New York is drowning in talented singers, but every once in a while a voice cuts through the crowd, calling on those who hear it to convert their friends by any means necessary.
With its breezy, bell-toned warmth, the voice of Brooklyn resident Sharon Van Etten is just such a specimen.
In two short years, she has drawn critical praise for the cold gossamer folk of her confessional debut, “Because I Was In Love”; lent her vocals to the Antlers’ chilling “Hospice”; and released her sophomore record “Epic,” whose full-bodied electric sound reminds one of the likes of Bon Iver and the National.
amNewYork spoke with Van Etten.
When did you know singing was something special for you?
It started off with “Wow, this is something I can do.” Through trial and error, I just decided this is something I need to do. It’s really cathartic for me. It’s my only kind of self-therapy.
You went to school for recording, but left the program. Why?
It felt like if I kept going to school for it … that I would just be going to school for pop music. I didn’t like the idea that there was a formula for writing a song. I dropped out and got a job at a venue, and started learning about bands on a different side of things.
Aaron Dessner of the National is helping produce your new record. What can listeners expect?
We’re still going to keep it minimal. He knows that my vocal is the center of everything. We wanted to do something a little more experimental … kind of setting a scene a little more. He has a really great ear for arrangements, and that is something that I am still learning how
If you go: Sharon Van Etten is at the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday. 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, $15