's album From The Ground is one of my favourites. Is she planning on doing any more solo stuff? Ask her to please!

sharonvanetten8 karma

I am working on dates in November now. I promise we will tour through the UK again. We had such a good time last time. And Heather just finished a new album and is just now trying to find a good home for it. It is absolutely stunning. You're gonna love it. x

dacona1 karma

Hello! I've been to your last few Toronto shows which were all lovely. A few years back you played the Rex Hotel and I found my self waiting out front a couple of hours early passing the time in my head when you walked by in a small group! I was very surprised and likely stared at you as it's always strange seeing someone "known" in person. ANYWAY I wondered at the time if you figured I was there for the show. So the question is do you ever have an internal dialogue debating whether someone waiting outside of a venue you're playing is there for you or just a pedestrian?


sharonvanetten9 karma

I remember walking from the venue with a couple band mates and a couple friends, just caught in the moment, really hungry and looking forward to catch up after not seeing them in so long. I'm sorry the thought didn't cross my mind.