In the following weeks, we will give you the full translation Sharon den Adel had with the Dutch magazine VROUW Glossy. This week, part two of the honest, pure and open interview with the singer of Within Temptation.
Read part one here.
What did you discover?
“That there’s still a lot of pain and sadness inside of me. Also things I thought I’ve put behind me when I was in my late twenties. My daughter is going to middle school now and that’s a time I have a positive but intense view on. That all came back to me. It felt like I had to get a clean slate, that I had to talk about it with people that are dear to me. Also how I experienced the past 20 years with Within Temptation. After our first global hit we’ve traveled almost nonstop. The constant pressure to deliver, to live up to expectations, deliver new albums. The success is like a dream, but it’s a lot to take. It’s not the most important thing in life. That is my family, because that’s what life revolves around. If there’s something that haunted me, it was the feeling that I had to be home more. I felt guilty to go back on tour.”
And then the fans that expect things…
“Yes, there’s a constant pressure to perform well on stage, in interviews, photo shoots and social media. There are high expectations and we raise the bar high on all aspects. I personally find it important to make time for our fans. It goes effortlessly and the fans know I’m approachable and rarely say no. But sometimes there are days when things are rough or that there is simply no time. Then I’d like to leave quickly after a show, but that rarely works out. Sometimes it’s just a bit much. I’ve started Within Temptation together with my childhood love Robert when I was 18. A big advantage was that my life wasn’t restricted. But in the end, fame is restricting too.
Do you suffer from performance anxiety, perfectionism or being a control freak? Raising the bar high?
“All of them, haha! Perfectionism is something we all have in the band. Maybe that’s why we got this far. The downside is that it takes out a part of the enjoyment and spontaneity. It takes a bit of the sparkle away, at least for me. Just like the performance anxiety. The first five performances of a tour I’m cranky before I have to go on stage. I see people thinking: ‘She’s such a diva, and the only one with her own dressing room!’, but I really need that to get myself in order, to get focused and get mentally ready for the show. The guys are okay with it, they share a room and have their own ways to relax.”
Do the nerves make you nauseous, before the show starts?
“My heart is always pounding like crazy, haha! The feeling of going up in a roller coaster, and then going down fast. I’m so nervous! I’ve tried so many things to get rid of it, like mental coaches, but I probably just have to live with it. Maybe I need it to perform well, it keeps me on edge.”
Are you a pleaser?
“Oh yes, a big one, but I’m trying to fix that. The problem about trying to please everyone is that you always fail. You have to make choices. And what makes one person happy, makes another person unhappy. The only way to get out of that situation is if you want to get your hands dirty, take responsibility. Sometimes something needs to break before you can change. Like in puberty, going against the rules your parents set. To break free and develop your own personality. Otherwise you’ll live the life they have set out for you, whilst you’re the only one who can decide which path is right for you.”
Your parents were expats and traveled around the globe with you… How do you look back at your childhood?
“As very special. Enriching but also confusing. When I was 18 months old we moved to Indonesia, where my dad worked for a company in telecommunications. We lived in a big house with gates and staff. A driver took us to the Dutch school. The country, the people, I have warm memories of those. After that we ended up in Yemen, I was 6 back then and we lived in a house surrounded by a wall. Next door lived a sheikh and his son. I went to an Arabic school, where they read from the Koran. I started writing English from right to left at a certain point. My mom started homeschooling me after that. The people were friendly and curious, but it was hard to make a real connection. After that we moved to Surinam, a completely different country. We went from one extreme to another. That affected me. I really liked Surinam though. Life there is so different: opener, happy, everybody is sharing. Truly wonderful. Eventually we went back to The Netherlands. It was a big transition and at my primary school I couldn’t connect and got bullied because of that. In retrospect I think the harder you try to fit in, the harder you become an outsider. The moment I stopped caring, it stopped.”
Did you tell your parents about that?
“No. I never talked about being bullied. A part of me felt ashamed, and if I told them, I felt like I wasn’t taken seriously. At a certain point I thought: ‘I’ll fix it myself’. There was a lot of love in our family, that’s not it, but sometimes we just didn’t understand each other. It’s my mistake I wasn’t more disobedient as a kid, didn’t speak up for myself. It made me who I am though, and I think that’s why I like to please people.”
Thanks for reading part two of the interview. On Monday 22 October 2018, the third part of this interview will be published online.
Original text: Jeroen Mei | Translated text: Anique | Production & Styling: Brigitte Kramer | Photography: Feriet Tunc | Makeup: Borka Florentinus