The Power of Music
- Singer Sheryl Crow shared powerful music memories that tap into her “inner kid” on her friend Chris Fowler’s podcast, Fowler, Who You Got?
- The breast cancer survivor, 59 recalled a story of working with the legendary Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones and still feeling like a fan. “I think a lot of who you are, when you develop as an adult, is still locked in to that kid [in you]”
- Music’s ability to take you back in time can be a healthy escape to help heal you while going through cancer. “I have found music and rock ‘n’ roll to be transformational,” survivor Joel Naftelberg tells SurvivorNet. “Nothing better on a Friday afternoon than to hang with your friends and listen to beautiful music.”
Crow, who beat breast cancer at 44, spoke about her experience with the legendary rocker and the power of music on her good friend Chris Fowler’s podcast, Fowler, Who You Got?. Fowler, a sports broadcaster, is also the godfather to her son Wyatt, 13. She has another boy, Levi, 10.Read More
“I think a lot of who you are, when you develop as an adult, is still locked in to that kid [in you],” Crow said, recalling her story of working with Richards, 77. “And I’m still a fan. When I flew up to New York and worked with Keith Richards for a couple of days, I’m still that kid who’s holding [the Stones’] Sticky Fingers and unzipping the zipper on the album, and yet I know him and I’m friends with him, and it’s two days of awesome, fun work.”
For the survivor community, it’s important to hold on to whatever ignites the kid in you, whether it’s music, writing or doing something else you love to fuel that inner passion, which can be very therapeutic.
“There was a lot of that surreal, energetic energy happening,” Crow said of working with Richards.
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Crow describes how music, for her, was a “visionary” ticket out of her small Missouri hometown (she hasn’t lost the accent), and muses over her memories of growing up in a household with a record player, “reading the album notes,” and “looking at pictures in Rolling Stone” magazine when she was her sons’ ages.
“I can hear ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ by Prince, and thinking I was listening to porn,” she said of one of her earliest memories with music. She also recalled the time when the award-winning Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana told her that her live show “changed the molecules in the room.”
“That always stuck with me because I always wondered … how it is that people back then would stand in a huge crowded space not knowing each other and being connected,” she said. “It’s the part that our phones have robbed of us in the past 10 years.”
“Music is always going to be that thing that sets us free, that helps us find solitude, that also gives us some sense that we’re not alone in our experiences.”
Crow confided that she has a hard time listening to the band Coldplay because it reminds her of a hard time she was going through in her life. “Music is that thing that takes you back to exactly where you were,” Crow said. “You get right back into the emotion of it when you hear certain songs.”
She compared her experiences with people such as Johnny Cash and Keith Richards to out-of-body experiences, and talked about how uncanny it was to be watching The Rolling Stones in concert in St. Louis, then 30 years later she’s working with Richards. Crow linked up with Richards and country legend Willie Nelson, 87, for a cover of the Stones’ “The Worst” for her Threads album.
Crow and Richards first performed together live in Central Park with a cover of the Stones’ “Happy” off of their Exile on Main St. album. “It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere,” Richards says to the massive crowd before the pair cranks into the song.
A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Crow was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in February 2006 after a routine mammogram and had a lumpectomy in both breasts. She also had radiation (to zap any potential cancer cells missed in surgery).
“With your diagnosis comes a lesson, and for women who’ve shared their lesson with me, it’s almost always the same,” she said to Health magazine on her experience. “Women are overachievers. We take care of the people around us while we work and do a thousand [other] things.”
The rocker gave some sound advice to women who have gone through or are going through breast cancer, that they need to learn “how to put on their oxygen mask first before putting it on anyone else,” which was admittedly difficult for her.
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Music Through Your Cancer Journey
It is common to struggle with a wide range of emotions while going through cancer, or going through it with a loved one. Letting out some of those emotions in a healthy way can benefit your stress levels. Music can make you think, feel, and it can also be a healthy way to escape back to some old memories, like Sheryl Crow did, that make you smile.
People going through cancer report that music helps comfort them and helps them to process emotions when others can’t.
“I have found music and rock ‘n’ roll to be transformational,” pancreatic cancer survivor Joel Naftelberg tells SurvivorNet. “Doesn’t necessarily solve anything, but it does let us dance on our problems for at least an hour or two. Nothing better on a Friday afternoon than to hang with your friends and listen to beautiful music.”
“Without air guitar, my treatment would have been incredibly sad,” music-enthusiast Marquina Iliev-Piselli tells SurvivorNet. “Before cancer, air guitar was just a way to express myself. I had a three-year-old when I was diagnosed with cancer. And it was basically a way for me to still dip into my old goofy self. Post-cancer, air guitar became a group of people that I could really lean on.”