Sharon van Etten

Harriet Fitch Little speaks to Sharon Van Etten about new music, motherhood and going back to school.

Sharon Van Etten must surely be the most popular student at Brooklyn College. In the past decade the singer
—turned mature sophomore—has released five albums, toured the world with them, and made fans cry with the melancholy of her music.

In fact, a large part of the reason Van Etten is back in school is for the sake of her adoring masses: The music she writes prompts such confessional fervor among audiences that, she says, she felt she owed it to them to get some professional training in mental health counseling.

But the lecture hall packs a tougher crowd than any music auditorium. “I think I’m seen as the old person in class and they’re like, ‘Why [is she] here?… I don’t want to sit next to her because she might take herself too seriously or something,’” says Van Ett...

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