said in concert the other night that you got started as a classical
violinist and only eventually learned about Irish music and pop music.
How did your musical tastes evolve?
My first musical
interest would have been my parents, because they had a band. They
played on the weekends. Basically, they were playing everything that
was in the top 10 for years. I suppose the top ten at the time, you
know, in the early 70s, it was like the Carpenters, The Eagles, Simon &
Garfunkel, all this very, very richly melodic stuff with amazing
harmonies as well. So I think that would have probably provided the
bedrock for all of us. Then they started me on classical violin. I do
love classical music. I really feel that ultimately did very much
influence my violin playing, because I'm not strictly trad. I'm very
much a fusion of classical and trad. I think that's why it became our
own sound, because I didn't do it in the purist sort of way. Because,
really, I didn't know how to. (laughs) Nor did I really want
Obviously, I grew up
being surrounded by Irish music, so that was just part of your life.
You never thought about knowing it or not knowing it. It was in every
pub. Great singers and great singing in Ireland, singing a lot of Irish
ballads. The likes of Mary Black and Dolores Keane and all those
people. I actually started looking at it and working on it I think when
I was around... my God, what age do I think? I would have been 16 or 17
when I finally decided that all structures worked for me. I probably
didn't have the discipline. I was just much more rock and roll. And I
was always writing my own music, so I didn't really see that there was a
facility for me to keep that going within the classical world. I was
basically writing songs from the age of six.
Not too many violinists get to become pop music stars. Do you ever
wonder how you became the exception and still get to stay true to your
Well, I have so many
musical roots that I'm not true to one of them. It's kind of like my
own fusion of what I do. I don't know how much luck is involved, to be
honest. You know what I mean? I think more persistence. I was a
little bit... and I always have been... I'm pretty kind, but I'm also
stubborn when it comes to doing things musically my own way. In other
ways, I let people get on with it. If they know way better than me,
that's absolutely fine, I don't need to get involved. (laughs)
But musically, I just know my way. I know where I want to go with it.
It's wonderful that I was able to do that. Obviously, it is incredibly
difficult to make it in this past-rock world. There is like a 99.9999%
failure rate. At the same time, it's where I was going to work harder.
With The Corrs, Andrea handled the lead vocals. Are you enjoying
having your voice out front as a solo act?
I do. I really
enjoyed almost discovering my voice. The longer I've been singing, I
felt the more hidden depths there are to my voice. It's growing all the
time. I'm really happy about that. In one way, it's a bonus. I was
singing lead with Jim when we had the little duo together a long time
ago [an early precursor of The Corrs while Andrea and Caroline were
still in University]. [With The Corrs] we all played different
instruments. I played the violin. We took those natural roles within
the band. It worked very, very well for us. I adore Andrea's voice. I
just adore listening to it.
I think for me, in a way it acted to save my voice, because I was just
doing backing vocals. You can find an awful lot of singers, they get to
a stage when they've been doing it that long that they don't know how
they are doing it or why they are doing it, but they know that people
love their voice. But they are sometimes not using it properly. For
me, that worked to preserve my voice in a way. Now it's very good and
it works really, really well for me. It's developing all the time. I
love that. I love singing my own songs and being out front there,
because I'm representing myself.
Lots of the songs on
The Same Song have a very retro feel, like "Raindrops" –
which for some reason reminded me of that old Neil Sedaka song "Laughter
in the Rain"...
Oh, gosh, yeah. I
remember it. (sings a snatch of the song) What a beautiful
Runaround" or "Upon an Ocean." Were you looking to give the album sort
of a timeless vibe?
intentional. I almost discovered it as I was doing it. I never try to
dictate to a record before I'm doing it, because basically you can't.
You aren't really aware of what's in your heart and what your
capabilities are before you set out upon it. The funny thing was, very
much when I wrote with Mitchell Froom, that thing came in. I think we
work incredibly instinctively and sometimes we don't know how
instinctive we are. I knew that I should be working with Mitchell. I
knew from the first time I heard the Crowded House Woodface
record that he was the producer for me. Even before I'd ever written
songs that were worth producing. Perhaps I recognized that factor in
how he approaches stuff.
How did you finally hook up with him?
We were doing an
MTV Unplugged... this is The Corrs... and our manager said,
"Well, who would you like to produce it? Because you can do anybody on
this one." I suggested Mitchell. Mitchell was very keen to do it and I
was absolutely thrilled. We worked with Mitchell on the Unplugged
and then we did the Home record with Mitchell as well, which
was an Irish album.
For me, he's just
always been my choice of producer, because he doesn't impose on songs.
He serves them. He gets these lovely twists and turns musically. It's
inventive. It's intelligent. I feel it's at one with the way we are as
people, because there is a nuance all the time in what you say and the
look in your eye. People pick up so much more while we're speaking from
just looking at each other. That's what I want from music. All of
these little corners and nuances that actually exist in life. You never
just have a straight feeling. A straight, big happy pop song. There is
always the nuance of style and purpose. Something in it. He's
brilliant at that.
One of the lyrics on the album that really resonated for me was on
"Thinking About You." You sing, "Driving in my car/Driving through the
night/To get to where you are." What would you drive all night for?
My children and my
husband. (laughs) And I'm driving all night tonight for a gig
tomorrow night in Boston. Every day I'm doing it. (laughs again)
believe you said in the show that "Take a Minute" was going to be the
first single from the album.
Yeah, that's the
You worked with major labels throughout your time with The Corrs, how
is recording as an indie different? Do you think as much about singles
and stuff like that? What ways is it better and which are worse?
Well, it depends on
where I am. I'm actually with a label here in Canada. Universal. In
New Zealand, I'm with Warner. In Spain, I'm with Parlophone. It just
depends. We're really seeking out labels that are sympathetic to
champion singer/songwriters. We're not really seeking out labels that
have the likes of Lady Gaga on their roster, and they're not interested
in any other artists, because she's the bread winner. You know what I
mean? They just get completely subsumed by those types of scenarios.
I've always had total
artistic freedom, even within The Corrs. At Atlantic Records, we
dictated our own records. We had a bit of a fight sometimes, but we all
did our own thing. For me it's just that I don't need to run it by
anybody, which is super. That's kind of nice. You don't have to
convince them that you're doing the right thing.
I know on your first solo album you had done a couple of covers, but I
The Same Sun is all originals. Was it important to you to do all
your own songs, or did it just sort of come out that way?
I just kind of knew
it was that way. For me, I've always been a writer, so I'm not out
there to prove myself as a writer to anybody. People know I write.
Like in The Corrs, I wrote a lot of songs. I wrote like "So Young" and
"Radio." So I've done that. But for me, if you're a writer, you're a
writer. It also allows you to keep much more control. Then also it
just feels just more like your own. It feels like the truth when people
are listening to it, because it's your truth.
Also I did it a
little differently on this album, because I wrote with some other
people, which was not something that I would normally do. I did write
with Mitchell. I wrote with a guy called Don Mescal. "Thinking About
You" and "Raindrops" I wrote on my own. I wanted to experiment. I
wanted to see where my music would go if I wrote with other people.
Also, sometimes you're sitting there and you're working with somebody
and they're reminding you of other influences that you have. Or they
are influencing you with their own influences. It's like you have a
bigger buffet to choose from.
I noticed in concert you only played a couple of Corrs songs – "Radio"
and "So Young."
... You did do some covers that The Corrs performed as well. Did you
decide you wanted to limit the band stuff or just feel comfortable
enough with your two solo album's worth of material that you wanted to
focus on that?
If I felt that the
concert was suffering because I was using certain things, then I would
adjust it. Actually, they are loving it the way it is. I think for me
it's very important, just from a musical integrity point of view that I
do only what I wrote, so that I'm not sort of railroading on The Corrs.
It's so important to me that I go: this is Sharon Corr. Luckily, I did
write some of the hits within The Corrs, so I can do that. Then I would
do "Dreams" because it's a Fleetwood Mac song and I absolutely love it.
I do Irish music because that's my thing. That's the violin. That's my
other voice. But, yeah the decision is very much based on integrity and
just going with it. I could have done "Runaway," because I wrote it
with Caroline and Andrea, but I would just rather go with the ones I
wrote completely on my own.
Now going way, way back, obviously the band had gotten some acclaim
with early on, and then with stuff like
In Blue and "Breathless" things just really took off.
How surreal was it when after years of trying to make it you were
suddenly all over the radio and TV?
Very weird. I
remember the first time I noticed that we were famous. That we were on
the radio and people were recognizing us. It was in Australia. It took
off in Australia and it just was wild. It was absolutely wild. On the
other side of the Earth. I remember the time there. We paid it a lot
of attention. We saw a little spike in sales there. We saw the spike
when we were there in just gig after gig the Australians really
appreciated us. A lot of people at the time weren't even bothering to
go down there, you know? Then all of the sudden, it was just like we
were back for a tour and we landed at Cairns or something like that. I
remember going out, I was looking for a bikini, and every shop I went by
was playing our music. I was like: Oh, my God! Then every shop I
walked into, they went, "There's one of The Corrs." I was just like...
[stunned]. I remember we were all in a cable car, going up into the
rain forest of Cairns. It's just like a day trip. We were sitting
there and people were staring at us. We were going, "Wow, do we have
something wrong with our faces?" Or "Do we look funny?" Then we heard
them saying, "The Corrs."
That was kind of
wild. It was. Then when it hit in the UK and it was... like in
Australia, I think one in three or one in four people have a Corrs
record... and in the UK it went giant. After many years, but it went
giant. It took the second album to do it. That was just, again,
completely surreal. It was kind of great, though. (laughs) I
wasn't adverse to it. I just loved it. You did lose your privacy
overnight. And if you were having a bad day, it was pretty hard to hide
it. But an amazing experience. I really appreciated it.
you said in the show, obviously life on the road is difficult and has
its fights and pressures, but you are all family and have that bond
tying you together. Do you feel that the family needed to take a little
time apart professionally to keep the love strong? Also, I know you are
focused on your solo work, but do you think the band will ever get back
together to perform?
I don't know if we
will. I mean, there's definitely nothing on the cards. I'm very
focused on this. But I am open to the other. I think in one way, we
really don't want to dilute what we did together, because it was so
amazing. You want to almost just go: That was great. I appreciate
that. You don't want to kind of push the boat on it.
And when we did stop
working together, we needed to have families. We needed to get lives of
our own. We didn't have lives of our own. We just had lives with each
other. There is nothing normal about that. That's why I say it's a
miracle we're still talking to each other, because we sacrificed so much
to be together. It's a very loving relationship and I'm very happy with
that. So, I don't know. We'll see what the future holds.
What do you think of the current state of the music business? The
label system The Corrs came up in is obviously broken, with low sales,
piracy and ridiculously small streaming royalties, but young acts do
have many more outlets to get things out there. Do you think that a
band like The Corrs could have gotten an audience in this atmosphere?
I think we'd have
always have gotten an audience, because I think our music connected.
The first priority is the music. Then you worry about the rest. Then
you think about your market and all the rest. If you're writing
something that is from the heart, that is joyous in a way, but also
shows the sadness and different experiences and emotions in life, then I
think you're on to a winner.
But, I think today it
is extremely difficult. Yes, these others like it, people might like
it, but they don't... you can't monetize these outlets. (laughs)
So it's extremely difficult for bands nowadays, even though they go on
and on about how wonderful the internet is with free music and all this
crap, in my opinion. If a band can not afford to keep themselves, then
they can not stay working. It costs money to make records. I don't get
a bunch of musicians into the studio and go, "Oh, you'll do this for
free, won't you? Because this album is going to be for free on the
internet." The studio, they charge. The sandwich shop across the road
charges to bring sandwiches every day. Your instruments cost money.
Your flights cost money. So I think in a lot of ways, it's way harder,
because you can seemingly have success without ever making any money
that will allow you to travel and make more success, or buy an
instrument that you need, or make a record that you need to make.
I think there's a
giant misconception out there – okay, you're not selling records, but
you can tour. If you've never made a record, and nobody ever hears your
record, why is anybody ever going to buy a seat in a concert of a band
they've never heard of? That sounds very negative, and I would be
negative about it, because it deserves negativity, I think.
Music nourishes the
soul. It's one of the greatest things in the world. It has an immense
power to unite people rather than to separate people. More often than
not, religion is separating people. Music brings people together in
harmony. For me, I think that's worth something. If it's worth just
what it's worth, if people pay what it costs, then that's fine. And a
little bit extra for whatever you need. It really frustrates me that
people would pay money for a Coca-Cola laden with sugar, that's really
crap for their system, but they won't pay for... let's say a Neil Young
song that they will love for the rest of their life and will allow them
to escape and feel understood. (laughs again) So, yeah, I think
you got what I feel about that. It makes me crazy.
After touring all this time with your family, how are you enjoying
touring on your own? I believe this is your first US solo tour.
Yeah, I did about
three days last year, and I've been touring Australia and I've toured
Europe and I've been in Southeast Asia, as well. So I'm doing it a long
time on my own, now. I really love it. There is an element of it where
you need to get tour fit. Just from the point if you come in a bus,
taking showers in venues and then being ready for an interview and
getting on stage and also keeping my voice safe for the show every
night. I've just done twenty-something shows. I've just done four in a
row, plus a TV show the following morning. So, you can put a lot of
stress and strain on it. But, you know what? I would eat it up. I
just love it. It's just heaven to me. I really love it.
CHECK OUT SHARON CORR'S VIDEO FOR HER NEW SINGLE "TAKE
us Let us know what you