Jeremy Cowart
Sharon Little

Singer/songwriter Sharon Little always knew music was going to be her career choice.

"I just knew that's what I wanted to do," Little said during a phone call from her home in Ardmore, Penn. "I dropped out of high school and waited tables to pursue that dream. In fact, I would sing for my customers."

Within the past two years, Little, now 28, has seen her dream unfold. She signed with CBS Records and was asked to open the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss and T-Bone Burnette "Raising Sand" tour.

"I didn't want the 'Raising Sand' tour to stop," Little said. "We were having so much fun. Everyone was so nice to me and very supportive. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss could have just ignored me, but they didn't. Robert would give me some great advice for my career. He is so wise. And Allison is one of the most humble and beautiful people I have ever met."

At the time of Little's interview with the Deseret News she was two days away from the opening of the Chris Isaak tour.

"I am looking forward to touring with Chris," she said. "Everything, so far, has been one great experience after another."

Little cites meeting Scot Sax, leader of the now-defunct '90s band Wanderlust, as a turning point in her life.

"We've become musical partners," she said. "In the past two years, we have written more than 100 songs. And he's a workhorse. He has ideas and out of the blue he'll come and say, 'Let's go write a song.' He's awesome, and we're actually more than just musical partners."

Little's most recent album, "Perfect Time for a Breakdown," was created during those songwriting sessions.

"There was no real reason why we chose the songs we did for the album," Little said. "Other than the fact that we liked them.

"I have a great relationship with my record label. They did give us suggestions, but also gave us free rein to do what we wanted. And I called the label reps and asked them what they thought of songs. It was a two-way street for me.

"I had heard of horror stories about record labels, but I have none to tell."

Little grew up listening to a lot of urban music but said her first and favorite album was Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"That is still a great album," she said with a laugh. "And in my teens I got into the grunge bands like Nirvana. But I also got into a lot of jazz — Billie Holiday, Etta James, Nina Simone and Eva Cassidy. Oh, I and I really like Karin Bergquist, who sings for Over the Rhine."

Those artists helped Little focus on her goal of singing for a living.

"I didn't do a lot of things socially when I was waiting tables," she said. "I was so focused on the singing.

"Now when I look to the future, I know that I have been lucky because I've toured with some good people and have performed in front of many people who I may not have had the chance to if I wasn't on those tours.

"And, now, I'm thinking I hope the audience liked me and want to see me when I start going out on my own."

If you go

What: Chris Isaak, Sharon Little

Where: The Depot, 400 W. South Temple

When: Monday, 8 p.m.

How much: $65

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499


E-mail: [email protected]