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Sheryl Crow Talks Policing Music for Her Kids: ‘I Don’t Want to Explain W-A-P’

In a new interview, Sheryl Crow comes to terms with being a musician who respects the creative freedom of her fellow artists as well as a mom who doesn’t really want to get into what “W.A.P.” stands for with her boys.

Sitting down with Zane Lowe for an interview that airs in full at 1 p.m. ET Thursday (May 19) on Apple Music 1, the “Soak Up the Sun” singer/songwriter talks about what a conundrum she’s in as a mother to 12-year-old Levi and 15-year-old Wyatt.

“Viewing that through the lens of being a mom to two young boys, even raising boys in this moment where music is something that I police — which is such a weird thing,” she says. “I police what my kids listen to — isn’t that sick? And I’m a musician! I’m just like, ‘What am I doing?’ I signed up to be the protector of their innocence and I don’t want to have to explain what W-A-P [is],” Crow says in reference to Cardi B‘s explicit 2020 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “W.A.P.,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion. “My older one is 15 now and I’m sure he’s seen a lot more that I know about. In fact, I’m very positive, but he’s gotten over the fact that he doesn’t have social media. He sees plenty of stuff that he wants to see. I’m sure he goes around, but I look at their phones and stuff.”

Cardi and Meg unleashed a pop culture phenomenon on the world back in August 2020 when they dropped “W.A.P.” and also a censor’s nightmare, as you can see from the song’s lyrics here. It debuted at No. 1 and spent four weeks in the top slot.

In January 2021, Cardi took to Twitter to respond to people who criticized the rapper for turning off the racy song when daughter Kulture walked into the room, wondering why her own daughter can’t listen to her music. “Ya needs to stop with this already! I’m not [JoJo Siwa]!” the superstar clapped back. “I don’t make music for kids; I make music for adults. Parents are responsible on what their children listen to or see…I’m a very sexual person but not around my child, just like every other parent should be.” Looks like she agrees with Sheryl.

Elsewhere in the interview, Crow discusses figuring out how to separate her music from her sense of self after some big events in her personal life. “I can remember after being diagnosed with breast cancer and then also having gone through a very public breakup, I moved from L.A. because I had paparazzi shooting into my living room and trying to capture me at my lowest,” she recalls. “I came out of it making a pact with myself: I’m not going to go and write, I’m not going to try to write an incredible song. I’m not going to take this experience and try to produce something. Music is, it’s a salve, but there was a point at which, for me, it was bigger than a salve. It was like a life buoy. And I had to figure out some way to tread without that being the thing that was giving me self-worth. That’s a hard thing when you connect yourself so deeply with your work, that you have to sort of go, OK, if I’m not my work, then who am I?”

You can listen to the full interview at 1 p.m. ET on Apple Music 1.

Crow is currently promoting the new documentary Sheryl, directed by Amy Scott and released May 6 on Showtime. The film features a mix of new interviews with Crow, behind-the-scenes footage on the road and in her studio and never-before-seen archival footage spanning 20 years of touring, along with appearances from Keith Richards, Laura Dern, Joe Walsh, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile and more.

Watch two clips from the Apple Music interview below:

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