Songwriter Van Etten digs herself out of the dark with music

Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:33am EST
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Even when things don't go her way -- from on-stage technical glitches to complicated relationships -- American singer Sharon Van Etten remains cheerful.

You might not guess that by listening to "I Love You But I'm Lost", "Your Love Is Killing Me" or "Afraid Of Nothing" -- three of the 11 songs from her fourth CD, the mid-tempo confessional opus "Are We There".

It is the 33-year-old's emotive, strong and deep voice -- for which back-up singer Heather Woods Broderick's sweet tones provide the perfect counterpoint -- that is the potting soil of her work.

Van Etten, whose effortless ballads are reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's, draws inspiration from her dark moments, which she presents in "alternative love songs".

"It is draining but healing. It comes from a therapeutic place," the Brooklyn-born Van Etten said of her song-writing process.

She does not dive into the abyss, she gets out of it by writing.

"I only write when I am in a dark place. So writing naturally lifts me out of that place so I can be the positive, upbeat person I naturally am when I have my outlet," Van Etten told Reuters recently.  

Others, like her friend Adam Granduciel from the band "The War on Drugs", even call her a "goofball".   Continued...