Sheryl Crow is the first to admit that her life has been unconventional after the Missouri-native toured as a backup singer for Michael Jackson in the late ‘80s and became a Grammy award-winner not too long after with the release of her 1994 debut album. But one of her most non-traditional journeys came about when she decided she was ready to start a family and adopted two boys on her own.
“It wouldn’t have been my first choice to do it by myself,” the 58-year-old singer-songwriter tells Yahoo Entertainment. “But to be perfectly honest, I feel like the way that my life has — I keep saying the way that it rolled out, but it really is true — the way things have happened for me have not been conventional.”
Growing up in a small town, Crow didn’t think that she’d see a day where she was traveling the globe. When things started moving forward with her career, however, she realised that non-conventional may just be the way for her. Although when she pictured her future self as a mother, it was more difficult to break out of the norms that she was raised with.
“I think because I was raised in a really conventional household with two parents that are still married, 65 years, that you limit yourself by saying, ‘Well this is the way that it’s supposed to go down, this is the way it’s supposed to look,’” Crow explains.
“To be able to just say, you know what, I feel a motherly instinct and desire for children and I’m gonna row the boat halfway and we’ll see if it comes and meets me, and it did... Sometimes taking your perception of the way you think your life is supposed to look, taking that out of the picture really does create so much incredible opportunity.”
As a result, Crow became a mom to her two sons, Wyatt, 12, and Levi, 9, who she’s raising in Nashville, Tennessee, where she’s set out to provide them with a normal childhood out of the spotlight. “I want them to decide at what point they want to be living their lives in the public eye...I am proud of them and they are precious and beautiful and the most incredible, perfect boys in the world,” she says. “I can say safely that the way that it’s rolled out for me has been really a blessing that everything that I wanted to do selfishly when I was younger, I’ve gotten that out of my system, and now it’s all about my boys,” she says.
That doesn’t mean that the artist doesn’t have time for music, as she released what she says is her final studio album, Threads, in August 2019, and continues to write music with meaning. But she still gets told to “shut up and sing.”
“As far as writing what I want to write and people saying, ‘shut up and sing’ ... I’m gonna quote Taylor Swift: ‘They’re gonna be haters,’” Crow jokes. “It’s actually interesting that when you read, ‘shut up and sing,’ you go, OK, then I’ll sing what I have to say, and then you want to write those songs even more. But I am lucky and I’m blessed to be still doing what I’m doing and have the opportunity to not have parameters on me because of my age and not competing in pop radio. So I just kind of write what I feel like writing.”
Aging out isn’t a concern of Crow’s — although her latest partnership with Colgate for their Optic White Renewal toothpaste helps in her pursuit to stay natural yet youthful. “I think most people that know me know that I’ve embraced my age in a really healthy self-compassionate way,” she explains. “And it really lines up with how I feel about getting older, being able to use a product that takes 10 years off the stains of your teeth with just natural brushing twice a day.”
What “doesn’t feel natural” to Crow, however, is calling herself a trailblazer for singers like Swift, who have mimicked Crow’s outspoken approach to music. But as the “If It Makes You Happy” singer looks to the people who paved the way for her, she certainly hopes that she’s had a similar impact on others. “You want your legacy to be inspiring to other people,” she says.