Sharon Van Etten's cover of Nine Inch Nails’ 'Hurt' demands to be heard

How the song influenced Sharon's relationship with her brother

September 30, 2020
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Sharon Van Etten channeled raw emotion and pain while performing her rendition of the Nine Inch Nails’ classic “Hurt,” for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Sound of Saving’s Song that Found Me at the Right Time series, Tuesday.

The “Seventeen” singer preceded her performance with an intimate message to fans, sharing her experience with depression. “It doesn’t make you a weak person for talking about your darker times, you know,” she said. “It actually makes you stronger by being vulnerable and open and sharing who you are with the people you care about.”

Cameras caught Van Etten laboring over her guitar in small home studio. Grainy black and white resolution adds a depth and isolation to the performance.

“Hurt” drew a personal connection with the artist from an early age. She described hearing the song while going through a difficult time in life. “I was the cliché middle child and always felt misunderstood, and then the oldest brother was the one that I connected to the most with music,” she said.

A true relationship began to flourish between the siblings based on their love for music, specifically NIN. “By the time 'Hurt' came on, I just remember connecting to it so much but also realizing that my brother had listened to it, and we’d never really talked about any deep feelings, but we always shared music,” Etten shared.

“It was my first sign that my brother was trying to connect with me on a more emotional level than just ‘we’re sharing music.’”

Just last week, Sharon released the EP I Don’t Want to Let You Down. It’s a collection of leftover B-side tracks from her previous LP, including the title track, which was also released as a 7-inch single.

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