Gone are the days that questions surrounding Sheryl Crow’s relationship status help fill the racks at newsstands, and gone are the nights of her waiting until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard. These days, she is more likely to be found dancing with her two sons, Levi and Wyatt, in pajamas at their home, located outside of Nashville. Despite Crow’s nine Grammy awards and album sales reaching more than 50 million, her sons, ages 5 and 7, prefer the sounds of pop music — such as Fifth Harmony’s “Worth It” — to their mom’s top hits.
Crow made the decision to adopt her sons — first in 2007 and again in 2010, and Levi and Wyatt have been her main focus ever since. “I have had some great relationships; I have had some interesting relationships and I have had some pretty not-so-great relationships … I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I have a great mom and a great family,” she explains. “After having cancer, I came to the realization that the picture you give yourself of how life is supposed to be is just a story … all of these children who come into the world, they need love. They need someone who is committed to being their advocate, their guardian, their mom,” she enthuses. Crow may have traded in her sold-out nightly shows for her home dance parties, but she still spends time in the recording studio and onstage. With her recent performance on her red, white and blue Telecaster guitar at the Pilgrimage Music Festival as proof, it is safe to say she is still killing it.
“You know, I still really love what I do,” Crow shares. “I love making music; I love writing. I always feel like my best work is in front of me, so that keeps me intrigued and motivated … as a writer, life always informs your art. For me, songwriting is something I really enjoy, but also something that is a necessity. I can sit and complain about the happenings of the world, or I can sit down and write a piece of music that actually changes the molecules. That is really where my joy is derived.” Crow allows her music to speak for itself and would give that advice to young, rising musicians. When given the opportunity, she encourages them to play their music authentically and allow themselves the ability to grow as artists.
It has been 22 years since Crow’s rise to fame and the launch of her first album “Tuesday Night Music Club,“ and although she would encourage her younger self to work a little less and stop to smell the roses a little more, she would never rewrite her past, even if given the option. She has spent the last 10 years building a life and a family in Tennessee, just a few hours from her hometown in Missouri. The decision to relocate was driven in large part by her DCIS breast cancer diagnosis, which came in 2006, six days after a public separation from her then-fiancé, Lance Armstrong. “It was just a frantic moment of Oh my gosh. What am I doing with my life? I thought, I want to go closer to home; I want to put down roots. After 22 years of living in LA, I never put down roots,” she reasons. “Do I miss LA? Not even for a second. As soon as I got here, it felt like home.”Los Angeles’ loss is Tennessee’s gain. We’re glad to have Crow as a part of the Southern family. Although she made the cross-country move 10 years ago, Crow just recently sold her California property, which included a 1920s Spanish Revival-style home, an early 20th-century Craftsman home and a late 19th-century cottage, in the foothills of Los Angeles. Many of Crow’s personal items that filled the rooms of these homes were acquired through her travels. “I am a helpless junker,” she laughs. “My mom and I used to go junking. And, when I was growing up, that is what it was. Nobody knew what they had — you could get unbelievable stuff.” Crow made the decision to sell many of these personal items at the City Farmhouse Holiday Pop-up Fair, which takes place this weekend in downtown Franklin, TN. Along with 35 vendors from across the country, Crow will be selling antique and vintage items. “I have an eye for the weird and wacky,” she says of her personal taste. “I had an interior designer for three weeks and that was just great, and then it wasn’t. We parted ways very amicably. I like doing it on my own; it is just fun.”
As a longtime shopper at City Farmhouse, Crow first approached Kim Leggett, City Farmhouse owner, with the idea to sell pieces of her collection, which include antique and vintage home décor and furniture, clothing and other items. There are two pieces in Crow’s collection that she found particularly difficult to part with: an old rolltop desk and a piece that was most likely derived from a turn-of-the-century carnival ride or stage set. The proceeds from these pieces — and all other items — will be donated to World Food Program, an organization Crow has worked with through the years. “I feel like right now, this is a good project to be involved with, especially with the urgent food needs of the refugees.”
This venture falls in line with her desire to dedicate her time to things that push humanity forward, that are interesting and have meaning. Crow is currently raising her boys with hopes that they grow into men who are going to make a difference, or at least who are going to be happy and productive. She also has her hand in the production of a Broadway musical, set to open this fall, and a show for CNN, which will hopefully air in the spring. We can also expect to hear new music from Crow soon. She is in the process of making a record with people she loves; Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson are just a few who fall into this category. “I am hoping that Neil Young will come through. He has such a great voice, such a unique experience,” Crow tells us. She recently worked with St. Vincent (Annie Clark) and reunited with the Dixie Chicks. The move back to the South has influenced her sound and allowed her to get back to her roots. “Nashville is earning its well-deserved reputation for being a great place to live … I go to the Ryman — I just saw Kacey Musgraves play there. It’s great to be in a town where you can drive down the street and see great people play.” We agree Sheryl, we agree.
Crow attributes her longevity to good old-fashioned hard work. With the work ethic her parents instilled in her from an early age, she pushed her career forward. “I was raised — by both my parents, but particularly my dad — with this very strong, pertinent work ethic and the idea that if you work really hard, good things would happen; you move in the direction you are meant to go by virtue of your hard work. I didn’t — until much later — learn that is not always the norm. There is a dark side to any business where there is big money being made. Things happen unfairly. Music has become a very lucrative business. For a few.”
As a woman, Crow faced additional challenges as she rose in the music industry. “Especially when I was coming up, there were no female producers. I wound up producing my second record – not because I wanted to, but because my producer left. It was actually a wonderful experience, one of which I thought, Okay, I will take that experience and produce my next three records. Even in the way they brand you. This way of styling you and making sure you are using your sexuality to sell your music, it was present and was really starting to come into play more. Once Madonna did the Sex book, it changed things for everyone.”
As Crow sits back, dressed in a fitted, plaid blazer, black skinny jeans and black slip-on sneakers (that she informed us she found at Free People), she seems happy; she seems at ease. She is excited for her future and comfortable with her past. At that moment comes a welcome interruption, as her 5-year-old son Levi pulls her aside to tell her how neat a wooden basket in the corner of City Farmhouse would look filled with his Tonka trucks. And, of course, Crow agrees.
Held in Jamison Hall at The Factory at Franklin, City Farmhouse Holiday Pop-up Fair will feature antique and vintage goods from 35 hand-selected vendors. There will also be gift items, including upcycled clothing, handcrafted jewelry, handmade art and repurposed pieces, perfect for holiday shopping. Sheryl Crow will be a guest vendor at the event and will offer a range of goods from her personal collection. Early access will be granted to ticketholders at the Preview Party on Friday, November 13, from 5 to 9 p.m. Get your $40 ticket at the door (online sales have closed). During the preview party, Crow will be on-site from 6 to 7 p.m. and she will return on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are $10 and can be purchased at the door of Jamison Hall each day.
Thanks to Ramiah Branch for taking these fantastic photos exclusively for StyleBlueprint.