I’ll never forget the first time I heard Beth Hart’s voice. It was the middle of the night, and I was mindlessly flipping channels in an attempt to trigger unconsciousness. This gritty wail came through the speakers and I was riveted. “I’m not that bad, I’m just messed up. I’m not that sad, but I’m sad enough.” It was just so true. Not just the lyrics, but also the feelings her tone and performance evoked. It was real, and I was hooked.


Who knew that 12 years later I’d be prepping to interview Beth before a Nashville show? Not me, that’s for sure. But here I was, exchanging hugs and pleasantries with Beth Hart: equal parts wonder woman and every woman.


One of the things I’ve always admired about you is the fact that you are so powerful on stage. When the crowd is gone and you walk off stage what kinds of emotions do you feel?


My mood moves a lot. I tend to live in extremes. Really high, joy, excitement awareness, gratitude … I talk to God a lot. I’m either on 10 or way down in the dumps.


I take medicine now for that, which has helped me tremendously. And at first, I felt what I didn’t recognize as peace. I called it boredom.


When I’m not doing a show, I work more on keeping my mood level. On stage it’s easy. Off stage it’s a little more difficult, unless I’m off the road for a while. Then I really get into being a wife, and cooking and gardening. I love that. It’s an adjustment.


On those days that you’re feeling low—just bad—what are some things you do that lift you up?


Well, I know there’s really no way to “lift me up,” and I’ve come to have a bit of a friendship with this fact. Instead of being frustrated and angry—which will only make it worse—I just put myself in a safe place and ride it out the best I can. Like, I think bubble baths are the bomb. I have a huge bath, and I like to jump in there—maybe listen to music, maybe just be quiet. I might stay in there for like three hours until I prune, but it’s a safe place. A place where I don’t have to try to be anything but what I am.


Also, going into the piano room—just staying in there all day. I may not come up with one idea. I may sit and play the note “c” over and over. But again, it’s a safe place.


We see “Beth, the Artist”—people are always telling you that you’re fabulous. Even though you hear those messages over and over again, are there any insecurities that you just can’t shake?


Of course! Are you kidding? Yeah, just like every other human being. We all have our insecurities. Some days are better than others, right?


When I share your music with teen girls it really resonates. “I’m seventeen and I’m all messed up inside. I cut myself to feel alive.” What do you think brings us to those points where we choose to hurt ourselves so we can feel?


I’m not a doctor. I can only speak from my experience. Drug taking and drinking and cutting and bulimia and starving and stealing—any thing that is self-sabotaging and dangerous, putting yourself and others at risk … it’s some tough stuff for a kid to work out. But I absolutely, without a doubt in my mind, have hope and faith that those things can be managed and overcome. It never leaves. It’s never gone, but it’s something you work on. Peace and freedom are possible.


You’ve been through some pretty dark periods in your life. Why didn’t you give up? Why did you keep fighting to save yourself?


I’ve always talked to God a lot. I wasn’t raised in religion. I was a neurotic kid …  I needed to be in control of everything. So one of the things that helped me is that I would just talk to God all the time.


When I hit my rock bottom, everything was happening at once and I stopped talking to God. But this amazing miracle of an angel stepped into my life: Scott, my husband. I was in and out of psych wards and rehab and he was there every day, visiting me, loving me and believing in me. I feel like God sent Scott into my life to teach me how to really love. Scott doesn’t have chemical imbalances or fear and he’s incredibly generous. I feel like that was missing in my life more than anything. I don’t think I had learned how to appreciate and love others and love myself. Know what I mean?


Absolutely. And sometimes we need other people to say, “You’re okay, and I’m going to be here with you for your journey.”




We think we’re all alone, but really we’re not—if we will just reach out. And that’s the hard part—to reach out.


That is the hard part, because you don’t want to admit to anyone how screwed up you are.


If you wrote your 16-year-old self a letter, what would you say?


Hold on. Hang on. It gets better. It all gets so much better.


I have so many memories of childhood and early teens and 20s that were fabulous. It wasn’t all a horror story—I had a lot of joy and love in my life. But my biggest obstacle was what was going on inside of me.


And now that I’m in my 40s, it is the BEST! I still have my stuff to work on and learn and grow, but there’s so much freedom that comes with growing older. Especially when you reach out to people who have been through the same fears and difficulties, found their way out and want to show you the way. “This is what I did that got me out. Would you like to know what I did?” And you’re like, “Yeah! I need some help, man … I’m tripping out.” I had so many people help me with that.


I would write a letter and say, “You’re not as bad as what you think. You are beautiful miracle and you are loved, no matter what. You will learn to love and respect yourself and you will learn to love and respect the world. It’s not such a scary place. Hang in there.”


I tell teen girls, “No matter who you are and where you are, everyone has some struggles.” “Hold on” is so perfect!


(high five)


Speaking of struggles, I’ve noticed that your music has gone from pretty dark with a lot of despair to incredibly happy.




It really shows the cycles of life.


Yes—and thank you for noticing that! You’re the first person who’s interviewed me and said that. I usually get the stupid question, “So is life really all great now?” No. Life is a roller coaster. It’s always pretty great to be alive, even when you’re in despair … hey, you’re still breathing. But it’s a roller coaster …


Exactly! When I speak to audiences, so many times I say, “Here’s point A and here’s point B. Now go for it.” But really, life is point A, this (both women gesture erratically) and lots of detours and hopefully you get to point B.


And when you do get to B, then you gotta go back to A. You know?




The story of Beth Hart is one of extreme highs and extreme lows, and there are two particular factors that illustrate this.  First, her voice:  when she sings, clocks stop, hearts dance, and neck-hair tingles, it’s that compelling.  The second is her rollercoaster story:  in the late 90s, she was on the cusp of a promising music career, signed to a major U.S. label, national television bookings, hit singles, and great press, but her career careened off the tracks at its peak due to her drug and alcohol addiction.  Beth Hart’s story is one of incredible opportunity, heartbreaking loss, and now, with her recent show-stopping Kennedy Center Honors performance with Jeff Beck that honored blues great Buddy Guy, and the April 2, 2013 North American release of Bang Bang Boom Boom (Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group), redemption. www.BethHart.com






Harriet Turk is a music lover, solution finder, best friend and devoted mom. In her more than 20 years as a public speaker, Harriet has challenged teens and adults to see possibilities and make things happen in their lives. Her presentations are punctuated by down-to-earth Southern-speak, energy and a calm confidence. Read more at HarrietTurk.com.





  1. Michael proctor on October 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Harriet, great article!
    I have been a huge fan of Beth for a few years now!
    Kudos to you and you talent for this interview, it really shows through. It did not read like a journalist asking a list of questions, I felt like I was eavesdropping on a real conversation.

    Glad you posted this!

    • hturk on January 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Thank you, Michael! I appreciate it!

  2. Brian Mosher on November 1, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Finally got a chance to read this interview. Fantastic. Very well done heart to heart with a truly exceptional artist and human. Congrats.

    • hturk on January 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Thank you, Brian!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.