Some could argue that Shawn Colvin’s career is the most endurable and longstanding than most solo folk artists in the music industry. Seven years after winning Best Contemporary Folk album in 1991, She won two Grammy’s – Record and Song of the Year for her hit “Sunny Came Home.” We caught up with Shawn on a Wednesday afternoon over the phone to talk about past memories, motherhood, and more.
P&W : Are you excited to play Carnegie Hall on the 11th?
Carnegie Hall – I’ve played in Carnegie Hall in a trio in the 90s. I played there for concerts that played tribute to other artists.
P&W: Do you like spending time in NY?
Yes. It’s where I started playing music, so I love it.
P&W: What do you like about songwriting?
Songs are personal. It translates into sharing them. It’s a friend, a power that is there that you go to. But it can also be hard work.
P&W: What was it like winning a Grammy?
I’d made a few records by that time. It was 1998 I think. I’d won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk record but as far as getting songs on the radio it hadn’t happened yet, so it was nice having songs on the radio. I didn’t expect it. I felt good about the work. It was a really fun time.
P&W: Did you know Sunny Came Home was going to be a hit?
Sunny came home – I didn’t have a feeling about it. When the record first came out and I played solo shows and there was always a great reaction every time, as well as some other ones on that record.
P&W: What do you like about playing solo and what do you like about playing with a band?
I like the intimacy of playing solo and you can go with how you’re feeling. Some bands can wing it and there’s a joy of making music with other people.
P&W: What do you enjoy doing becides music?
Parenting is inspirational. I have a sixteen year old and she’s always growing up and changing.
P&W: Is she musical ?
She taught herself to play guitar. I also like fabric and color and textures.
P&W: What was it like writing a book?
A lot of pages to stare at. It was therapeutic and hard work. I had to search for a difference voice. It was a good challenge.
P&W: What was NY like when you were bubbling under?
It was great. I played a lot of different types of music in NY. Country, pop- mostly solo because it’s what I grew up on . Every genre – not only tons of players and great people. It was exciting. One of the most exciting times of my life. And there’s so much talent that it’s good to be around. People light a fire under you.
P&W: What’s your most memorable show?
Oh my god. I don’t think I can possibly distill it down to that. I consider NY my town, because I think the biggest surprise for me when I was touring the country I went to Salt Lake City. I thought it would be pretty tame because mormon’s live there and I was like; no one is gonna come out. But they were great and wildly enthusiastic
P&W: Where in NY do you like hanging out and/or playing?
City Winery is great.
P&W: I work there!
That’s awesome. It’s great.
P&W: Lastly, being a woman in the industry – is that tough?
The surge of popularity amoung female artists when I came out. They’re just artists. The distinction – that tells you something. It’s just not the battle I chose to fight. I do what I do, I have fans that come out to my shows and it’s been twenty five years. I can support myself. I’m very lucky.
P&W: And we’ll keep listening. Thanks Shawn!
Don’t Miss Shawn at Carnegie Hall on 4-11!
Article by: Hillary Barleaux