Singer, musician, songwriter. Born Sheryl Suzanne Crow, on February 11, 1962, in Kennett, Missouri, to Wendell and Bernice Crow. She has two older sisters, Kathy and Karen, and one younger brother, Steve. Crow began playing piano at age six. She graduated from Kennett High School in 1980 and the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1984, where she majored in music education. During college, she spent her weekends performing with a local band, Cashmere.
After college, Crow worked as a music teacher in an elementary school in St. Louis before moving to Los Angeles in 1986. She began recording jingles for advertising clients, including McDonald’s, and worked as a back-up singer. In 1987-88 she sang on Michael Jackson’s “Bad” world tour. She later sang back-up for Sting, Rod Stewart and Don Henley.
In 1991 Crow recorded an album for A&M Records which she shelved because it sounded too “slick.” She began playing with the band The Tuesday Music Club, comprised of Bill Bottrell, David Baerwald, David Ricketts, and Sheryl’s then-boyfriend Kevin Gilbert. In 1993 the group released the multi-platinum album Tuesday Night Music Club which included the smash hit, “All I Wanna Do.”
Sheryl angered the members of The Tuesday Music Club when she appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and claimed that the song, “Leaving Las Vegas” was autobiographical—omitting that it was, in fact, a collaborative effort between all members of the group. After this incident, the band decided that Sheryl should be on her own. In 1995, she won three Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Record of the Year (for “All I Want to Do”), and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Tuesday Music Club. She also performed a MTV Unplugged session in 1995.
Crow released the album Sheryl Crow in 1996, winning two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. She spent much of 1997-98 on tour, playing select dates on the Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon tour and performing at the 1998 Lilith Fair concerts. She released her third album The Globe Sessions in the fall of 1998, which won a Grammy for Best Rock Album. During 1999, Crow performed in Europe and toured with Lilith Fair throughout the United States. At the Grammy Awards in February 2000, Crow won for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, for her rendition of the Guns ‘n Roses hit “Sweet Child o’Mine.” Crow’s 2006 alubm, Wildflower, was nominated for three Grammy Awards.
Once romantically paired with musician Eric Clapton and actor Owen Wilson, Crow began legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong in 2003. The pair got engaged in September 2006, but they ended their relationship in early 2006. Shortly after the breakup, Crow discovered that she had breast cancer.
The diagnosis shocked the singer. “It doesn’t run in my family,” she explained to Shape magazine. “And I’ve always worked out and been fit, so I figured I’d never get sick. But when I was diagnosed, I realized disease isn’t about how fit you are. In my mind, it’s so much more about how you live your life and how much stress you’re under.”
Fortunately, Crow’s cancer was caught in the early stages. She had a lumpectomy and underwent seven weeks of radiation. After completing her treatment, Crow bought a horse farm near Nashville—fulfilling a childhood dream. She later went on tour with John Mayer that year.
Again hitting the road, Crow went on her Stop Global Warming College Tour in April 2007. She continued to show her dedication to environmental causes, performing at the Live Earth concerts that July. Pursuing her dream of becoming a mother, Crow adopted son Wyatt that year.
In 2008, Crow released her sixth studio album, Detours. “It’s about how I feel things are going in the world and what’s happened to me the last couple of years—the end of a relationship, adopting a baby,” she told Entertainment Weekly. The magazine described the recording as “her best-sounding work in nearly a decade.” To make the recording, she reunited with Bill Bottrell, who produced her first album.
Politically active, Crow has been giving away free digital copies of her Detours album to support the Rock the Vote’s youth registration drive. The first 50,000 who gets three friends to register will be able to get their free copy. “This is our moment to wake up and seize our power regarding the future of this nation and what it stands for,” Crow writes on the Rock the Vote website. She also played at an environmental-themed event related to the Democratic National Convention in August 2008.
Also during the summer of 2008, Crow launched a line of clothing under the name the Bootheel Trading Co. Next up is a Christmas album, Home for the Holidays, to be released through Hallmark Gold Crown stores beginning in September.