SHERYL CROW’S simple laid back style wasn’t always so effortless, the singer revealed to a group of college students Wednesday.

“It was a big internal battle for me, between being a vamp and being credible as an artist,” she informed 25 students at GRAMMY Soundchecks, a program that offers students an opportunity to experience a soundcheck with an artist.

Ms. Crow said that her experiments with different looks did not always sit well with record label execs – or fans.

“One time I coloured my hair dark and had a meeting at the label and one of the guys looked at me – obviously upset – and said, ‘You’re going to change that back, right?‘ Then when I cut my hair short, my career tanked for about four years.”

Ms. Crow stated that she was once afraid that looking good would mean she wasn’t a “credible” artist. But those days are long gone. “At this age (46) I’m just a lot more relaxed about it,” she told the audience. “I can look pretty and wear make up and not be afraid that it will take away my credibility.”

She doesn’t have to worry about success any more. Her 21 city DETOURS tour kicked off Thursday at the Sommet Center in Nashville, where she lives on a rural farm with 15 month old son Wyatt and a stable full of horses.

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