“I’m fighting for happiness” – exclusive interview with Sharon den Adel

The brand new Within Temptation album, Resist is out now! The fans had to wait for almost 5 years for the new material – but it was worth the wait! The band has a modern, fresh sound. In December – before their show in Budapest – we had an opportunity to do an exclusive interview with the wonderful Sharon den Adel.

Prior to the show, Sharon walked through the city. “Well, today I’ve been out actually because I love the city very much here. It’s really beautiful! I’ve been here a few times also, and last time our hotel was also located in this part I think, so I know the area quite well. Somebody from the venue brought us to the city and we took a taxi back, and I went to a Thai massage for an hour. Then walked around the city just to see a little bit here and there. I love the library! What a beautiful building! It’s amazing, it’s beautiful! So it’s pretty lovely to be back again.”

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

Actually, walking is Sharon’s workout, this keeps her fit. “I walk a lot in the cities, so that’s like 1,5-2 hours walking already. So, I walk the whole day, and then it’s like 1,5 hour on stage. I used to do sit-ups and stuff like that, but at the moment I don’t really feel like it. (laughs) And I think this is also a kind of workout. You have to have 30 minutes a day to walk – it’s very good and healthy for you, so I don’t do more than that, that’s fine. (laughs) I’m in the green zone.”

Did you know, that Sharon is actually semi-vegetarian – for fifteen years now – and healthy lifestyle is quite important for her? “It’s very important, especially for a singer!

I need to get sleep, I need to eat healthily – otherwise, I can’t perform every night.

So it’ gonna be for me now 3 shows back to back, that means no break in between, and I already have a cold, so everybody is sick in the bus. The engineer is sick, a lot of people sick in our crew, so I got sick too because we all sleep in one bus and it’s very easy to get sick. So I have a cold now, I need to drink a lot of water. I can’t drink any wine, so I made smoothies for myself with a lot of ginger, spinach and those kinds of things. It’s really healthy… These things are important, especially the greens are very important. More greens, less meat! (laughs)

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

I think there are several reasons why I’m becoming more vegetarian every day.

Especially ’cause I think it’s crazy how much meat we eat and the conditions of animals are really bad, especially when you buy cheap meat. I think if you buy meat, you should buy it from a biological farm where they have space and get good food. It’s also good for you and good for them. So, when I buy meat – we eat meat twice a week – I go to a farm like that. But most of the time we try to eat vegetarian. I think it’s a moral thing too, it’s the way we treat animals, but also because it’s not enough for everybody and you know, it’s bad for the environment. We have to protect our planet and we can do that by eating less meat.”

Sharon is usually very nervous before the shows. We were curious: how does she deal with it? “I have a separate room from the boys – not because I’m a diva, but because I’m really nervous and I can’t handle when people are very busy. So, you know: the drummer is drumming, the guitar player is playing on guitar, and I’m just trying to concentrate and focus, get relaxed, get ease…

But what we say each other – before we go on stage – is very important: ‘what are we gonna do tonight? We are gonna have fun!’

Because sometimes we forget why we do this, it is actually to have fun. Fun is the most important ingredient to be on stage every night. Yeah! Have fun with the audience!”

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

Did you know that Sharon is not “just” a talented singer, but she designed her own stage clothes and she still does that with the band’s merchandise? This time I have a dress which is from a JANBOELO collection. I’ve also designed a lot of times with him. You know, we had a certain style what I like, and together we work out on a new design every time. But I bought the coat actually, so… This time I didn’t design anything but it was my own idea to combine the styles. I did the styling part. So I bought the jackets, the dress, and the silver bra is from Marlies Dekkers, who is a Dutch designer – so I combined this time everything. But maybe next time I’ll design something again together with one of the designers I like. (smiles)”

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

And where does she get inspiration from? “I also look at brands sometimes, like Diesel, Levi’s or any brand I like or find cool – they have nice merchandise and T-shirts. You know, sometimes you combine from all kind of brands, you see things and ‘oh, yeah, that’s a good idea’ and ‘the colors are nice’, and ‘I’m gonna use the stripe from that one’ and then ‘Oh, I’m gonna do that one with our prints’ – just combine them a little. And it’s like everybody does this.

Everybody is inspired by everybody.

So, I look at that for the merchandise, and then for what I wear, what fits my body. I know what the pluses and the minuses are, and I take them under consideration. I have good legs and I have to show my legs (smiles), then the thing what I’m not so good at – I have to cover up at there the most as possible. And then also the material. What do I like? And what kind of colors would I like this time, and what is also nice to have on stage? Because it’s very hot on stage. So, it shouldn’t be wrinkled by sweat, because everybody sweats on stage. So, those kind of things are important to keep in my mind when I start designing a dress for the stage, or stage outfits for the guys.

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

MyTouche: -Nirvana’s „Smells like teen spirit” song is a special one for you. Why?

Sharon: -It was the first heavy band I listened to, it led me into really heavy music. And I love them, because they were a big example how important is it to stay close to what you feel. I still really love them. And I always admire artist who are genuine. And I felt like Nirvana was a very genuine band.

MyTouche: -They were my favorite band too.

Sharon: -Oh, yeah? (surprised) How cool! Small world! (laughs)

Sharon is actually a self-taught singer. Why did she decide to go on her own way? “I could go to music school but they wanted me to start with a flute, and read notes, so I said: ah-ah. (shakes her head no)

I just wanna sing. How difficult can it be?

So, I refused to go to a music school. My parents supported me and they said: ‘you can go to music school, we will pay for it!’ But I didn’t want to go to a music school, I thought that it was boring! I just wanted to sing the songs I like! And nobody wanted to give that kind of lesson.

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

I wanted to sing already when I was very very young, like 4 years old, and I finally went to music school when I was 14, and there was a project called ‘how to be in a band’. That was exactly what I was looking for! I volunteered for this project and they asked me: ‘what would you like to do, Sharon?’ ‘I would like to play the piano’ – booop (she shows that her nose grows longer). I didn’t dare to say that I want to sing. So after everybody had chosen an instrument they asked: ‘does anybody would like to sing?’ Then I chose singing. We had very nice songs, like by U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and we were playing, trying out things and learning, so I could sing those songs.

Photo: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog

And finally I got asked by boys – who were in an other band – who were also doing the same project, but they were like 5 or 6 years older than me. I was 14, and they were 20. And they asked me: ‘would you like to join our band? Because we think you sing really well, so it’s pretty nice to have a female singer actually.’ So, I joined the band. They were playing blues-rock music. I learned a lot from them. They were really really nice and respectful boys. And yeah, we practiced once a week and like once in a two month we had a show. But we did only covers.

Then I met Roberts and he was already making this kind of music and I fell in love.

I was a big fan of Nirvana and all these heavier bands, and he really got me into to symphonic metal music.”

“I think being happy is the biggest challenge for everybody” – replied Sharon when we asked about the biggest challenge in her life. “Not that I am an ‘unhappy’ person but it’s, you know… We get through a lot of things in life, and this search for happiness… So it has been a challenge for me, to love myself, enjoying life and it’s always a quest… You know, I’m a very positive person but still… Happiness is still something – it’s a choice also in the way. Well, not always a choice, but you have to fight for it. And that always has been an ongoing thing in my life. But I choose to be happy (laughs), and I’m fighting for happiness, so yeah. It’s worth fighting for it.”

The future is here

MyTouche: -Which is your favorite Within Temptation album?

Sharon: -Well, I think ‘Mother Earth’ is very special for me. It was a milestone for us. ‘Mother Earth’ was like… We needed to find a life after ‘Enter‘ also. I love every album actually but ‘Enter’ was special, because everything started with ‘Enter’. But Mother Earth was a time changing thing for us, we broke through so many countries – not because that’s so important, but I think we found our own DNA. That’s what we are, and I think a lot of albums were building on that.

Mytouche: -When you had started to work on the new Within Temptation album where did your inspiration come from?

Sharon: -The big part of the inspiration came from My Indigo. Musically anyway. My Indigo was a very urban influenced album, with a lot of strange stuff: reggae and laid-back kind of music, you know.

It was urban, but it has a lot of influences: Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilot… So a lot of things. It’s not very Within Temptation kind of thing, but that was My Indigo, so different.

But I’ve learned a lot from it – and it’s not like we are making urban kind of music now. It’s more like certain elements of the singing and the rhythms are very different than our previous albums. We have several songs which are very groovy now, and it’s because that we have different rhythms from a different scene. We try different things and then we still have heavy guitars, get different vocalize. It gets a different atmosphere, and it was very important for us. So, My Indigo was a very-very important project for me – not because I didn’t know where to go with Within Temptation at the time with music, but also because it was the key to the new album for us.

MyTouche: -“The Reckoning” music video reminds me a little bit of Star Wars. 

-It was not an inspiration, but we have Star Wars fans in the band. But no, it was not the inspiration.

The thing is that we wanted to do something futuristic, because our album sounds more modern and we felt like that we need a different image.

Automatically, when you see starships flying around and crashing down, then you get to Star Wars of course. (laughs) Everybody thinks that it inspired by that, which is a logical thing of course, but it was not really based on Star Wars, but I do see a lot of resemblances, yeah. When you want some futuristic… Everybody thinks about the same things, little Star Wars kind of. It was not intentional I think, but I don’t mind, I think it’s really cool. The comparison I mean. (laughs) And the nice thing is that we did the Reckoning video on Fuerteventura, which is an island close to Morocco. And that’s also where Han Solo of Star Wars was filmed. We didn’t know about that until we came there, and the camera guy said: „yeah, that’s actually where Han Solo did this” and all the boys said: „Aaaah! Holy ground, holy ground!” (laughs)

The brand new Within Temptation album, Resist is out now! Click & buy!


Don’t forget to check out the full gallery of  Within Temptation gig at Tüskecsarnok.

Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
Photos: Péter Tepliczky

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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