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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 09:23 GMT
Talking Shop: Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is returning with Detours, her first album since beating breast cancer, splitting up with fiance Lance Armstrong and adopting a baby son.

It sees the singer, who has won nine Grammy Awards, tackling political and environmental issues such as the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and oil supplies.

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow had surgery for breast cancer in February 2006
A lot has happened to you in the last couple of years - how have those personal experiences informed and influenced this album?

My life really shifted in a huge way when I was diagnosed, but even more so in conjunction with having a very public split.

All that culminating at the same time really required that I revisit who I had become.

I think that's what these detours in our lives do. They take us on journeys that somehow lead us far away from what our original path was, or who we set out to be, and dictate that we come back and remember who we are.

And that is really happening on a grand scale also in this country. In the last seven years, we've become a completely different nation and we're now realising we're having to address some of the damage that's been done.

Was the writing a form of therapy when you were going through the cancer treatment?

Being productive is one of the things that kinda led me to getting sick in the first place
I didn't do any writing when I was going through the whole experience. I really tried to just be in the experience and not run to my guitar or computer to try to distract me.

That was a big lesson for me, to really feel the emotions and work through them as opposed to making myself productive.

Because being productive I think is one of the things that kinda led me to getting sick in the first place, just overworking and constantly being productive.

Are you officially cancer-free now?

As far as I know. I've got one more year before I'm really out of the woods, but yes, I think I'm doing good.

Did that make you take stock of how important some of the political and environmental issues were?

Sheryl Crow
Detours is Crow's sixth studio album
I was really involved in environmental issues for a long time. When [son] Wyatt came along, the environment became a really pressing issue. When you really think about what kind of planet we're leaving for our kids, it's dire and becomes very urgent.

This record allowed me to step back and write about the things that were urgent to me, seeing how we've all changed through the last seven years.

We've learnt to distract ourselves from what's really going on, we've gone to sleep and a lot of the negative that's happened in the last seven years has happened on our watch. But I'm seeing a real shift, and that makes me excited.

Can music change the world?

I love the idea. I'm not sure it can change the world but I certainly think it can resonate in people and start to wake up the molecules, just like Dylan did in the 60s. He became a spokesperson for what people were collectively feeling.

I am really enjoying the idea that it's possible to have an inspired leader again, and I hear that mostly from Obama
It bound people together, it gave them a common voice. I don't know if we're moving towards that. I'm hoping that as we wake up, then music will begin to matter again and be valued.

Who would you vote for out of the current crop of US presidential candidates?

I haven't really settled on a candidate, but I am really enjoying the idea that it's possible to have an inspired leader again, and I hear that mostly from Obama. The fact that he's really starting to incite some hope in people is promising.

Have you ever considered getting involved in politics?

Hell no. No way. I can serve my country better by being a musician.

Would you say you're optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

I'm very, very optimistic. I'm hoping when people hear this record they'll feel a sense of hope in the lyrics, even though it can sound kind of apocalyptic at times.

I'm hoping people will feel the sense of hope that I feel, that we do have an opportunity here if we can just pull ourselves out of this sleep state and really start to mobilise and create change, start creating our own future.

Detours by Sheryl Crow is released in the US on 5 February and the UK on 18 February. The musician talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Ian Youngs.

Sheryl Crow adopts newborn baby
12 May 07 |  Entertainment
Crow calls for limit on loo paper
23 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Crow starts global warming tour
10 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Sheryl Crow has breast cancer op
25 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Armstrong and Crow decide to part
04 Feb 06 |  Entertainment

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