American indie rocker Sharon Van Etten has returned with her first solo single in nearly two years with the stirring new track ‘Porta’.
Last year, Van Etten teamed up with Angel Olsen to release the fantastic ‘Like I Used To’, a song that was crowned the number one song of 2021 by this very publication. However, Van Etten hasn’t released a solo single 2020’s ‘Beaten Down’, and ‘Porta’ represents her return to her own music.
According to Van Etten, ‘Porta’ was written “at one of my lowest lows. For most of my adult life I have struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety and coping mechanisms, and I sometimes let those dark moments get the best of me. During this time I felt very dissociated. Not connected to my body and I felt out of control”.
The answer, strangely enough, was pilates. That came courtesy of her pal Stella Cook, the owner of Base Pilates in North Carolina. “I was seeking a friend, someone to talk to who understands what finding the core means but also knows what my weaknesses are and can help me work around them and find my other strengths,” Van Etten says. “I knew I was entering a no judgment zone and I needed to be held accountable for my actions and Stella helped me step up.”
“We would meet once a week on Zoom, have a catch up on life over a quick coffee and then get to work. Then, a day or two later she would send another video my way so I had something to work towards the end of the week. She was encouraging, but not pushy. If life got in the way, I didn’t feel like I let her down – but I loved our sessions. I looked forward to them. I started feeling closer to her, and closer to myself, and it helped things seem hopeful. And I just wanted to share that with the world,” says Van Etten. “Instead of the darkness. Instead of my fears. My message is to work through them. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Reach out. Reach out to that friend who helps you reach out towards yourself.”
‘Porta’ is a lot more electronic and dancefloor-ready than Van Etten’s usual folk-adjacent music. But it’s unmistakably her, with that rich voice belting out lyrics like: “Want to hold head up, don’t want to stay down / I want to live my life.” I’ve never been to a pilates class, but I imagine this song would kill it in terms of motivation and energy.
Van Etten and Olsen are going on tour with Julien Baker and Spencer on the ‘Wild Hearts Tour’ in the fall of 2022. That particular tour doesn’t have any European dates, but Van Etten will be visiting the continent with a series of newly-announced tour dates for the summer of 2022.
Check out the video for ‘Porta’, plus Van Etten’s upcoming European tour dates, down below.
Sharon Van Etten 2022 European tour dates:
31 – Aula Magna, Lisbon, Portgual
2 – Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain
5 – Muffathalle, Munich, Germany
6 – Openluchttheater Rivierenhof, Antwerp, Belgium
7 – Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
9 – Loaded, Oslo, Norway
10 – Rosendal, Djurgarden, Stockholm, Sweden
11 – Syd For Solen, Copenhagen, Denmark
13 – Metropol, Berlin, Germany
14 – TivoliVredenberg Grote Zaal, Utrecht, Netherlands
15 – La Cigale, Paris, France
17 – O2 Brixton Academy, London
18 – O2 Institute, Birmingham
19 – O2 Academy, Leeds
21 – Barrowland, Glasgow
22 – Vicar Street, Dublin