There is a lot to like about Sharon Van Etten. She is one of the most intriguing upcoming musicians working today thanks to her critically acclaimed lyrics, talented vocals and accessible yet thoughtful folk songs. Plus, she happens to be an overall pleasant person, as The Daily Cardinal found out in a recent interview. All of this creates reason to be excited for her April 8 show at der Rathskeller, a sentiment Van Etten shares with the Midwest leg of her latest tour.
""People are so hospitable in the Midwest, really friendly. And that's a breath of fresh air, outside of east coast city-style life,"" Van Etten said.
But the most anticipated aspect of the tour for Van Etten is the simple element of performing in front of an audience.
""I love performing for people, and I love [when] people can take something from my songs, and I'm really proud of what we're doing,"" Van Etten said. With a career young enough that Van Etten's dad still constantly looks up her name on Google, Van Etten is still able to maintain an earnest enthusiasm for her fans.
""It is a little overwhelming on the level of ‘How did you hear about me? How do you know me?' But it's awesome that people like my music and relate to it, because that's really important to me,"" Van Etten said.
But the success of her first two albums has not been without frustrations, particularly when it comes to classifying her music.
""Describing your music is tricky, and I try not to do it. But people love to put labels on things,"" Van Etten said. She further commented on the particular difficulties of folk artists like herself – and whether the terms that are most often associated with her music actually apply.
""People need something to relate to, and you have to start somewhere,"" Van Etten said. ""And the singer-songwriter thing is the same thing as folk. It's like, of course, I sing and I write songs - why does it need to have this negative connotation of the girl singing about her feelings? Why is there a negative connotation to the singer-songwriter? Because that's what I am.""
But Friday's show is unlikely to be filled with people looking for a touchy-feely act, however. It's more likely to be a hall filled with people who have grown to appreciate quality songwriting, and in that respect, Sharon Van Etten seems up to the task.