Sheryl Crow exchanges music for votes

Sheryl Crow is giving away free music—a tactic she calls the “Tupperware” party approach to inspiring young people to vote.

The Grammy-winning singer announced a plan on Wednesday to give a digital copy of her album Detours to the first 50 000 people who register three friends to vote.

“I hope people wake up and emotionally engage in issues,” Crow said in a telephone interview during a visit to Los Angeles.

Crow’s giveaway is a kick-off to Rock the Vote’s voter registration drive. She is also offering a free download of her politically charged song Gasoline to anyone who logs on to the Rock the Vote website or anyone on the group’s mailing list, said the organisation’s executive director, Heather Smith.

Crow (46) was one of the founding artists of Rock the Vote 18 years ago. She said the Detours album fits perfectly into the group’s cause since the lyrics touch on topics such as adoption, breast cancer, the war in Iraq, the environment and Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s about the issues that everyone’s talking about, but there’s a lot of hope,” Crow said.
“At this moment in my life, writing about anything else would be uninteresting and impossible because I feel such urgency.”

Crow, who has advocated for environmental, health and humanitarian causes, said her fans know where she stands politically. But in this voter registration campaign she’s concerned only for the future of her one-year-old son, Wyatt, and the future of American democracy.

Crow suggested that more musicians should use their music to promote issues that affect Americans. She said she was inspired by pop musicians from the 1960s and 1970s, when political songs were performed by Edwin Starr, Buffalo Springfield, Marvin Gaye and Peter Paul & Mary.

“There was healthy competition among artists to create art that was commercial and political at the same time,” Crow said. “Our music [now] is not representing the times—at least not socially and politically. Or maybe we’re just distracted.”

Rock the Vote aims to register two million young people to vote by November—the largest youth voter drive in history by three times, Smith said.

“These musicians speak to millions of people every day, so for them to use their voices to inspire people is a key part of our programme,” she said.

Anyone who recruits three people to vote will have to log on to the Rock the Vote website and go through a verification process before receiving Crow’s album, Smith said.—Sapa-AP

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