Elton John is joined by singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten on the latest episode of Rocket Hour. She tells Elton about the inspiration behind his latest album “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong”.
Sharon Van Etten on Making Her Latest Album, ‘We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong’
I had just moved to California in September 2019 and finished building my studio in January 2020 in my garage. And sooner than later, I was challenged by the universe to call my bluff on all the reasons I moved to California. And I started to write. And when I tend to write, I don’t really know what I’m writing about. I just write about everything I go through. And I analyze all the feelings and emotions of having a family and moving and understanding what this new uprooting means and in terms of the end of the world.
Sharon Van Etten on moving to California
It’s very different from the New York scene, but having a family and wanting more space in nature… Initially, I thought it was going to be a great idea. And for many reasons it was, but environmental changes are quite discordant between fires and earthquakes and things like that. But I love it for the collaborations and the artists I met while I was there.
Sharon Van Etten on collaborating with other artists on her new record
Especially people I had become friends with since my previous album. Zach Dawes is an artist who actually helped make this Josh Homme cover. And he played a big part in helping me figure out what the sonic palette of this record was going to be, as I figured out what I wanted the instrumentation to be. But the band that played there is mostly my touring band now.
Elton John on Phoebe Bridgers, Nova Twins, Wet Leg and the Many Great Female Composers
There are so many great female songwriters who are artists in their own right and make all kinds of music. In Britain we have people like the Nova Twins, who make great rock and roll records. Wet leg. And there you have Phoebe Bridgers, yourself. And it’s a steady stream of brilliant musicians. And I just think that’s great because to me, with a few exceptions, you write the best music and make the best records. And it’s really great to see. And you make records, to be honest with you, that I could play your record now and twenty years from now it would sound as good as it did when it came out. And that’s what I love about it.
Elton John likes the music of Sharon Van Etten
ELTON JOHN: You’re pretty good at writing songs and making great, beautiful records that you can sit on after a long day and just put the record on vinyl and just listen to it and just get lost in it. And I think that’s the best thing I can say about music. It touches me, it takes me somewhere else and it warms me inside. It’s just awesome. And that’s why I like doing this radio show, it’s because I hear records that some people don’t listen to. But you are much loved in this country. And you are highly regarded in this country, and rightly so. And we’re going to perform “I’ll Try” on the show. I promise you that we will promote this record all the way from now on. And I really am, I’m quite nervous talking to you because I love you so much. And I did for a long time.
SHARON VAN ETTEN: Oh, stop. I’m nervous talking to you. Are you kidding me? You are celebrated in my family and in my partner’s family. My partner told me he’s been dressing in drag with his boots and boas since he was a kid. His older sister used to dress him up and they would just… You’re still a huge…
ELTON JOHN: I always dress in drag.
SHARON VAN ETTEN: But your voice is right… It was definitely an influence.