Shawn Colvin • With the release of her memoir “Diamond in the Rough,” Shawn Colvin, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter based in Austin, officially added “author” to her biography. Ms. Colvin said she was careful not to let “Diamonds” evolve into either a self-help book or a name-calling laundry list of ways she thinks she has been wronged. Instead, like many of Ms. Colvin’s greatest hits, the book is candid about her heartaches but also comically self-deprecating. She balances the serious admission that she needs medication to combat her depression with a funny anecdote about the time she wet herself on national television while dancing with ’N Sync during a late ’90s Disney Christmas special.
“I don’t have expectations anymore,” Ms. Colvin said. “I have hopes. I’m 56 years old, and I’ve seen a lot of people have big records. And not everybody is around anymore. In my own way, I am.”
In an ambitious bit of old-media, cross-promotional synergy, Ms. Colvin’s publisher, William Morrow/ HarperCollins, doubled down and timed the book’s release to coincide with her first new studio album in six years, All Fall Down, released on Nonesuch Records.
About the book:
After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit “Sunny Came Home,” Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and setting fires. Diamond in the Rough recounts this passionate musician’s coming-of-age, from the prairies of South Dakota to the dark smoky bars in Austin, Texas, to the world stage at the Grammys.
Humorous and deeply honest, Colvin relates the experiences behind her best-loved songs in vivid color in this memoir. Diamond in the Rough captures her years of touring cross-country in bands and vans full of guys; falling in and out of love; meeting heroes like Joni Mitchell; searching for her musical identity; and making friendships that would last a lifetime. It is also an unflinching account of Colvin’s struggles—weathering addiction and depression, learning to care for not only herself but also a child—and, always, channeling those experiences into song.
With the wit, lyricism, and empathy that have characterized Colvin’s performances and inspired audiences worldwide, Diamond in the Rough looks back over a rich lifetime of highs and lows with stunning insight and candor. In its pages, we witness the inspiring story of a woman honing her artistry, finding her voice, and making herself whole.
“[Colvin is] a gifted conversational writer with a wicked and unabashedly goofy sense of humor … Her buoyant spirit fairly leaps off the stage, and her self-deprecating wit is as keen and quirky in recalling her brief brush with superstardom as it is applied to an ill-fated relationship.”
— USA TODAY