"My personal goal is to get people to understand that health is our responsibility." - Melissa Etheridge

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Melissa Debuts Another New Song, A Little Bit of Me

Melissa debuted another new song tonight in Charleston, WV, called A Little Bit of Me.

Video posted on YouTube by Jessica Meadows.

A Little Bit Of Me
Song by Melissa Etheridge
(transcribed lyrics, subject to change)

If you believed
If you tried
It could be enough to know you were alive
If you knew the truth
You couldn’t be denied
You could change the world and love that you might find

But the world goes round and round and round
And everybody walks on common ground
We got to pull together if we’re gonna pull through
There’s a little bit of me in a little bit of you
And the world goes round, and round and round
And everybody gets a little upside down
No need to be afraid of anybody you see
There’s a little bit of you in a little bit of me

Na na na na na na na na
In a little bit of me
Na na na na na na na na

Is it on the skin
Is it in the love
The things about each other that we’re so scared of
You can shake your head
And you can change your mind
Either way you wake up inside yourself and find

That the world goes round and round and round
And everybody walks on common ground
We got to pull together if we’re gonna pull through
It’s a little bit of me in a little bit of you
And the world goes round, and round and round
And everybody gets a little upside down
No need to be afraid of anybody you see
It’s a little bit of you in a little bit of me

Na na na na na na na na
In a little bit of me
Na na na na na na na na

Lean to your left
Lean to your right
Look all around the room at every soul here tonight
Or have a little faith
That everyone will see
That all the good books in the world agree
There’s a little bit of you in a little bit of me

Na na na na na na na na
In a little bit of me
Na na na na na na na na

And the world goes round and round and round
And everybody walks on common ground
No need to be afraid of anybody you see
There’s a little bit of you in a little bit of me

Na na na na na na na na
In a little bit of me
Na na na na na na na na
Just a little bit of you
Na na na na na na na na
In a little bit of me
Just a little bit of me

Melissa Etheridge Talks About Solo Tour Coming to Hershey Theatre Tuesday

Source: Lancaster Online

By JANE HOLAHAN | Entertainment Editor

Melissa Etheridge will be leaving her band behind and going solo when she comes to Hershey Theatre on Tuesday.
But the stage will be pretty crowded.

“I have a lot of guitars,” she says with a laugh. “They’ll cover the stage. I’ll have a piano, some drums. It’ll be a blast.”
Etheridge wanted to do a solo tour for a couple of reasons.

“It is such an intimate connection with my audience; I learn a lot about myself,” she says. “And I have a new album coming out this summer, so this is a way to clean my plate before I get out there and start a new challenge.”

Etheridge’s This is ME Solo tour isn’t too long. She has four kids — twin 7-year-olds and two teenagers — so she doesn’t want to be away from home.

“I will do the favorites. Those are fun,” she says. “Then some deep album cuts — songs I don’t normally do. Then at least one new track.”

The solo tour comes at a time when Etheridge has become more collaborative in her songwriting.

“I used to lock myself up in a room (when I was writing),” she says. “The art of it now is more freestyle. I get into the studio and bounce around ideas with people. I have never done that before. I don’t collaborate lyrically, but musically I love it.”
Etheridge has always been known for being a confessional songwriter.

“My writing is strongest when I am personal, when I put myself out there,” she says. “The more personal I am, the more universal I am.”

She came out as a lesbian in 1993 because she was tired of not being able to be honest about who she was.

“I would always use nonspecific, genderless pronouns,” she says. “People always asked me if a song was about a boyfriend. A guy interviewed me once and changed all the pronouns in my songs. I came up playing in gay bars, so a lot of people knew I was gay. It made me look like a liar.”

Etheridge has been recording since 1988 when her self-titled album came out and garnered her a Grammy nomination for the single “Bring Me Some Water.”

She is known for her raspy, smoky vocals.

“I haven’t worked at it,” she says with a laugh, noting people often recognize the voice before they recognize her.
It does give people ideas.

“My fiancée, Linda (Wallem), told me, ‘When I met you I thought you were a drinker and a smoker.’ ”

On the contrary. Etheridge is big on being healthy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, she performed at the Grammy Awards that same year, singing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” She was bald from the chemotherapy. It was an emotional highlight in her career and critics lauded her for her courage.
“I am 10 years cancer free,” she says proudly. “I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I regard cancer as a gift because it really set me straight on what my priorities are.”

Etheridge, 52, grew up in Leavenworth, Kan., and started playing guitar when she was 8.

She knew she wanted to be in the business “as soon as I could think.”

“When I first heard the applause I thought, ‘Oh, I like this,’ ” she says.”

She started out by playing in country bands.

“They introduced me to Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens — it wasn’t resonating with me then, though it does now. But I was more into rock and pop.”

She headed to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music.

She began playing the club circuit around Boston, and after three years at Berklee, she decided to try her luck in Los Angeles.

She played in a lot of lesbian bars around Los Angeles and was discovered by Island Records chief Chris Blackwell.

But the record company rejected her first album for being too polished. She came up with the stripped down album that became “Melissa Etheridge” and was on her way.

She won her first Grammy for “Ain’t It Heavy,” from her 1992 album, “Never Enough.”

But it was her fourth effort, 1993’s “Yes I Am,” which became her breakthrough album. It spent 138 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts.

A lot has changed in the music business since then.

“I am pretty excited about where I am in the music business right now,” she says. “I am known, I have recognition, I have a very strong fan base and a certain amount of respect out there.”

Her next album, coming out this summer, will not be on Island Records.

“I own my own record company now and I’ve got new management,” she says. “It’s not just selling a record, it’s selling me. I have opportunities to have more rewards than I have ever had. With social media and all the advances I can reach my audience instantly, I don’t have to go through a middle person. All that excess has been streamlined. This is the age of the artist.”
But, she concedes, she might feel differently if she were just starting out.

“I’m not sure I would want to be brand new. It’s a very different experience than it was 25 or 30 years ago.”

Melissa Etheridge Discusses Return to Bethlehem, New Music and Bucket List

Source: LeHighValleyLive

By Dustin Schoof | The Express-Times

Melissa Etheridge knows Bethlehem well.

The singer-songwriter on April 26 will mark her fifth appearance in the city. Etheridge is set to perform what she describes as an intimate solo concert that evening at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center — the same venue she headlined in 2012.

"It's a warm city. I love playing through there," Etheridge says in a recent phone interview.

Etheridge's prior Bethlehem stops were in 1994 at Stabler Arena and in 2003 and 2006 at Musikfest.

However, her upcoming performance will be without the safety net or support of a backing band or musical accompaniment. "It's just me on stage, with a guitar and piano, and anything else I can make music with," she says. "I love doing it because it keeps me in shape. As a performer, it keeps my songs fresh."

She adds, "It's nice to strip some of these things down, just get to the core of the song."

Etheridge says her Bethlehem set will likely include a new original song, which the Kansas native, who is gay, likens to her recent single, the synth-heavy, anthem-like "Uprising of Love." (The song is a call to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to show their love for other LGBT community members around the world.)

"I've opened up my borders of music to all the stuff that's available nowadays. It's unbelievable what is available to a musician now, and a songwriter, and a vocalist," she says. "And I get to be all of them at once!"

But fans will also be treated to "Come to My Window," "I'm the Only One," "Yes I Am" and other Etheridge concert staples — as well as lesser known material.

"I like to dig in and dig up some old stuff I haven't played in years," she says.

The DIY approach Etheridge uses in her current "This Is ME Solo" tour is one she has taken from the stage to the studio as she begins working on the follow-up to her 2012 release, "4th Street Feeling." Etheridge says the new album will be her first as an independent artist, without the backing of a major record label, and will be released through distributor Caroline Records.

Etheridge is tapping into all of her musical influences as she begins the songwriting process — "I love Marvin Gaye, I love Led Zeppelin," she says — while experimenting and using various music technologies available at her fingertips. Etheridge says the new songs are some of her deepest yet.

"I'm going into influences in rock and soul and R&B and country, reaching into all these areas of music I've been inspired by my whole life. I'm more excited about this album than anything," she says.

She says the record industry has come a long way since she was signed to Island Records 26 years ago. Etheridge's self-titled debut album was released in 1988 and included the single "Bring Me Some Water," which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance.

Etheridge remembers being awed by the label's sky-touching offices above a Tower Records store in New York City. But by the end of the decade, she says, it was a much different picture. However, she says, the process has become more freeing for the artist due to lack of outside interference from a major label.

"(I was told) people still love music, they are just finding ways to get it quicker from the artist. That big middle person that was in control of the product is not needed anymore," Etheridge says. "It just collapsed, so that's done, yet everybody is still listening (to music). Music is a vital part of our culture. As an artist, you bet, this is my day, this is my time."

The one constant that has not changed, Etheridge says, is the power of live performance.

"When you play music for anyone, whenever you can, wherever you can, because that's how people get to know you. You've got to play it, you've got to perform it, you've got to live it and you've got to create it," she says. "You keep doing it and that's the only way."

Etheridge says her brief stint in 2011 as the character St. Jimmy in the Broadway play "American Idiot" — based on Green Day's 2004 politically charged concept album of the same name — has informed the way she moves and brings her music to life on stage. (The role was originally played by Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong.)

She says the experience was educational, yet "frightening."

"When I'm on stage performing, I have complete control if I mess up or blow a line. If I mess up on a Broadway stage, 20 dancers will fall over," Etheridge says. "Everything is precisely measured out in time and space. You got to show up and know what you're doing ... It gave me a lot more confidence in my body because I was without a guitar. I was relying on my body and voice and delivery and that's exciting."

Having tackled Broadway, recorded 12 studio albums, survived breast cancer (she was diagnosed in 2004) and long championed for gay rights and equality, what is left on Etheridge's bucket list?

"What's in that bucket?," she muses, pausing for a moment to collect her thoughts. "The desire to keep reaching, to keep creating, to keep going higher and further and challenging myself."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Article in The Charleston Gazette

Source: The Charleston Gazette

Rolling Stone magazine has a list of the top 100 guitarists of all time. The list includes a dozen or so blues and rock icons, both living and dead. Among them are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, plus representatives from punk, heavy metal and pop music.

In all, there are 98 men, but only two women.

Melissa Etheridge, who performs April 17 at the Clay Center, is not either of them.

“You know, those lists used to drive me crazy, but I’ve let them go,” she said before adding, “I’m not even on the women in rock list.”

None of her records are on the magazine's "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time'" list, though Patsy Cline, Taylor Swift and Lucinda Williams were included.

Etheridge doesn’t get why she isn't there. Everybody has an opinion, she guessed.

“I stopped worrying about those lists,” she said. “I used to take it personally. I don’t take it personally now.”

Etheridge gets by without being on the lists anyway.

The singer/songwriter broke onto the top 40 music charts in the late 1980s with songs like “Bring Me Some Water” and “Like The Way I do,” and from her first release was a Grammy Award contender.

In the early 1990s, she came out publicly as a lesbian, just as her career was taking off, but also at a time when mainstream acceptance of gay performers was less assured.

Through the 90s and into the next decade, she racked up an impressive collection of hits, among them “I’m the Only One,” “Come to my Window,” and “Your Little Secret.”

She won two Grammy Awards, was nominated for 10 others and also took home an Academy Award in 2007 for her song, “I Need To Wake Up,” which was used in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Currently, the singer/songwriter and guitarist is out on tour with her “This is ME” solo show, which is just Etheridge, a couple of different instruments, but no backing band.

“It’s something I like to do before a big album comes out,” she said. “It kind of gets me back in shape and it’s fun. I can do whatever I want on stage. I don’t even have a ‘set’ set list –because it’s just me.”

There are pluses and minuses to playing with a band, she said.

“When you have a band, you can kind of sit back and relax into the band. You can let them do a lot of the work –but some of that spontaneity goes away.”

Her band is pretty good at following her, Etheridge said, but even they don’t know every single song she’s ever written.

“If I look out and see someone who’s holding up a sign requesting a song from the first album that I haven’t played in 10 years, the band isn’t going to know it,” she said.

But Etheridge could and, by herself, might give it shot.

The instruments that will be joining her on stage will be a mish-mash of keyboards and guitars. All of her guitars are special.

“I’ve got a lot of guitars,” she acknowledged. “I could spend all the money I have buying guitars.”

At home she keeps some very expensive acoustic guitars. Etheridge often uses them to write songs with, but doesn’t bring on tour because they’re fragile.

On the road, her acoustic is an Ovation guitar.

“But I get a new one of those every year because I beat the crap out of it,” she said.

She also has a double neck Gibson, she bought in Sioux City, Iowa a year ago, when she was in town for a show with Sublime. It’s really two guitars: one neck is to a 12 string. The other half is a six string.

"I like to play the 12-string and then solo with the six," she said.

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Paige has one just like it.

"I call it 'the girls,'" she said. "Because there are two of them. I love playing it. It's such a rock 'n' roll icon."

Etheridge is, too, even if not everybody agrees.

Melissa Etheridge, Take My Number

Melissa Etheridge, "Take My Number" - Nashville, 15 April 2014.

Video posted on YouTube by Angie Wormy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Melissa Etheridge to Bring Solo Show to Northampton's Calvin Theatre

Source: MassLive

By George Lenker | Special to The Republican

Her fans may not know it, but Melissa Etheridge is quite the multi-instrumentalist. Along with playing guitar and piano, she also can handle a clarinet.

But don't expect her to be pulling one out anytime soon on stage.

"I do know how to play the clarinet but I'm not going to be jumping into a solo these days," she said with a laugh. "I play the clarinet like a ninth grader."

Etheridge will stop at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on April 23 as part of her "This is Me Solo" tour. Etheridge talked about playing solo and other facets of her career during a recent interview.

Besides the scale of the show, what's different for you about playing solo as opposed to playing with a rock band?

When I first came to California, for about 10 years I played solo. I played solo in bars and that's how it I was discovered. I didn't really have a band until my very first record. So going back to playing solo is very comfortable for me and it gives me all kinds of freedom that I don't have when I'm playing with the band. Someone in the audience can be holding up a sign to play a certain song and I can just play it. With a band, we might not have rehearsed it and so we can't. So it gives me all kinds of freedom like that. So the biggest difference is freedom, although once I'm done with a solo tour I can't wait to play with my band again.

Are some songs difficult to translate back to playing acoustically?

There may be a handful. There maybe some where I think that the thing about that song is the instrumentation, or the thing is the rhythm that the band provides. But it's only a handful. Most of them were created on solo instruments so it's not that hard to come back to that solo arrangement.

You started performing when you're 11 years old. Looking back on the dreams about 11-year-old how different as your career actually turned out?

Oh it's very different. When you're a kid you just think that you're going to be rich and famous and you won't have any problems. It's been over 40 years since then and the whole journey – in my 20s and in my 30s and my 40s – has made up this whole experience. In life there's not just one success that you can stand up and say "okay I've done it." Success is being able to keep doing it and keep building on it and keep dreaming.

Your last album, "4th Street Feeling," seemed a lot more stripped-down and some previous works. Was that a conscious decision to do that?

It was totally conscious. It was really what I was after. I've been sort of trying to figure out the music industry and whenever I get in that sort of state, I told myself to just get back to what I know. Now on the record I making now that will be out later this year I went in a totally opposite direction and expanded everything. But for "4th Street Feeling" I wanted to keep it really inside. And it's one of my favorite records I've made.

A lot of people may not know that you play a lot of different instruments. How do you think having a multi-instrumental background helps you as an artist?

Well it makes my solo show more interesting. I'm looking forward to playing acoustics and electrics and harmonica and keyboard. It also helps me to be able to communicate with musicians and makes me hear the music on different levels when I'm creating it.

Melissa Etheridge to Perform at Hershey

Source: PennLive

Melissa Etheridge to perform at Hershey; 'I'm in the best shape I've ever been musically and emotionally'
By Julia Hatmaker

Melissa Etheridge has hit songs, two Grammys and an Academy Award - so it's safe to say she's an acclaimed singer/songwriter.

Her music, from late 80s hit "Bring Me Some Water" to mid 90s classics "Come to My Window" and "I'm the Only One" are part of the American music lexicon, they're songs that everyone knows - or has heard somewhere, sometime.

And now, fans can hear those songs live. Etheridge is coming to Hershey Theatre on April 22 as part of her "This is Me Solo" tour.

We talked with Etheridge about what fans can expect at her show, what it is that she is an activist for and what song is her favorite to play live.

At your Hershey show are you planning on playing just the hits, or just new songs or a mixture of both?

"This is what I find works. I like to know that when people buy a ticket to my show they have got some songs in mind that they like. There's definitely a handful of classic songs that people love and I love performing them and I always do.

"I have 25 years of albums to pick from. I bring the classic songs, I bring some deep album cuts and I'll do some newer album things and then I have a new album coming out later in the summer so I might even throw a new tune in there.

"Because it's solo I can take those older songs and make them in a new way."

Do people ever greet you with song lyrics?

"Oh sure. Mostly, people that come up to me are always very kind and very grateful. Just yesterday, I asked someone if they could bring me some water. [laughs] It's so hard to ask for water anywhere!"

Do you consider yourself a musician first and activist second, or vice versa?

"No, I actually find my activism comes from being the musician. I always tell people I feel like I'm the least active activitist. I don't really go out of myself and march up and down and gather people and energy. I've just been open to speaking truthfully and answering questions truthfully about myself and my life and that has made me an activist. I think it's kind of funny in our society that just speaking truthfully about oneself makes courageous.

"I'm advocating for truthfulness in the everyday."

Why do you think we have such a hard time with being truthful?

"The main obstacle always is fear and fear of the other. Fear of something different than what you know, what you've been told and raised as. That's the biggest thing: the fear that you should be this and this is what we're supposed to be. That's a lie."

How would you say your music has changed over your career?

"Oh my goodness. So much! I started making music and dreaming about music when I was 8 - 9 - 10 years old, then that dream changed as I grew. It was certainly different when I was a teenager from when I was a young adult trying to make it and get a break. Then I finally did in my late 20s. Then going through everything in my 30s and seeing that making it in the music business isn't a step you reach and you quit. It's a constant ever-changing - it's like sand going through a hourglass. You have to stay on top of it or you get washed under. It's an ongoing process of creating and enjoying my music everyday."

What's your go-to guitar?

"I have a handful that I always love to play. On stage, acoustically it's my Ovation Guitar - my signature model. I also use a Gibson Les Paul that's my favorite electric guitar I have."

Do you write on those? Or is there another guitar you do that on?

"I have a couple [guitars] back here, some old vintage Gibson Hummingbirds and I have a [Gibson] J-45 I like to write on."

How does your songwriting process work?

"It depends on the situation. It always starts with inspiration - that may come from me, like I'm playing on my guitar or that may come from an idea I have as I'm observing something or someone. Or it could come from collaboration with another musician/producer/writer and working with them. It's always different. [Songwriting] always lives in the fields of inspiration and delight in creating."

You'd have to really enjoy music to be touring.

"That's the key to life. You have to love what you're doing and stay enthusiastic about it or its game over. Finding the joy and finding the love and enjoyment of it is my job. How can I do this and love it? Because I know when I love it, it's going to show in the work."

Is there a song of yours that you feel a particular connection with?

"Different songs for different reasons. Usually the last batch of songs I write are the closest ones to me. "Like the Way I Do" is probably my favorite song to perform live. It never fails me. It always connects with someone."

Your music is so classic, that I feel like people hear it in everyday life all the time - if they're at Walmart or at a hotel or in a restaurant, it's just coming over the speaker. How do you react to that? Do you even notice?

"Usually my kids are like, 'Mom's that's you!' That does mean something to me because I remember being in elevators and stores and saying, 'Someday my music will play here.' When it does, it's like a dream come true."

Do you ever just sit at home and play your songs for fun?

"I go through different phases with my songs. Usually when I just write them, I listen to them all the time. After a tour or two or three, or a few years, sometimes I have to put a song away for awhile and let it sit. Then I'll get back to it and enjoy it. I find that the 25-year-old songs, if I'm just hanging around, I'll pull them out and be like 'I know that song!' They're vintage now and I really start enjoying them."

You mention before you take those older songs and make them into something new. What's your normal method for that?

"It's usually the time [that I change] and the approach of the song and the arrangement of the song. Sometimes I'll take a really fast song and I'll play it slow - that's the biggest way I do it. It really catches the lyrics better."

"I feel its great if you can write a song that touches people musically and lyrically."

Any parting words for your Hershey fans?

"I'm just really looking forward to getting back there. I'm in the best shape I've ever been musically and emotionally. I'm just really looking forward to this solo tour."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Melissa Etheridge to Perform June 16 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Source: Chicago Symphony Orchestra


Event Part of the CSOA’s Corporate Night, Celebrating its 25th Anniversary Along with Five 25-Year Sponsors of the Event

CHICAGO—The League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) will
celebrate its 25th annual Corporate Night on Monday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. with special guest Melissa Etheridge performing with members of the CSO, led by conductor Sean O'Loughlin. Over the course of more than two decades as a performer and songwriter, Melissa Etheridge has earned her post as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most respected artists with numerous hits, such as "I'm the Only One," "Come to My Window" and "I Want to Come Over."

Etheridge begins her “This Is ME Solo” tour next week, which runs from April 15-28 throughout the Eastern U.S., and also performs several dates with symphony orchestras for the first time, including the Boston Pops and the San Francisco Symphony, in addition to the CSO. She recently performed at the White House as part of a Women of Soul event which brought together music legends and contemporary artists whose songs express the struggles and achievements of women. Additionally, Melissa released a new anthem, Uprising of Love, which was the inspiration for a new coalition by the same name, Uprising of Love, and 100% of the proceeds from the song go toward the organization, which supports the safety and dignity of LGBT Russians. Melissa is also in the studio writing and recording music for her new album, slated for a fall/winter 2014 release.

The CSOA’s Corporate Night pays special tribute to Chicago’s business community each year
with a one-night-only performance that pairs musicians from the CSO with today’s most popular artists. Proceeds from this important fundraising event benefit the CSO’s general operations and nationally recognized community engagement and music education programs.

Concert-only tickets are available to the public ($35 to $99); concertgoers can also purchase tickets for an exclusive pre-concert dinner and concert package, which are $200. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 11, and are available in person at Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave., by calling the CSO Box Office at 312-294-3000 or online at cso.org.

Melissa Etheridge Brings Solo Show to the Peace Center

Source: Greenville Online

Rocker Melissa Etheridge brings her intimate solo show to Greenville’s Peace Center on April 18
by Paul Hyde

Melissa Etheridge is known for her high-powered rock concerts with her hard-charging band.

But when she arrives next Friday at the Peace Center, she’ll be alone on stage.

The raspy-voiced Etheridge, one of America’s favorite female performers over the past two decades, is touring her solo show.

“I enjoy doing the solo shows not only to get ready for a new album but to dive into my catalog of songs and bring a new freshness to my older material,” Etheridge said, speaking by phone from her home in Los Angeles.

“It’s such an intimate experience with the audience, and it is truly one of my favorite ways to perform,” she added. “It also keeps me on my toes.”

She’ll accompany herself on acoustic guitar, electric guitar and piano.

Etheridge, a two-time Grammy Award-winner, is recording an album that she hopes to debut in September. Before that, she’ll choose a single for a June release.

The Peace Center concert will feature a few songs from the upcoming album, but the show mainly will delve into Etheridge’s past hits.

“There’ll be some of my better-known songs and then a couple of cuts from the new album,” Etheridge said. “It’ll be just a good night of entertainment.”

What’s the best aspect of performing solo?

Freedom, said Etheridge said.

“I can do whatever I want inside the song because it’s just me,” Etheridge said. “I can certainly switch my set list up if I’d like to as well.”

Etheridge stormed on the American rock scene in 1988 with the release of her critically acclaimed self-titled album, which led to an appearance on the 1989 Grammy Awards. In 1992, she earned a Grammy Award for “Ain’t It Heavy.”

The next year brought Etheridge even more mainstream success with the album “Yes I Am,” which included the mega-hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” the latter of which earned Etheridge her second Grammy.

The Greenville News invited readers to submit questions for Etheridge. One reader asked how Etheridge’s upcoming album will differ from 2012’s “4th Street Feeling.”

“ ‘4th Street Feeling’ was a very introverted album,” Etheridge said. “It was the last album I did for Island Records. The new album is my first independent work, so I have all the control. The whole concept of the album is much larger. It covers the musical spectrum more, from rock to R&B to soulful stuff and things on edge of country.”

Another reader asked what inspires Etheridge to collaborate with other musicians, such as singer-songwriter Jill Scott and Neyla Pekarek of the Lumineers.

Etheridge said she particularly admires how younger musicians easily traverse musical genres.

“The younger generation has a much looser idea of the boundaries of music,” Etheridge said. “There are not as many boundaries in music as there was 20 years ago.”

Etheridge has been a longtime LGBT rights activist and recently co-founded a group called Uprising of Love, dedicated to supporting Russian LGBT advocates and other LGBT activists internationally.

“We wanted to do what we could to help the international issue of LGBT rights,” Etheridge said. “We raise money that goes to LGBT leaders in countries where they are harassed or thrown in jail. It helps them to do the work that needs to be done. It’s about changing hearts and minds, what we’ve done here in the last 20 years in America. We’re showing that we’re the family down the street from you, we’re in your workplace, your school, we’re your relatives, cousins, brothers and sisters. We part of this fabric of human society. We’re inspiring people around the world to have pride inside themselves and a feeling that, ‘Yes, I was made this way and there’s nothing wrong with me.’ ”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This Is ME Tour Promo Video

Melissa's limited run solo tour will be in intimate theater settings and give fans a rare opportunity to see Melissa perform in a striped-down atmosphere, rotating between electric and acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica.

Video posted on Youtube by Melissa Etheridge

Monday, April 7, 2014

Behind the Scenes at "Women of Soul"

Last month at the White House, the President and First Lady honored great "foremothers" of American music, music legends and contemporary artists whose songs express the struggles and achievements of women. The program, "In Performance at the White House: Women of Soul," included performances by Tessanne Chin, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monáe and Jill Scott, with Greg Phillinganes as music director.

Video posted on YouTube by The White House

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Trailer for Queer Music Documentary 'For Which We Stand' Features Melissa Etheridge

Source: IndieWire

With LGBTQ cinema becoming increasingly prominent these days, it seems unsurprising that the music business is now making a similarly big splash. Examining the queer music genre and its growing presence in the entertainment industry, award-winning filmmaker Sean Robinson now brings "For Which We Stand," a documentary feature film produced for OUTmusic and the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts.

The film will feature live performances from the OUTmusic Awards with behind the scenes footage, as well as interviews with pioneers, recording artists, activists, industry executives and various creative industry professionals, including musical icons such as Dolly Parton, Melissa Etheridge and transgender opera singer Tona Brown, among many others. “I'm very excited to be directing this socially and politically pro-active feature-length documentary film, that will not only spotlight queer music culture, but will keep the torch of LARA burning, as the fight for equality moves forward into the next era,” states Robinson.

The film will be released in 2015. Check out the trailer below (Melissa appears around 1:55):

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

GMCLA Announces Impressive Honoree Lineup For 3rd Annual Voice Awards

Source: San Francisco Business Times

GMCLA Announces Impressive Honoree Lineup For 3rd Annual Voice Awards

India's Crown Prince Manvendra, Southern California business leaders Brian Pendleton & Chad Goldman, the celebrity-driven civil rights coalition Uprising of Love being represented by co-founder Bruce Cohen and Melissa Etheridge, and the Montgomery family, the Mormon family at the center of the documentary Families Are Forever, to be honored during high-profile charity event to raise funds for programs encouraging diversity and acceptance through the performing arts

LOS ANGELES, April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles (www.gmcla.org), whose mission is to change hearts and minds through the power of music, announced an impressive lineup of honorees for the organizations 3rd annual Voice Awards to be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. India's Crown Prince Manvendra, the world's first openly gay royal; Southern California business leaders and community activists Brian Pendleton & Chad Goldman; Uprising of Love, a coalition raising international awareness about the violence faced by the worldwide LGBT community being represented by co-founder Bruce Cohen and Melissa Etheridge; and the Montgomerys, the subjects of the documentary Families Are Forever, which examines a Mormon family's journey to accept their gay son, will each receive top honors throughout the evening. The high-profile charity event will raise vital funds for GMCLA programs that encourage diversity and acceptance through the performing arts in schools across the United States.

"We are absolutely thrilled to announce a remarkable line up of honorees and presenters for our 3rd annual Voice Awards presented by First Investors," said Chris Verdugo, Executive Director of GMCLA. "The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles is on a mission to change hearts and minds around the world through the power of music. The funds we raise through the Voice Awards will be immediately put to use. They will power a range of programs including the Alive Music Project and the it gets better tour. These projects address bullying in schools across America by encouraging diversity and acceptance through the performing arts."

"It's a privilege to be the presenting sponsor for the GMCLA annual Voice Awards again in 2014. First Investors' relationship with GMCLA is a natural fit as we both share a passion for service to the community. GMCLA is a fabulous organization deeply involved in the Los Angeles community and in promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance. These shared values inspire us to support the important mission of GMCLA," said Forrest Strickland, Executive Vice President, Sales, First Investors Corporation.

Each year, GMCLA holds its annual Voice Awards gala and silent auction, a spectacular evening not only to raise funds for the charity's work, but also to honor those members of our community who have used their voice to affect significant social change.

The star-studded Voice Awards gala will take place on Saturday, May 3, 2014, at the Globe Theatre on the back lot of Universal Studios and will be an unforgettable night of music, food, spirit, honors, a silent auction and live performances from LiV, an R&B girl group in the tradition of TLC & Destiny's Child; the cast of the new Broadway-bound musical Inappropriate; and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. This year's celebration features presenters and special guests including three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Steve Young with his wife Barbara, Super Bowl champion Brendon Ayanbadejo, Olympic gold medalists Gary Hall Jr. and Greg Louganis, Tony winner Marissa Winokur, Bridegroom's Shane Bitney Crone, actress Sharon Lawrence and Army Captain Stephen Hill, with more to come.

GMCLA has garnered international acclaim for artistic excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the Los Angeles community and beyond by promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance through music. Founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay civil rights movement, critics have proclaimed the chorus "inspired," "expressive, innovative, and utterly moving," and hailed it for presenting "meaningful entertainment."

Friday, March 28, 2014

Melissa Etheridge 'Uprising of Love' Music Video a Kiss to LGBT Russians

Source: Frontiers LA

by Karen Ocamb

Last February, the creative Wondros agency put out a casting call for LGBT people to kiss as part of Melissa Etheridge’s “Uprising of Love” anthem for LGBT Russians.

The music video was released late Thursday. It features flashes of montages of LGBT Pride parades intercut with images of gay Russians and others around the world being beaten and harassed for who they are. And then, suddenly, interspersed as motionless contradictions to the chaos of the world and yet still a part of it, are clear, artistic images of couples—LGBT and straight, all ages, sizes and colors—holding hands, lovingly facing each other, hugging each other until they kiss.

The video is a pure, heartfelt Valentine to LGBT people struggling with opression, harassment and even death everywhere.

"If you had been to Russia a couple of years ago, you would have seen the gay movement gaining ground," says Etheridge. "Now, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is looking for a common enemy to unite the country. He's saying the reason you don't have a job or that your family is suffering is because of gay people. Then there are government sanctions that allow violence. It's an old World War II way of scaring a nation into submission."

Etheridge is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the single to the U.S.-based, grant-giving Russia Freedom Fund, which directly helps LGBT activists in Russia—even more imperative now that the eyes of the world are no longer on the Sochi Olympics.

"My message is that I'm never going to change anyone by telling them what they should be," Etheridge says. "It all starts with me, so I'm going to start an uprising of love. Love is love."

The Uprising of Love coalition was founded on Human Rights Day (Dec. 10, 2013) by Melissa Etheridge and her partner Linda Wallem, along with Dustin Lance Black, Bruce Cohen and Greg Propper. More than 75 celebrities have aligned themselves with the cause, including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, James Franco, Edward Norton, Jim Parsons, Julianne Moore, Chris Colfer, Sean Hayes and many more. The song has also been remixed by EDM heavy-hitters the Bent Collective (Danny Verde and Steven Redant) for a special club mix.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Video Premiere: Etheridge Leads 'Uprising of Love'


by Korina Lopez

In the USA, the LGBT community has made great strides, with support from both the private and public sector becoming the expectation more than the exception. But in Russia, that fight is just beginning.

"If you had been to Russia a couple of years ago, you would have seen the gay movement gaining ground," says Melissa Etheridge. "Now, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is looking for a common enemy to unite the country. He's saying the reason you don't have a job or that your family is suffering is because of gay people. Then there are government sanctions that allow violence. It's an old World War II way of scaring a nation into submission."

In response to the violence against the LGBT community in Russia, Etheridge wrote the song Uprising of Love and created a music video of the same name. The video, premiering exclusively on USA TODAY, is a montage of real footage, showing LGBT rallies and riots as well as couples expressing their love for each other. "Change comes from feeling better about being gay ourselves, so to see the video is shocking, but then you realize that people have posted these videos to show what's going on," she says.

She hopes the video will bump up sales of the single. The song's proceeds will go directly to the Russia Freedom Fund. "There are about four gay leaders in Russia who are taking a big risk coming out. The money will go to those people to pay for those positions so they can make a living from their activism," Etheridge says.

On Human Rights Day (Dec. 10, 2013), Etheridge, her partner Linda Wallem and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black created the Uprising of Love celebrity coalition. It's already gathered the support of more than 50 celebrities including Madonna, James Franco, Jim Parsons and Julianne Moore.

"My message is that I'm never going to change anyone by telling them what they should be," Etheridge says. "It all starts with me, so I'm going to start an uprising of love. Love is love."

Uprising of Love Official Video

The Official Video for Melissa Etheridge "Uprising of Love". The song was written by Melissa for the Uprising of Love Coalition which is part of the Russian Freedom Fund, a movement in support of the safety & dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Russians.

Video posted on YouTube by Melissa Etheridge

Monday, March 24, 2014

This is Melissa Etheridge- Out And About Nashville Interview

Source: Out and About Nashville

This is Melissa Etheridge
Rocker talks activism, life as a newly independent artist, the forthcoming record and wedding
Joseph Brownell

It’s been just over 25 years since Melissa Etheridge released her self-titled debut album. In that time, the rocker has come out of the closet, weathered some very public relationship scrutiny and battled cancer.

Etheridge’s Nashville concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on April 15 is the first in a string of dates for the This is ME Solo Tour—where fans will get their first taste of a newly independent Melissa Etheridge.

Out & About Nashville chatted with the veteran star about activism throughout her career, collaborations with producers and writers who’ve worked with Eminem, Kesha, Demi Lovato and more for her forthcoming record and when she’s tying the knot with partner Linda Wallem.

Out & About Nashville: You have ties to Nashville—what does Music City mean to you?

Melissa Etheridge: Nashville is such a beautiful place to play. It’s always so full of music with an audience that really listens. Of course, one of the songs from my earliest albums, from Brave and Crazy, is “You Can Sleep While I Drive” where I talk about my friend Barbara, who is still there in Nashville. Nashville is just a special place in America and has a special place in my heart.

O&AN: Earlier this month at SXSW, you played a cover of Tom Petty’s “Refugee” with Nashville punk-rock faves Diarrhea Planet—how did that happen?

ME: (laughs) Yes, I did. It came about because of Twitter. When it was announced that I was going to be at SXSW, a band out of Austin The Midgetmen, tweeted something on my twitter feed saying, oh I hope Melissa gets signed, the unknown act Melissa, kind of taunting me because SXSW is for unknown, independent artists. He taunted me a couple of times that I hadn’t gotten back on the invitation to their party so I finally tweeted him back and said hey dude, I’ll come to your party and I'm bringing a guitar. He said it was his friends band Diarrhea Planet and I said we’ll do it, we’ll jam. It was like an eight guitar jam to Tom Petty’s “Refugee.”

O&AN: Overall, how was your SXSW experience?

ME: It was . . . crazy. If you look at me, I’m actually making my first record not with a major record label this time. We thought SXSW would be the way to get into that sort of thing. People think of it as this music festival where everyone gets together in one place but it’s really just Austin being its cool Austin self.

O&AN: What can you share about the album that you are working on independently?

ME: This is my first album where I haven’t been on Island Records and it’s an album I am going to own and is going to be distributed through another company.

I am very excited because I also changed management and that management set me up with a whole lot of other artists, producers and writers. I collaborated and it’s so exciting because it brings out all the different parts in me. I collaborated with some great rock-pop writers-producers like Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco, Kesha, Demi Lovato) and Jon Levine (Serena Ryder) all the way to Mark Batson (Eminem) and Jerry Wonda, who are r&b/urban artists.

I have an overabundance of songs now that I’ll be going through next month and we should have a single by the beginning of summer and by the end of summer, the album should be coming.

O&AN: The record sounds like a completely new baby for you—

ME: Experimenting and bringing out all these different types of music in me has been amazing. It’s a completely different baby and I am so thrilled to play these songs live, too. I’m just so happy about my music right now.

O&AN: With these new collaborations, what music is currently moving Melissa Etheridge?

ME: Oh god, I love Beyoncé’s new album. (laughs) I’m crazy about it. At the end of the day, I love putting that on and it really takes me away.

O&AN: Several successful 80s and 90s singer-songwriters have been striking out independently, are you finding a new freedom in independence?

ME: You know a lot of people talk about the music industry and the trouble—it’s only trouble for the record companies. People are still listening to music, people still love music, music is important. It’s a good day for artists, I think. We can step up and say, I can directly get to my audience now and I don’t have to go through this middle guy or that middle guy. I can just get there directly and it’s very exciting.

O&AN: Was there just a lack of innovation on the part of middle guys?

ME: Oh yeah, well they went for the where the money is and it narrowed and narrowed the work until they were all making the same album.

O&AN: In your interview with Dan Rather, you said you were grateful for your cancer diagnosis because you got to this point where you got to know yourself and came out excited about life, your art and only doing what you love. Nearly a decade after your diagnosis, is that still the case or are there moments where you’ve had to remind yourself of that?

ME: Oh, no. It’s something I live every single day and moment. I understood it as a life or death choice and I have to do what I love. If I step into a place where I am actively supporting something that I do not love, that feels negative to me, it will weigh me down. It is my number one priority.

O&AN: Some of your recent projects include the organization Uprising of Love—an organization that highlights the LGBT injustices in Russia. From boycotting shows in Colorado in the early 90s, there has always been an activist component to your art. Why is activism important to you?

ME: I wouldn’t say it’s important to me. It’s become a part of my life because of the choices I’ve made. I didn’t really set out to be a gay right’s advocate and activist; just by standing up and saying, ‘Yeah, I’m gay and this is who I am and this is my life’— just by speaking truthfully, I became an activist. I hope that I helped the movement but then, I found myself speaking truthfully about my cannabis use and I became a cannabis activist, and then cancer finds me and I go through the whole hell thing, so I’m a cancer advocate now. It’s these things that kind of happen to me, I don’t go looking for them.

O&AN: The organization’s title track was given a wicked club remix. Was that the first time you’ve had a track remixed?

ME: Yes, and oh my god, I just got another remix of it that ‘s just amazing. I love this sort of art now where people take a piece of music and recreate stuff around it and remix it up. And of course, it’s making me look very cool with my kids, which is very, very important.

O&AN: You’ve dabbled a bit over the last couple years with Broadway. What is the status on the rumored musical you and Linda are working on?

ME: It is still in line; it’s just that other projects keep cutting in line. We are so close to having it done so hopefully after my album and her TV show. It’s right there though and I would say give me another two years to get it up on its feet.

O&AN: Speaking of Linda, last summer after the Supreme Court decision, you announced you and Linda would be married. Did you tie the knot?

ME: No, it’s going to be—I’ll tell you, it’s in the next four months we’re going to get married.

O&AN: Well, a pre-congratulations to you both.

ME: Thank-you. And I’m looking forward to getting down there to Nashville, thank-you so much.

In a special Q&A fan session, Out & About Nashville went straight to Melissa Etheridge’s fans and the rocker answered two selected fan questions:

Q: In an interview you did with iTunes, you said that musically, Breakdown was the best album you did. Do you ever find difficulty in performing songs that were conceived out of such despair?

A: I don’t find it difficult. I might not be drawn to perform them because I’m not quite there right now or when I do, it’s like acting I think I can put myself back into that place that I remember. It did happen. It was an emotional situation I was in. The Breakdown songs are not the ones I choose to do every night because they are very personal and very deep. But they’re not difficult to do, no.

Q: This question came from a Twitter follower, who is flying to the Nashville show: @sevenuvseven do you read all your fans tweets? Or just some of them?

A: I try to read my Twitter feed every day. I love the technology and the opportunity to actually interact and hear my fans one-on-one, so yeah, I’m on the there! All the stuff you see, all the mistakes I make, that’s me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Note from Melissa on the Passing of Reverend Fred Phelps

Source: Melissa Etheridge Website

I have heard today that the Reverend Fred Phelps has died. He had been a shadow, a propelling force on the gay rights movement for over 20 years. He was based in my home state of Kansas. He would come with his dozen or so followers from the Westboro Baptist Church, family members most, and they would picket my shows in Kansas City. Oh, their posters were frightening and ugly. I often wondered how anyone who went to church could actually state that God hates anything.

He showed up for my 20th Leavenworth High School Reunion. Once again, he and his followers had the same scary posters. I am glad I did not bring my children to that one.

Yet every time I saw him on the news picketing a funeral I knew he was testing the nerve of a nation. I knew pretty soon the people of America would think to themselves that his message had nothing to do with Christianity and certainly nothing to do with Jesus Christ. His signs were based on fear, on the damnation of souls and they were now being blocked by angels wings and larger signs of love and peace. More protesters would turn out to make sure that grieving families would be sheltered from the hateful signs than were church members holding them.

As I hear the news of Rev. Phelps passing I also hear that he had been excommunicated from his own church in the end because he had begun advocating for a gentler approach. I like to believe that as one begins the transition back to source, back to The Creator, one sees more love in everyone living on this planet, and inside themselves.

May you find peace, Reverend Phelps. With your passing, so passes the soul shattering fight for the hearts and minds of the American people over Gay Civil rights. In the end love is love. I will be sending loving thoughts for you and to your family and loved ones.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Interview With Marc from The Midgetmen about Performing With Melissa Etheridge at SXSW

Melissa did several performances at 2014 SXSW, one of which was performing the song Refugee with The Midgetmen. The Eco-Friendly Street Team reached out to The Midgetmen about inviting Melissa to play with them at SXSW and performing with her on stage.

Eco-Friendly Street Team: First, which band member is answering these questions? What instrument do you play? Can you tell us a little bit about The Midgetmen?

Marc: I'm Marc -- bassist, sometimes singer, and the guy who books the party, operates our Twitter account, and does all the other pseudo-management type things for the band.

The Midgetmen -- also starring Alex on guitars/vocals, Jon on guitars/vocals, and Justin on drums -- are just 4 guys with real jobs and real lives who have let a hobby run off the rails. We started messing around and making noise sometime after September 2001. We all worked together at a local software company after college and we realized that we were all going to see the same bands play… and those bands always were getting beer for free. Logic dictated that we could get free beer as long as we were willing to embarrass ourselves on stage. And here were, more than a decade later, turning into greying Peter Pans, armed with guitars, wives, early morning conference calls, dogs, kids, 401ks, mortgages, and a suitcase full of songs.

Photo credit: The Midgetmen

EFST: Of all of the artists playing at SXSW, why did you decide to reach out to Melissa Etheridge?

Marc: Honestly, it was because I saw a retweet of her Tweet proclaiming how excited she was to be playing SXSW and I thought it was amusing -- here's a massively successful artist being invited to play a conference/festival that, in theory, was designed for industry folks and music obsessives (like myself) to discover relatively unknown bands! So, I was just poking fun at the entire situation -- keep in mind that Melissa's participation in an official conference panel discussion about her industry experiences had not yet been announced -- and not really considering that someone of her stature would even be aware that she had a Twitter account.

EFST: Can you tell us about your twitter exchange with Melissa, inviting her to play with you?

Marc: It was fairly surreal and because I was just being an obnoxious human being. To be clear, it's my understanding that the entire POINT of Twitter is to be an obnoxious human being, so I don't think I was doing anything unique. It just happened to work because Melissa (obviously) has a great sense of humor!

I scrolled way back into my tweet history and found these as the starting points:


January 7. themidgetmen: “HOPE YOU GET DISCOVERED!!!!! RT @metheridge Yes yes and yes!!! I will be at #SXSW!! I am so excited & already thinking of the set list.”

January 7. themidgetmen: “I once played blackjack w/ @metheridge at Hard Rock Vegas. Now she's got a chance to get a record deal at #SXSW. GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

And then this one, which actually got Melissa to respond:

January 8. Themidgetmen: “Day #2 & still no request from Team @metheridge to play our #SXSW party. Self doubt begins to set in. What if we can't help her get famous?”

True to Melissa's point on stage, I apparently never actually asked her to play the party! But, after that exchange exploded into a million back and forth moments, I sent her our band email, she got in touch, and my brain still can't comprehend how it all came together.

EFST: Why did you choose to play the song Refugee?

Marc: Once she said we should have a "guitar-off", I went and listened to a lot of her catalog on Spotify. I was in high school when she became famous and "Come To My Window" was on the radio at the 7-11 I worked at pretty much 3 times a shift. But, I wanted to find something that would be instantly recognizable to anyone who showed up, that the other guys in the Midgetmen would be excited to learn to play, and that also wouldn't be a burden on her. I saw she had covered Refugee, then watched a half dozen live versions of her performing it on YouTube, and said "This is it!"

Also, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers was one of the first ever arena rock shows I saw… so covering one of his songs, outside the context of us floundering around as our normal 4 piece band, seemed like a fun idea. We don't have a keyboard player or the laid back chops to really pull of a Tom Petty song as-is. It would just sound like an assault on everyone’s ears.

EFST: What was it like hanging out with Melissa Etheridge before the gig?

Marc: We actually didn't get to hang out at all! She had to do her soundcheck for her official gig at the Paramount, so we got her and her management in touch with our great friend Chad who used to stage manage Emo's during SXSW. Chad knows how to behave around famous people, so we put him in charge and then we got on stage to play our set. A couple songs into our set, I looked out into the packed crowd and noticed the back door to the venue was open to the alley and Chad was standing at the door with some folks including Melissa… and then I had to keep from blurting something out, because I didn't want a stampede of folks into the alley to get a picture.

EFST: Did you have a chance to rehearse at all?

Marc: Nope! We practiced Refugee in our practice space a whole lot as the normal 4 piece Midgetmen lineup with me sort-of singing the lead vocals. We did a really rough recording of our arrangement -- complete with me messing up the lyrics and a drumroll that ended 2 beats too late, so it was truly a traditional Midgetmen recording. And I sent that over to the Diarrhea Planet guys and then to Melissa. I wanted to give everyone the heads up on the pace we were playing it at, because it was slightly faster than the original and Melissa's versions.

EFST: What was it like jamming with Melissa Etheridge?

Marc: Pretty amazing. Incredibly amazing. Amazingly amazing. She's the ultimate professional. Four guys like us? We have to practice Refugee 75 times and we still can't play it properly. Melissa? She shows up, asks what key we're doing it in (fact: I don't have any clue and Jon had to tell her!), she says she's going to sing it too (fact: I was hoping she'd say that!), she plugs in her guitar, and it just happens perfectly. She lead all of us through the guitar solos, telling people to step up when it was their time, and had our drummer and I quiet it down (which is a rarity for this band) when it was time for a breakdown. There's no way we could ever lead folks unrehearsed and uncoordinated-in-advance the way she did. It was awesome.

Plus, looking out and seeing all our friends and fans singing along to this massively recognizable song and then seeing all Melissa's fans going crazy… it was damn cool.

Photo Credit: Angie Wormy

EFST: I've watched the video of your performance a few times, but I didn't see Melissa crowd surfing in order to get a t-shirt from you. Do you think Melissa would make a good crowd surfer?

Marc: There's no doubt in my mind that Melissa would make a good crowd surfer. If she's willing to get on stage with us and have that kind of fun, there's no doubt she could hang with folks lifting her up. They're way less likely to injure someone than we are!

EFST: You had twitter-invited Neil Young as well, but he didn't respond. I'm sure he's got great qualities, but do you think Melissa Etheridge is cooler than Neil Young?

Marc: Well, in terms of musical influences and my idol worship, Neil Young will always be cooler than Melissa Etheridge. That's not meant to be offensive in anyway. But, when you consider that Melissa was willing to get involved in any of this with us… there's no question that she's beyond cool and, since I have zero way to know if Neil Young would ever be cool to hang out with, I have to say that Melissa wins here. I was disappointed that she had to leave so quickly because, from what all her fans on Twitter have said, she isn't against shooting a shot of Patron. And I was hoping to get that happening!

EFST: What is your favorite Melissa Etheridge song, and why?

Marc: Other than the 7 guitar version of Refugee? I suppose it has to be Come To My Window, because it's burned into my brain from that high school job. Also, I'm going to go on record that the new Uprising Of Love song is pretty great, especially the solo versions I found on YouTube. I am hugely political and 100% enjoy artists who take stands on the right side of history.

EFST: If you were to choose one word to describe Melissa Etheridge, what would that one word be, and why did you choose that word?

Marc: "Awesome" because everything around this entire encounter, leading up to and concluding with how she sung and solo'ed on Thursday at our party, has been awesome. When she first emailed after the initial Twitter exchanges, I went and did some research because this was a woman who I knew by name (and of a few songs) but not much else. And, I start reading on the web about all the stuff she's done and it was just awesome. Just the fact that she did that Janis Joplin tribute live in front of the entire world right after her cancer treatment was awesome. She's not afraid of anything and putting herself out there -- even coming to a dive bar and playing with the Midgetmen -- and that, to me, is the very definition of awesome.

EFST: Feel free to include any other stories or anecdotes about Melissa you think fans might enjoy.

Marc: She indirectly has written at least one lyric for us for our next album that we're working on. At the party, she referred to Diarrhea Planet as a "real band with a joke name". And I responded that we're a joke band with a joke name. The 4 of us have already agreed that we've got work that into a song somewhere down the line.

EFST: Thanks for your time!

Thank you! And thank you to all the Melissa Etheridge fans out there who didn't tear us to shreds when this all started. There's probably not a huge crossover in terms of "Midgetmen fans" and "Melissa fans" and the listening preferences, so it was super fun that everyone was so supportive and rolled with it!

Melissa Etheridge, The Midgetmen, and Diarrhea Planet - Refugee. South by Southwest, 13 March 2014. Video by Angie Wormy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Melissa Etheridge to Perform at Opening Ceremonies for World Pride 2014 in Toronto

Source: Global News

Melissa Etheridge to perform at opening of WorldPride
By John R. Kennedy

TORONTO — Singer Melissa Etheridge will perform at the opening ceremonies for WorldPride 2014 in Toronto.

The 52-year-old Grammy and Oscar winner will be part of the festival kick-off celebrations on June 20 at Nathan Phillips Square.

WorldPride, presented by Pride Toronto, is an international celebration of diverse sexual identities that will run 10 days and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of revellers.

Etheridge, whose hits include “Come to My Window” and “I’m The Only One,” came out publicly in 1993. She won an Oscar in 2007 for “I Need To Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth.

Etheridge was inspired by the Russian government’s mistreatment of gay people to write and record “Uprising of Love,” a song that is raising funds to support LGBT activists in Russia.

“The lyrics of ‘Uprising of Love’ came from such a personal and passionate spot in my soul and I’m more than excited to share this anthem with the world,” Etheridge told Rolling Stone.

“Love is intangible and unpredictable, but it’s the one feeling that is universally experienced and desired by all.”

WorldPride organizers will make further announcements in the weeks to come about artists performing at the festival.

Toronto-born singer Deborah Cox, singer Martha Wash and DJs David Morales and Quentin Harris have already been announced as taking part in WorldPride.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The White House Student Workshop: The History of Women in Soul

First Lady Michelle Obama hosts middle school, high school and college students from across the country for an interactive student workshop: "I'm Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul."

Video posted on YouTube by The White House.

Women Of Soul Rock The White House

Source: Obnoxioustv's Blog

Women Of Soul Rock The White House: Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, And Melissa Etheridge Rock White House Workshop Before ‘Women of Soul’ Concert

First lady Michelle Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 6, 2014, with singers Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monáe, and Patti LaBelle, during a workshop for students as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series.

Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monae, and Melissa Etheridge gave the White House a little taste of what’s to come at Thursday night’s “women of soul” concert showcasing musical legends and up-and-coming female artists.

At a morning workshop for high school and college students, first lady Michelle Obama called soul “the kind of music that makes you move, no matter who you are or where you come from.”

“Sometimes it makes your hips move,” she said. “Sometimes it makes you rock your head. Sometimes it helps you just kick back and relax and soak it in. But no matter what form it comes in, you know this music always comes straight from the heart.”

The three singers had plenty of stories and advice to share with the students, then got them whooping, hooting and swaying with a trio of songs in the intimate venue of the State Dining Room. LaBelle, 69, did an impromptu a cappella version of the “The Lord’s Prayer.” Etheridge, 52, seated herself at a piano to play and sing “Stormy Weather.” And Monae, 28, performed “Victory,” a song she wrote and that she said she’d imagined being sung in church.

The three are to be joined Thursday evening by Aretha Franklin, Jill Scott, Ariana Grande, and Tessanne Chin for an “In Performance at the White House” concert to be livestreamed at WhiteHouse.gov/live and broadcast April 7 on PBS.

Robert Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum, applauds with singer Janelle Monáe, and Patti LaBelle, after an impromptu song by LaBelle, Thursday, March 6, 2014, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington

Mrs. Obama quoted LaBelle as once saying that she had succeeded because she “took chances and sang my butt off.”

The first lady tried her own riff on that advice — then admitted she may have taken it a little too far.
“Find your own voice and be proud of it,” she said. “And then, sing your butt off. Or work your butt off. Or whatever you do, do it until your butt comes off. ”

Then she added: “OK, that quote is going to be kind of funny in the papers. I already know it. My communications people are like, ‘What?’ But you guys all know what I meant — be good at what you do. ”
The concert was scheduled as part of Women’s History Month.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Obama to Host 'Women of Soul' Concert, Including Performance by Melissa Etheridge

Source: USA Today

Obama to host 'Women of Soul' concert
David Jackson, USA Today

The latest in a series of White House concerts celebrates women and soul music.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday host "Women and Soul: Performance at the White House," featuring Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Melissa Etheridge, among other musical artists.

The concert will celebrate "the great 'foremothers' of American music, with songs expressing the struggles and achievements of women," said a White House statement.

As with previous concerts, Mrs. Obama will host a workshop for students earlier in the day.

This one is entitled "I'm Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul."

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank You, Fan Asylum!!

Tim McQuaid, Lora Beard, Cyndy Poon, Marc Morozumi. Photo Credit: EFST. Picture from April 1, 2010.

On February 11, 2014, I received the e-mail that the Melissa Etheridge fan club would be “moving” to a new home.

I know Melissa changed her management last year and didn’t re-sign with her record company, so at first “moving” her fan club seemed not so out of line with the changes she is making. I tried to tell myself that things change, people change, change is inevitable, the only thing that stays the same is change, etc. I tried to think that the fan club “moving” didn’t affect me personally, and I tried to put it out of my mind as best I could.

But there it was. This feeling. In my chest. Something I couldn’t ignore. A dull pain. A sort of heaviness. And it hurt.

Fan Asylum will no longer be in charge of Melissa’s fan club. “Fan Asylum”? “Fan Asylum”? I know full well that’s the official name of the company that has run the Melissa Etheridge Information Network all these years. But the reality I felt in my heart is that it’s not “Fan Asylum” that will be going away: Tim McQuaid, Lora Beard, and Cyndy Poon will be going away. And that, to me, is very real.

That, to me, hurts.

I remember when I first joined MEIN back in early 2000. I think I mailed in my request to join Melissa’s fan club along with a note that read something like, “Where have I been all this time?!” because I’d only discovered Melissa’s music a few months prior to that, but already loved her music enough to join her fan club. There were a few tiers of membership back then, and I think I picked the middle tier. Of course it wasn’t long after that I’d wished I’d joined the highest tier. I started attending multiple Melissa Etheridge concerts, and purchasing merchandise, and always had positive experiences with Fan Asylum.

I do not recall exactly which of those early shows it was, but I do know I was not all that familiar yet with the world wide web and web pages and those sorts of things. I struck up a conversation with a woman who asked me if I “posted on the boards”, or was a “lurker”, and I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. In fact, I literally thought she was asking me sexual questions. I stared at her blankly and answered back, “Uh, no.” Of course eventually I came across the message boards on Melissa’s website, and I did become a lurker, and with a scared first starting of a thread introducing myself, I also became someone who posted on the boards. I remember John and Lora were the moderators, and if you had a question, you could send it straight to Lora, and Lora would respond directly back to you. I thought that was really cool.

The first travel package I attended was in June, 2002 in Florida, and I experienced first-hand the Welcome Party hosted by MEIN, hotel arrangements, concert tickets, Meet and Greets, and most importantly, getting the opportunity to meet and get to know other hard-core Melissa Etheridge fans. I’ve made a number of close friends from the travel packages I’ve gone on and still keep in touch with, and in fact, one of my best friends is in a long term relationship with someone we met on a travel package.

In 2007 this unofficial fan group, the Eco-Friendly Street Team, began, and I joined it in 2008. Because we wished to reach out to Melissa’s band members and staff and crew and people that interact with Melissa, Tim asked that we keep him informed of what we were up to, and of course we agreed. All of the conversations and messages I’ve traded with Tim and Lora relating to the Street Team have been positive and respectful, and I feel like they completely and totally get where I’m coming from, because they are fans of Melissa themselves. At concerts I always enjoy asking Tim and Lora and Cyndy what they thought about the shows, or latest MLE albums or songs, because they respond with the same MLE-fandom my fellow fans do.

In 2010 the Eco-Friendly Street Team was invited to help out at MEIN’s Sweet 16 Anniversary Party in Rancho Mirage, CA. I got the opportunity to interview fans and ask them their thoughts about the MEIN community. Of course people like the preferred tickets and cool merchandise, but what stood out for most everyone were the strong friendships and bonds made with fellow Melissa Etheridge fans all around the world. So many fans were grateful for the welcoming community that Fan Asylum has created and hosted for us all these years.

I feel now I’ve taken for granted the things that Tim, Lora and Cyndy have provided. Employees have come and gone from Fan Asylum, but I guess I just thought Tim and Lora and Cyndy would always be there. Over the years there has been so much laughter and good times in the MEIN community and I can’t thank them enough for laying the foundation for it. Fan Asylum has not so much been a company I’ve done business with, but rather individuals I interact with and have an emotional attachment to. I’m going to miss communicating with people I have a 14 year history with. I’ve become accustomed to being treated personally, courteously, and respectfully.

TLC= Tim, Lora, Cyndy.

I know the Melissa Etheridge community will continue on strong and new memories and experiences will be formed. I sincerely hope things will be as awesome as they are now. Fan Asylum has set some pretty high standards.

I’ve been going over my memories from the last 14 years, and the feelings generated by the MLE community created by Tim, Lora and Cyndy are inextricably woven into the fabric of my experiences. My memories, friendships, and participation in the Melissa Etheridge commune they help craft can never, ever be “moved”, or replaced.

I know everyone has had their own experiences with Fan Asylum, both good and bad, and for me it’s been virtually all good so I would like to take this opportunity to say to Tim McQuaid, Lora Beard, and Cyndy Poon-

Thank you, Fan Asylum. For everything.

Camille Tovar

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Melissa Etheridge to Play at Casino Rama

Source: Simcoe

When Melissa Etheridge learned of the Russian government’s mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, the legendary roots-rocker did what she does best: wrote a song.

The result, ‘Uprising of Love’, is a heartfelt call for unity.

“It came from a very powerful place,” Etheridge says in advance of her Feb. 20 performance at Casino Rama.

Proceeds from the song are being donated to the Russia Freedom Fund, which supports LGBT activists in that country.

“I feel like, here in North America the ball is finally rolling by itself and we are in the majority,” says Etheridge, who is gay. “Now it’s about the rest of the world. It’s a slow process, but we’ll get there.”

More than 25 years after scoring her first hit with the simmering-to-scorching swamp rock of ‘Bring Me Some Water’, Etheridge remains a powerful songwriter who can still deliver her message with gale-force vocals and an aggressively strummed guitar.

“You want to bring an audience to this point,” she says. “You want to get them in and get them interested and get them to a point of release.”

Regardless of the tempo, it often is the simplest songs that most resonate with her audiences.

“I almost didn’t put ‘Come To My Window’ on my record, I though it was too simple,” she says. “It seemed like it was kind of a vague song. Yet, I just found that, what do I know about what people are going to relate to? They just went right to that song.”

Performing live is “the payoff.

“That’s the beautiful thing, is getting in front of people and singing the songs and watching them sing it back to you and dancing and jumping up and down,” she says. “That’s so much fun.”

Etheridge’s activism on behalf of Russia’s oppressed gay people should come as little surprise.

She is a child of the sixties, a decade when songwriters frequently, and fervently, documented injustice and demanded social and political change through music.

“I grew up with Crosby, Stills and Nash ¬ ¬– four dead in Ohio – and Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement, these social movements as a child that I thought, ‘That’s right, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” she says. “That is our responsibility as people, is to stand up. Artists and musicians play a big part of it, they are the inspiration, they spread the word, they are the minstrels that go from city to city and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening’.”

Her own influences run the gamut from Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel and the Eagles to Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, and Barbara Streisand.

“We had one radio station in the sixties,” Etheridge says. “It was an AM station and you could hear Led Zeppelin, then you could hear Marvin Gaye, then you would hear Tammy Wynette, then Tommy James and the Shondells, all on one station.”

These days – perhaps surprisingly to her fans – she finds much to admire in the music being produced by some of today’s million-selling pop songstresses.

“I love Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus,” she says with a laugh. “I love listening to some ‘Roar’ and some ‘Wrecking Ball’. I think they’re very inspiring songs and women. They both have incredible voices. I have teenagers, I listen to the music.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Melissa Etheridge to Duet with Adam Lambert

Source: Twitter, and Press Party

American rock singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has delighted her followers on Twitter by revealing that she's in contact with vocal sensation Adam Lambert about possibly recording a duet together.

On February 9, Etheridge tweeted: "So many requests for a duet with @adamlambert ...I am up for it! What say you Adam? The people have spoken! #rockandroll."

Upon seeing her message, Lambert asked her to send him a direct message via the social networking site and she returned to Twitter last night (February 10) to tell fans that 'plans are in motion' for a collaboration:

"Well, Mama knows how to DM now! Plans are in motion... @adamlambert and I will keep you informed as the duet develops!! #Iloverockandroll."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adam Lambert and Melissa Etheridge Help Family Equality Council

Source: Greg In Hollywood

Adam Lambert and Melissa Etheridge help Family Equality Council dinner become hottest ticket in town – $571,000 raised

It seems like just two years ago that the Family Equality Council dinner was this nice event sprinkled with a few celebrities.

It’s suddenly become one of the hot tickets on the calendar.

I attended last night event at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios and it was jam-packed with celebrities including Adam Lambert, Darren Criss, Melissa Etheridge, George Takei, Pauley Perrette, Melissa Etheridge, Amber Riley, Scott Foley, Ryan Murphy, Tuc Watkins, Alex Newell, Alec Mapa, Jason Collins, Dan Bucatinsky, Peter Paige, Busy Phillips, Aisha Tyler, and Tim Allen, among others.

Lambert was a revelation as he came out and sang a powerful version of Mad World accompanied by just a piano. Later, Riley belted out Who You Are as photos of LGBT families flashed on the large screens in the room.

Amazing stuff.

Then there was Etheridge who told funny stories, reflected on the past 20 years of LGBT progress then played her guitar and played her new song Uprising of Love.