Sharon den Adel: No. But I think I did it the way people do when they are trained. I practiced every day. I was singing three or four hours every day. I grew up with parents who loved music and there was always music in our house. When I heard a song I liked I would rehearse until I could sing it the same way it was supposed to be. It was a challenge for me to be able to sing the songs I really liked. I trained myself that way.
What kinds of bands were you in before Within Temptation?
What I was about 13 I met some guys who were in music school. They were about five years older than me. They were really into blues rock music. We did Van Halen songs and Journey songs and music like that. Then I met Robert (Westerholt) when I was really into grunge music. I loved Nirvana. He introduced me to the type of music he was playing and to groups like Paradise Lost. I was totally swept away by it and impressed with it and fell in love with it. I still love the bands that I knew before I started making this kind of music. Nirvana is still one of my favorite bands of all time, and I like listening to Bob Marley. We like all kinds of music, not just the music that we make.
You and Robert started the band in college. You majored in fashion, right?
Yes. I have a bachelors degree in fashion management and Robert has a degree in human resource management. We actually met in high school. Music started as a hobby, and it became bigger and bigger. It is our passion and we put every minute we had outside of school into the music. It grew gradually over the years and became bigger and bigger, especially with the release of the Mother Earth album in 2000. After that we couldn't stop it any more. At the time we had jobs. Robert owned an Internet company together with some friends and I was working for a fashion company. We gave it up. We never thought we could do music professionally, because in Holland it is very difficult with this kind of music. But it just started happening. A music video channel called The Box played our video after people started requesting it and people started voting for it and new people heard our music. We became number 2 within a couple weeks. It stormed onto the charts. It happened because of our fans.
Do you use your fashion expertise in designing things like stage costumes and merchandise?
I have always designed our merchandise. It was something I did for fun and because I have this background. I’ve also arranged the clothing for myself and the other band members. I work with a designer. I like to draw it myself, but don’t want to make the dress or the t-shirt. I have somebody else make it. I just draw it, and finish it up with a designer. I’ll ask the guys what they like for comfort, because comfort is very important when you are on stage. And I know what their tastes are. It’s very easy for me to buy stuff for them or design things myself for them.
You were on the Hottest Chicks In Metal tour and are regularly featured whenever a magazine does a “hot chicks” feature. Do you find that sexist, or is it a good way to draw attention to your band and your music?
I don’t think it matters if you are a female or male. When you are a frontman or frontwoman you always get the most attention. If it’s not a hottest chicks list, there will be a list of the toughest guys in metal or some similar list. It’s not about women in metal, it’s that you are the frontperson in the band. It’s something that comes along with it. You just have to get used to it.
How old were you when you started learning English?
I was 6 or 7 years old we started to learn it in school. We also have English television and it’s all in English with subtitles in Dutch. That’s a good way to learn English. For a big part of my youth I lived outside of Holland. My parents were expats and were always traveling around the world because of their jobs. As kids we went along with them so I had to speak English at a very early age.
Had you been to the U.S. before the band came here earlier this year?
I had been there twice with my parents when I was younger. We toured the West Coast one time and the East Coast the other time. My parents loved traveling. Instead of staying home during holidays we always went to different countries. I had my birthday once in Ethiopia on a safari. It’s good in a way, because I got to see a lot of things around the world and different cultures. It’s very important for the upbringing of your children as well. It’s good to go to the different countries and learn from them. We saw a lot of poverty. It was good for me to see not as every country is as wealthy as Holland.