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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Performs at National Radio Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

Source: All Access Music Group

National Radio Hall Of Fame Inducts Eight New Members

A full house at CICADA (11/09) in LOS ANGELES as the NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME induction ceremony moved from its traditional home in CHICAGO for this year's induction of eight of radio's best during a live radio broadcast and dinner show.

NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME Chairman and SOUND MIND LLC's KRAIG KITCHIN welcomed MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS Pres. BRUCE DuMONT and the ceremony's MC, syndicated radio star DELILAH to the stage and then show's announcer, WESTWOOD ONE's JIM BOHANNON was introduced.

There was a terrific video recap of radio history that was introed by the late PAUL HARVEY, that set the tone for the evening and it was on to the first induction of CHARLIE & HARRIGAN, presented by NTS MEDIAONLINE's AL PETERSON, for their work at SAN DIEGO's KCBQ-A, KFMB-A and being one of the first morning shows ever to be syndicated.
LOS ANGELES Talk legend MICHAEL JACKSON introduced the next inductee, BARRY FARBER, one of NEW YORK's legendary Talk hosts.

Former CEO/Pres., Board Of Directors CHICAGO PUBLIC MEDIA and GM at WBEZ/CHICAGO TOREY MALATIA introduced the next inductee, IRA GLASS, host of "This American Life."

HUBBARD BROADCASTING Chairman STANLEY S. HUBBARD spoke briefly and eloquently about his father, STANLEY E. HUBBARD, the next inductee, and the founder of HUBBARD BROADCASTING.

The legendary LARRY KING was on hand to introduced the next inductee, one of baseball's most widely-known announcers, JON MILLER, who has been calling the plays for the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS since 1997 on KNBR-A/SAN FRANCISCO.
Superstar MELISSA ETHERIDGE made a brief appearance to show a video and discuss the power of women in radio and their continuing influence on the platform.

MARION ROSS, best known for her role as MARION CUNNINGHAM on the ABC TV's Happy Days inducted AGNES MOOREHEAD who was part of ORSON WELLS' radio acting group for some of his most famous radio broadcasts as part of the MERCURY THEATER, and a star in movies like "Citizen Kane" and later as ENDORA on the TV show "Bewitched."

One radio's most legendary morning stars, RICK DEES was up next and spoke about some of the legends we'd lost this year, DON PARDO, LARRY LUJACK and CASEY KASEM. He then introed two of CASEY's daughters, KERRI and JULIE KASEM who spoke of the love and support for their father and thanked everyone for honoring him.

And then nationally syndicated morning star, and iconic KIIS-FM/LOS ANGELES morning man RYAN SEACREST made a touching video appearance and described what CASEY KASEM meant to him personally and how he inspired him in his life and career.
The final induction was for "Chicken Man" creator and RADIO RANCH owner DICK ORKIN, with a warm and funny intro from longtime associate CHRISTINE COYLE JOHNSON. ORKIN was hilarious in his own right during his acceptance.

Dinner was highlighted by a terrific two-song set from INGRID MICHAELSON including her recent hit "Girls Chase Boys" followed by a wonderful performance by MELISSA ETHERIDGE, who invited INGRID back for a duet singing "Yesterday" by the BEATLES, and then "Bye Bye Love" by the EVERLY BROTHERS. The show ended with MELISSA singing one of her biggest, "Bring Me Some Water".

Melissa Etheridge Interview with The News Herald

Source: The News Herald

At the age of 53, Melissa Etheridge is feeling young and energetic.

Even though she’s been around for a quarter of a century, the folk-and-blues-tinged rock singer-guitarist decided a change was needed in her career. That led to not only her starting a record label but altering her approach to writing and recording.

For her latest album, Etheridge decided to work with songwriters Jerrod Bettis (Adele, OneRepublic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (Grammy Award-winning producer of the Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon) and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown). The result is the fiery “This Is M.E.”

Now the two-time Grammy Award winner, known for hits “Come to My Window,” “I’m the Only One” and “I Want to Come Over,” is back on tour. The News-Herald talked to Etheridge about her show Nov. 14 at the PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre.

NH: When you look back to your many tours, do you have any memories of playing Northeast Ohio?

ME: In the ’90s I played there a lot. I have to say my favorite time I’ve ever played Cleveland was the concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the stadium. It was one of those moments where I stood there and went, “OK, remember this, remember this, remember this.” I was standing there watching James Brown perform, and I had never seen him perform. Then I took a moment and looked around me and went, “Oh my God. Not only am I watching James Brown perform, but I’m standing here with Jackson Brown, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck Berry.” Everybody was watching James Brown perform. It was so amazing, and I was so grateful that night.

Regarding your latest effort, “This Is M.E.,” what was it like working with so many songwriters and producers?

Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. I had plenty that didn’t, and oh the ones that did work were magic because they were hooking up with a part of me that was me and resonated with it. All of the songs that really took off almost have all of the same guitars in them and harmonicas. It’s funny. The sound is very consistent throughout the album, even though it’s different producers.

You’re currently closing your set with new song “Monster.” What does that song mean to you?

This is just about anybody who feels different and has been told they’re different and they’re a monster. [In concert] That is me standing up and saying to my fans, I believe this song in 10 years will still move you like the way “I Do” does, “Bring Me Some Water” does. This song is also going to move you just like that, and I’m putting it right here to show you how much fun we can have with it.

Is there anything new you’re doing on this current tour?

It’s been my goal with this album and tour to see how long I can keep the audience standing up. And if they stand up for the whole show, I win. This is about moving and dancing and feeling the music and celebrating in our bodies. That’s where I’m coming from with this whole tour.

So, how many times have the audience remained on their feet during this tour?

We’re four for four.

Gee, that’s putting a lot of pressure on your Cleveland audience to keep the streak alive.

I know (laughs). Sometimes I there are some audience members who need to rest their knees for a while but they get up when they can. I understand that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Elmore Magazine- LeAnn Rimes and Melissa Etheridge: You Go, Girl!

Source: Elmore Magazine

Elmore: What are you listening to right now?

LeAnn Rimes: I’m listening to Hozier. He’s really soulful, throwback rock and blues. Pink’s doing a folk record called Rose Ave., and the two songs I’ve heard from it, I really loved.

Melissa Etheridge: I’ve been listening to my own album a lot, because I’m getting the show together, but once I’m on tour, I stop listening to them. I listen to the radio, to see what’s out there in the world. I really enjoy Sia; I love her voice, and the pop-dance feel that the music has. I like Arctic Monkeys, the combination of real guitars, real musicians and then the technology influence.

EM: What was the first record you ever bought?

LR: I remember begging my mom and dad to buy the Salt-N-Pepa record that had “Push It” and “Shoop.” I was nine or ten, and it was explicit, but of course I had no idea what I was singing about. Later on, I was embarrassed when I realized what they were saying.

ME: I bought Loggins and Messina at 11 years old. The first album that my father gave me was Carole King’s Tapestry, for Christmas.

EM: What was the first instrument you played?

LR: I took piano theory for seven years but I was young and I had a music teacher that read music and couldn’t play by ear and I was completely the opposite. It was very discouraging, to be honest. I love to play drums but we lived in an apartment, so the only time I got to play drums was out on the road, just playing around. I don’t think it was my destiny at that age to play any instrument.

ME: The clarinet, in school, at eight years old. I wanted to learn the drums, and they said, “Girls don’t play drums.” I wanted to play trumpet, they said, “Girls don’t play trumpet.” I said, “Well, come on, guys!” Right after that, I picked up the guitar.

EM: What brought you to the instrument you now play?

LR: I started to play guitar, but then I liked my nails too much.

ME: I started playing guitar at ten. The teachers said I wouldn’t be able to do it, that my fingers would bleed and I’d want to quit. My father bought my older sister a guitar, and I begged to play it, so I got that guitar.

EM: Who would you like to write with that you haven’t?

LR: I’m a huge David Gray fan, and I love knowing him and knowing his brain and how it works. I just met Alanis Morissette not long ago, even though we’ve had the same manager for years. We just talked about writing when we saw each other. I think she’s super talented and I’ve always loved her songwriting.

ME: Writing’s such a personal experience. I went in with some people, and it didn’t work, and the ones where it does work, it’s so beautiful, it’s such fun. I’d like to say I’d love to get in there and write something with Adele, but it might not work at all. If Bruce [Springsteen] wants to sit down, I’m all for it.

This album was a lot more collaborative than my other albums. I would say 90% of the lyrics are mine. I worked with RoccStar, who comes from this hip-hop side and was very collaborative, and he really taught me how to get the attitude going, Here’s a 20-something hip-hop artist helping a mom with some attituuude. We had a lot of fun.

EM: What musician influenced you most?

LR: I started out listening to Patsy Cline and Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. All of them had this incredible control over their instrument. I got into Janis Joplin for kind of the same things, the feeling and the passion and the pain. I’ll listen to Aerosmith, then Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Aretha Franklin—across the board. What always attracted me was honesty and people that made you feel something.

ME: I have to go with Springsteen. During the ’60s, it was folk music—CSN, Bob Dylan—and pop.

EM: What was the song or event that made you realize you wanted to be in music?

LR: It’s hard when you start so young. There was no real “Aha” moment about it; I was born that way. A lot of it was a survival mechanism. We didn’t make a lot of money in a very small town in Mississippi, plus it was a way for me to express myself. My parents said that at two or three years old, I would sing at family events and I’d stop and say, “Clap for me,” and if they didn’t clap, I’d walk away.

ME: I think when I first got up in front of an audience. It was a talent show, I was 11 years old, sixth grade, at the Leavenworth Plaza Talent Show, in the mall. There were probably 40 or 50 people in the audience, and I was like “This is it!” Give me a microphone, and I’m very happy!”

EM: What was it like the first time you didn’t have to carry your own gear?

LR: I was probably six or seven by the time I was performing at Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue in Fort Worth and I was making $125 every weekend. That’s a lot of money for a little kid. My dad taught me a great worth ethic: If I worked every Saturday I would have to have a new song, and have a chart for the band. He made me go and give it to them all and I’d rehearse during the week.

I won my Grammys when I was 14. I was really sick, I had a 104-degree fever and the flu, was on steroids, and I literally was begging not to go. I was delirious and doing press, feeling sick as a dog. We walk out and I’m literally standing in the pouring rain in New York City with a Grammy, looking at my publicist, and I said, “Whitney Houston wouldn’t wait for her limo in the rain! Just get me a car home!” I think that was my first “diva moment.” We’re from the South; my mom and dad were very polite—“please” and “thank you,” and you do your own stuff, you know? To this day, I have a hard time asking for things.

ME: I was 27, on the first tour with my first record. I opened for this unknown band in England, and we played the diviest dives. It was truly amazing. I had one guy with me that helped me and who would set up, and it was great. He’d tune my guitar…awesome! It was a group called Martin Stephenson and the Daintees. If you’re opening for them, nobody knows you. It was kind of an underground thing, a couple hundred people.

EM: Who would you like in your rock ‘n’ roll heaven band?

LR: For drums, I love Steve Jordan; he’s played on a lot of my records. For guitar, Jimi Hendrix—that would be interesting. Backup vocals: Rachelle Ferrell, or I could put Yolanda Adams anywhere near me. On piano, Elton John, or I would love Stevie Wonder on piano and background vocals and anything else.

ME: John Bonham on drums, Larry Graham on bass, Billy Preston on keyboards and Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. For backup singers, I’d have the Pointer Sisters. I’d be singing in front of them all, and playing guitar everyplace.

EM: What’s your desert island album?

LR: I’ve never gotten tired of hearing David Gray’s Life in Slow Motion. I also love Bryan Adams’ Greatest Hits.

ME: Joan Armatrading’s classics.

Melissa Etheridge Interview with New Times Broward Palm Beach

Source: New Times Broward Palm Beach

Melissa Etheridge: "You Can't Have a Happy Ending to an Unhappy Journey"
by Liz Tracy

Melissa Etheridge has always been a sort of mysterious character. Even though it seems her whole life is on easy display, there's still something about her that makes you want to delve deeper, something that draws you to her metaphorical window.

Two things the singer is most known for, after her music, are that she is, in fact, a gay woman, and she and her former partner had children using David Crosby's seed -- which is absolutely the reproductive definition of rock 'n' roll. But there's so much more to Etheridge than these seemingly juicy bits of tabloid fodder. She's a breast cancer survivor and an activist for the environment, marijuana, and gay rights -- so, it's safe to say that after last night's election, we'll be lucky if she's still coming to town.

Thanks to Pompano Beach Arts and AEG Live, she's heading to the new Pompano Beach Amphitheater (The AMP) which was recently been taken over by the Creative City Collaborative. She's touring with a whole new, bluesier sound and showcasing her album This Is M.E.. And you can whet your palate for the show with PBS' Hitmakers series, which airs November 14 at 9 p.m.

We spoke with Etheridge recently about what nurtures her soul, the new elements she's added to her live performances, and the crowdsourced cover art that decorates her newest release.

New Times: I wanted to ask you about the cover art on your newest album. You took pictures from your fans to create an image of yourself. Where'd you come up with that idea?
Melissa Etheridge: Well, that was through a lot of thought with my new management when we were putting the record together. We knew it would be an independent effort, so we knew we had to really ignite the fan base because we wouldn't have as much money to promote and kinda do the things you can with a large label.

We wanted to get interest before and connect the fan base with it. It was actually the marketing part of my management that came up with, "Is there something we can use, pictures they send in?" I went, "Maybe we can make a mosaic of a picture of me?" Yeah, This Is M.E.! Just one of those brainstorming sessions.

Have you had a positive response?
Oh, man. They love it, because they send their pictures in, and we use them, but there's an app on the website they can look at like a magnifying glass and find their picture on the website.

The new album, your single off it, "Take My Number," is kind of a romantic song. Do you consider this a romantic album -- not in the classic sense, but...
There's a lot of romance, emotion, and sexual stuff on this album. It's a very intimate album... I won't say intimate, but there's a lot of feelings.

Anything in your life influence it?
The way I always made my records is I can't help to write very personally at the time. Whether the songs are looking forward or looking back, there's very much of me in it.

Look at all my albums and put them back to back to back, and it's one big diary, basically. This album is no exception. The good news is I'm in a really great and exciting place, and so you're going to have a really great and exciting album, because that's how I feel. I have more energy. I feel stronger about who I am, about myself, about what I need. And all those things. Just really powerful, and it comes through in the album.

Do you think it's more difficult to be in the spotlight writing about more personal stuff?
I wouldn't call it more difficult. It makes it more sharp; it makes it more interesting. You have to be more clever.

You got your start making country.
Oh yeah, back when I was a preteen.

How do you feel about where country's gone today?
I'm a classic country girl. When I want to listen to country music, I'll listen to Charley Pride, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn. I go way back. The country of today just reminds me of the pop music of yesterday.

To me, country was... country's more in the writing. I understand the subject is going to be country. And there are some artists really holding that country line. I love country music; I think it's great music.

You fall in that same tradition of storytelling...
I always stand just outside the country music world. I'm friends with tons of them and would love to someday be invited inside their playground to play.

Have you ever played with any of your heroes, like Merle Haggard?
I've been on stage with Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, some really great ones, but not the early ones.

You recently just got married. Congratulations. I wanted to ask you a little about the politics of gay marriage. Any thoughts on how the country's trending?
I think we rolled the boulder up the hill, and now it's rolling down and it feels like it's got some momentum. And we don't have to push so hard, you know? Our gorgeous American Constitution, our whole form of democracy, can withstand social changes. It was built to do that. To ensure that it's based on freedom.

I'm not going to quote Thomas Jefferson, but one of his quotes says, we believe in this equality for even things we can't imagine right now. That's what he was talking about. What's happening in our country is a direct reflection of that, of the idea of freedom of democracy, of equal rights, human rights. America's always been the leader in that. And we continue to be the leader in that.

I know you're an environmental activist. We don't seem to be making any progress there. Any solutions?
The environment is such a funny thing. It's in the mind of the beholder. We have to bring it back to ourselves. It's about our own personal environment. If our own personal environment isn't healthy, how am I supposed to expect them to be concerned about living in the world environment? It's the hermetic principle, "as above, so below." You gotta work it out here first and then it'll take care of itself out there.

It was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You're a survivor. Do you take part in events or anything?
It's funny. I was diagnosed in October, and man it comes every year, and I have a celebration. I'm all for being aware. I emphasize and really try to bring home: It's awareness of your own self. It's not about being afraid. It's not about running out and getting a mammogram out of fear. I would hope it could turn into the awareness of being aware of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, understanding that food is medicine and stress will kill you. These things we can look at.

I don't' take part in a lot of big pink things. I do spend a lot of time talking about it in October; people ask me questions about it. I try to let them know as a ten-year survivor, a "brvivor," as I call it, this is what's working for me, being mindful of myself, understanding what I'm eating and the stress I'm under.

What do you do on a daily basis, like to nurture your soul?
It's about being in touch with yourself, with your own happiness. Happiness and joy are extremely important to put so far down the line. That'll make you sick. If it's not one of your priorities, you're not going to get it; you can't have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.

I really focus on that, on the joy in my life. I can't stress healthy foods enough, whatever I'm putting in my body, just understanding the energy, where it comes from and what it's going to do to my body. And stress. A little bit of stress is good, but the stress that worries us and wears us down, that'll make us sick. I monitor that. And yoga. I think yoga is going to save the world.

And how about therapy of making music?
I'm so lucky to be able to make music. Music is just a healer. To exchange that energy with people is amazing, to sing my innermost thoughts and scream them out into the world is extremely healthy. Yes, I think it's great.

Are you working on anything new musically?
The new album came out. I have a new band, and I'm taking my rock roots and sort of stretching them. Where I used to be like a Led Zeppelin, the one singer with the rock band behind him, now, I'm looking more of a Joe Cocker thing. A more soulful band. I have backup singers for the first time. I'm really excited about this tour.

My bass player is the incredible Jerry Wonda; he was the bass player for the Fugees. He's put together the Platinum Sound. He has a whole music factory in New York City. I asked him to join forces with me.

How do you hope people respond to this new sound?
I hope they get up and dance and can't sit down!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pride Source- Q&A: Melissa Etheridge On Letting Go, Moving On & The Song 'I Didn't Wanna Do'

Source: Pride Source

'I Completely Flat Lined And Had No Interest In Business As Usual'

It's been more than 20 years since Melissa Etheridge, after declaring herself a lesbian at an inaugural ball for President Clinton, came out on record. Released in 1993, the artist's benchmark album, "Yes, I Am," would signify a giant leap forward for the LGBT community - and, also, Etheridge's career.

The landmark LP, her mainstream breakthrough, came before Ellen, before "Will & Grace," before Laverne Cox graced the cover of TIME. Putting her career on the line, Etheridge still stood like a pillar of hope, valiance and torch-carrying fortitude. And it wouldn't be the last time.

Taking another shot in the dark with "This Is M.E.," a DIY disc released on Etheridge's own label, M.E. Records, the 53-year-old goes independent for the first time since signing with Island Records in the mid '80s.

Catching up with Etheridge one recent afternoon - she's crunching on some granola, which is so very Melissa Etheridge-y of her - the rocker discusses how "flat lining" influenced her decision to go indie, why she stopped reading her own press and which song of hers she didn't want to record.

The album is called "This Is M.E.," a play on your initials. But how about nicknames - do you have any of those?

I don't. I pretty much answer to whatever anybody calls me. (Laughs)

Especially if that person is Linda Wallem, your wife.

Exactly. "Yes, dear!"

To quote one of your songs, was the process of making this album like "the letting go"?

That was exactly it. Thank you so much for seeing that, because last year I did cut all the strings. All of them - every single one. I gutted my whole team that I had behind me for 20-plus years. I just said, "Look, it's time. I need a new model. I need a new way of doing this." I completely flat lined and had no interest in just business as usual. In doing so, I went and talked with and interviewed a bunch of managers, record companies, lawyers, agents and dozens of people, and I found out a lot about me in doing so. I got a new view of what other people in the business think about me and my business and (learned that) I don't need those old structures anymore. Because of the new technology, I can reach my fans. I have a fan base, I have social media, I can let every single one of them know. I can sell just as many records as I had been selling with a record company, and I can own my record. I could take charge of this, and I don't have to answer to a record company.

Was it something you regretted not doing sooner? Because I bet you wished you owned the rights to "Come to My Window."

Absolutely. You have to just look ahead, though. You can't look back and go, "Ah, all those songs!" That's just the way it is.

What's the best part about being your own boss?

The responsibility. There's no one I can blame. I have to believe in every single one of these songs. I had to believe that, in the studio working with each of these producers and musicians, I was taking full responsibility for every single note on this album.

Had you been feeling a lack of support from your label?

Oh yeah. From "Lucky" in 2004 and on, the record industry was, every year, falling in huge amounts and getting less and less, and also, those albums were not incredibly commercial albums because they were introspective. I was investigating myself and my own spirit and thoughts, and so those albums weren't gonna be big commercial hits, so they didn't get a lot of attention.

On "Lucky," with the song "Meet Me in the Dark," you actually addressed this sense of abandonment you were feeling at the time regarding the label's lack of support. Isn't that right?

Exactly - I did. I sat down and said, "I'm gonna write this song for those people who listen to albums to find that song that's just special."

Was it then that you first started thinking of career alternatives?

Yeah, indeed.

What kind of pressure were you experiencing from the label? At the time, were they forcing you to make radio hits?

(Pauses) Well, there's only so much you can do with me. I am what I am, and I know that on "Lucky" the song "Breathe" was not my song at all. That was one that the record company came to me and said, "Look, we think this could be a hit." I did something that I will never do again. I like the song - it's a great song - but I really felt like I was doing something I didn't wanna do. I got cancer afterwards and went, "Never again."

At this moment in your career, you're really embracing solitude.

Yes, I am.

How have all these changes reshaped how you approach music and how you approached this album?

It's reinvigorated my love for the industry and the art form beyond just singing and performing, but actually with the writing and the producing and creating of these songs. My god, I think there are at least five different producers on this record and I worked with others that didn't quite work out. I got to work with all kinds of people. I threw out to my management, "Think outside the box," and that's how I ended up with RoccStar and Jerry "Wonda."

Is it easier to write with a broken heart or a happy heart?

Well, it's not easy to write in any situation, but it depends. I think one has to learn how to make any personal state a state that one can create from. I can write "Who Are You Waiting For?" - which is both. Yeah, I was brokenhearted and smashed and lifted up, so I can create from both. I can create from an old memory of, "You done me wrong," and write "Ain't That Bad." That's the craft of writing. You give me even a mundane subject and I will craft a human experience around it.

Tell me the story behind the first song you wrote for the album.

There are two. I wrote them by myself before I brought them to a producer and those were "Who Are You Waiting For?" and "A Little Hard Hearted." For those two, I sat down the way I normally do: I actually sat down at the piano because I like writing on the piano; it brings out different musical things than if I write on the guitar. So "A Little Hard Hearted" was actually more of a ballad than it ended up being. But yeah, that was one of the first ones. It was like, "I don't wanna be broken any more. I wanna move on," which is what we've done. With (ex-wife) Tammy (Lynn Michaels), both of us have worked really hard to put all the crap behind us and just be two loving households that can work together for the kids.

How did you deal with the tabloids that pitted you two against each other?

I just didn't go online for a couple of years! (Laughs) I don't look at that stuff because it's this sense of, I have no control over what people are thinking. I know what my truth is and there's no way I can convince other people of it. They're gonna believe whatever they believe, and I just have to move on through this. Time will always tell, and the truth always comes out, so I'm just gonna be the best person I can be and move on. I could get stuck in that. And that's like a whirlpool. That'll just suck you right down into it.

Have you ever read your own press? Googled "Melissa Etheridge"?

Oh, sure. Eight times out of 10, it's a pleasant experience. Other times it's, "I didn't need to see that."

Having spent so much of your life on stage - how has that changed for you? How is getting out on stage different now than it was when you first got out there?

I'm different. I mean, I've been on stage since I was 11 years old, so I went through a lot of being on stage when no one knows who you are, being on stage when you're singing other people's music, being on stage when no one's paying attention - I know that.

I also know the wonderful feeling of being on stage when people are expecting something. I was always thrilled when I walked on stage and someone paid money to come see me. Now when I walk on stage, I haven't even sung a note and people are going crazy. That's just ... that's a dream come true. To start a song and people know it - I love it, love it, love it.

Was that something you imagined for yourself as a kid? Are you the artist you set out to be?

Yeah, I knew that I wanted to be a singer/songwriter. I knew that I wanted to write the songs too - that it was important that that be a part of what I do - so I'm very happy that when I start these songs that I've written, people know that. So yes, I am.

Knowing all you know about yourself now, what would you tell the Melissa Etheridge of the '80s?

"Hey, you can relax. Don't worry. Don't get all worked up about it, because it's all right - you're gonna make it."

The best part of the whole thing is the journey - it's actually the getting there, not the being there. It's who I met in the process, and the memories. Just the whole experience is what it's about, and I'm so grateful for it.

As one of the first out public figures, what's your proudest moment as a gay icon?

It's when a teenager or a successful 27-year-old will come up to me and say, "Thank you. You saved my life. If it weren't for you, I would've never come out and been able to live the life I've lived." And what can I say? That's worth everything.

Every single person who makes that choice to stand up and present him- or herself in life as who they are - every single time one person does that - it changes the world. It goes out and it changes others, and if they're doing it in public and living their truth - I mean, come on, Ellen and Michael Sam! - they change the world.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I would love for it to be, "Hey, that Melissa Etheridge, she just changed the world a little bit." That maybe - because I was here - life was great for some other folks, you know? That'd be nice.

Which song of yours will likely be played at your funeral?

(Sings creepily) "Coooome to my windoooow." (Laughs) I really haven't thought about it. That's one thought I haven't thought about! I'll leave that up to you guys, OK?

In 2002, you released your memoir "The Truth Is...: My Life in Love and Music." Would you consider writing another?

Oh yeah. That one was just the first third of my life. I have much more to write about. Life happens so quickly that I haven't even jotted anything down, but I think about it all the time. The next book I'm gonna write, I will have sat down and taken a large chunk of time to write it because I think it deserves that.

What would you call this second book?

Something like, "The Truth Changes." Because it does! With my mother and my sister, I certainly don't hold the same sort of angst that I used to at all. That's so far away from me. I can look back and tell a story that I told and I look at it a little differently now, because I've learned more things and I'm a different person.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Offers Her Top 5 Tips for Guitarists

Source: Music Radar

Melissa Etheridge's top 5 tips for guitarists
"There are always things you can do to up your game, no matter who you are"
Joe Bosso

Melissa Etheridge has a little secret. "It's kind of funny to talk about," says the Oscar winner and two-time Grammy winner. "I used to kid other people about it, but the fact is, yep, I'm a guitar nerd." She lets out a throaty laugh and roars, "Put me in a room with a bunch of guitars and pedals, and that's it – I'm full-out geekin'!

"A lot of girls don’t geek out on guitars like guys do," Etheridge continues. "It takes a subtle understanding of the instrument. I think a woman playing the guitar is more right-brained; we’re more about feeling and emotion than technique. But when I finally crossed over into technique, I was like, ‘This is cool!’ And it is – it's the coolest thing."

And she's not shy about spreading the word. This past summer, prior to the release of her 13th studio album, This Is M.E., which, coincidentally, is the debut album on her new label, ME Records, Etheridge embarked on a solo tour in which she stood on stage with 10 or so of her beloved six- and 12-string friends behind her in a semi-circle. "It was like a guitar playland," she says. "On some songs I used a looper. I created these loops right there on the spot and played guitar over them – different rhythms or leads. It looked like magic to the audience. They thought I was some sort of guitar genius. That was a lot of fun."

As she has done on her other albums, Etheridge approached the recording of This Is M.E. with an ear toward capturing her full-band live sound. "I like records to sounds like records, but not to the point where I can't reproduce a song on stage," she explains. "I layer guitars, but I don't go overboard. On this record, I would either start with my 12-string acoustic, like on Take My Number, or on some numbers, like Ain’t That Bad, the bedrock sound is my ’82 Les Paul Custom. And we don't lose those main guitars, no matter what else we put on the tracks."

On the following pages, Etheridge runs down her top five tips for guitarists, two of which emphasize having confidence in developing one's sound. "It's so important," she stresses. "In addition to your words and melodies, your signature sound is all you really have as an artist. And even when you're giving a nod to one of your idols, you can still be yourself."

To wit, Etheridge points to the rousing rocker I Won't Be Alone Tonight. "It's total Bruce," she gushes. "When [producer] Jon Levine got together, we bonded over our love of Bruce Springsteen, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s create something that we wish Bruce would make’ – you know, that kind of song we’d love to hear from him again. I sat down with my guitar and wrote I Won’t Be Alone Tonight, which is unabashedly Bruce-love. It's not a rip, it's more like a tribute, but I couldn't have done that if I wasn't comfortable in my own sound and who I am.”

Melissa Etheridge's This Is M.E. is available at iTunes and Amazon. For more information and for tour dates, visit Etheridge's official website. And read on for her top five tips for guitarists.

1. Ask questions

First off, I have to give it up to my guitar techs. Over the years, they’ve helped me out so much and really taught me a lot. I’m really indebted to them for being so patient with me.

“So here’s a little story: A few years ago, I was a little embarrassed by how much I didn’t know, so I went to this little music store in Thousand Oaks, outside of LA, and I said, ‘I want to talk to somebody about pedals.’ They brought out their pedal expert. He didn’t know who I was, which was pretty cool, actually. I wasn’t a celebrity to him; I was more like a suburban mom who was strangely interested in guitars.[Laughs]

“I spent two hours in the store with him, just asking questions and having him go through everything for me. It was incredible. He helped me so much and really made me understand how things worked and why they worked. So to anybody who’s confused about gear, don’t be. Ask questions. A lot of times, it’s that person at your local music store who can help you out.”

2. Decide what you want your sound to be

“There are so many possibilities out there – it’s endless. Just in distortion alone, the options are overwhelming. But you need to decide what type of sound you want; you don’t want the sound to lead you around.

“Depending on what kind of band you’re in, you should think to yourself, ‘How can my sound help and define this music?’ Once you’ve arrived at that answer or that goal, then you can go out and figure out how to make that sound, whether it’s based around certain pedals or guitars or amps, or even the way you play.

“But you need to have that concept figured out first – ‘What’s my sound?’ Otherwise, you’ll be going down a million roads, and you could end up driving around forever.”

3. Be confident in your sound

“OK, you’ve figured out your sound. Now, be confident about it and stay with it. If you start chasing something else, you won’t really have your sound, your base.

“That’s the most beautiful thing, when you can hear a song and go, ‘Oh, well, that’s Brian May’ or ‘I know who that is – Keith Richards.’ Because they know their sound, and they believe it in. That kind of confidence allows them to concentrate on their playing and songwriting.”

4. Fresh strings

“It depends on your guitar. There’s one guitar that I keep my old strings on because I just love the sound – I don’t want to mess with it. But generally, I prefer to have new strings on my guitars. Sometimes when I don’t get the sound I want, when something just isn’t feeling right about it, I know the reason – because my strings are old.

“My guitar tech changes my strings daily on the road, but I change them at home. Because I don’t play every day at home, I don’t need constant string changes like I do on tour. At home, I probably change strings once a month. I don’t really mind – if you’re a guitar player, it’s what you do. I feel a little sorry for my guitar tech when he has to change the 12-string models, though. I have at least three of them out on the road with me, so do the math – that’s a lot of strings.”

5. Pay attention to guitar placement

“A lot of times, if you’re playing punk rock or maybe metal, you wanna put your guitar down low. You want that sort of Ramones look. I get it – it totally looks cool, especially if you were one of the Ramones. [Laughs]

“The problem is, putting your guitar down that low, where it’s past your belt buckle, can take your wrist out of alignment with the instrument. You lose a lot of control that way. If you find that you’re having trouble getting a certain guitar lick out, try moving your instrument up a little bit.

“This happens with me all the time. I’ll have a problem with a certain part, or my wrist will get really tired and give out, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, I know why – this is a different strap.’ I’ve become really aware of where the guitar is sitting on my body and how it can affect the way I play.

“Not that you want the guitar all the way up on your chest so it’s practically under your chin. Some jazz guys do that, and it looks super dorked-out. [Laughs] So somewhere in the middle is cool. Like most things, you have to experiment and see what feels right. Definitely pay attention to your picking wrist. If you can’t control it the way you want, your strap is adjusted wrong.”

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Melissa Etheridge "This Is M.E." Concert in Mashantucket, CT

Melissa Etheridge performs Ain't That Bad

Video posted on Youtube by Tracy Albright

Melissa Etheridge performs All The Way Home

Video posted on Youtube by Tracy Albright

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ET: Melissa Etheridge on Karaoke, Her First Concert and Hitting the Road: 'It's Going to Be Me Like You've Never Heard'

Source: ET Online

by Sophie Schillaci

It's a new day for Melissa Etheridge, with her first independently-released album out now and a brand new band backing her on tour.

"It's going to be me like you've never heard and I'm very excited about it," the legendary singer-songwriter told ETonline's Sophie Schillaci.

Melissa unveiled her latest full-length, This Is M.E., earlier this month, celebrating with a stop by the Entertainment Tonight studio for a live performance of her new song "A Little Bit of Me." Now Melissa is hitting the road to support the album with a nationwide tour, kicking off on Sunday, Nov. 2, in Connecticut.

She told ETonline that wife Linda Wallem will likely join her on tour for a few stops, when they can make it work, but that she hopes to meet up with some of her musician pals onstage.

"Those things happen organically with me," she said. "We usually let each other know where we're gonna be and we look at each other's schedules to see if they overlap, but sometimes it's just, 'Hey! I'm in town, heard you were in town' and we get together and have fun."

While Melissa has been rocking since the '80s, some fans might not know that Melissa actually got her start playing country music. Among her earliest inspirations was Buck Owens, who performed at the first concert she ever attended.

"He was an excellent performer, actually," she recalled. "He's quite a musician. I started out in country musically when I was in Kansas. Once I graduated high school, I got to playing rock n roll."

That was just one of the revelations from a rapid-fire round of questioning. Among the other topics: karaoke.

"I did karaoke once for about 15 minutes, and then I had to leave 'cause it got crazy," she said. "I sang 'Sweet Home Alabama,' which, I'll never do that again. It's kind of a boring song."

Then there was the time, Melissa confessed, that she almost stole the show at a karaoke spot in New Orleans. The song: her own.

"There was a bar and I could hear [karaoke] coming through the doors -- a woman singing 'I'm the Only One.' I came this close to running in and jumping up on stage and singing with her."

Unfortunately for that fan, Melissa said she just "wasn’t feeling it that day."

Ah, the viral video that could have been…

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

Source: Windy City Times

Melissa Etheridge: On marriage, performing
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

Everything is coming up roses for Melissa Etheridge these days. She wed Linda Wallem in May, just two days after they both turned 53, where she sang a song written especially for her with wedding attendees including Jane Lynch, Rosie O'Donnell and Sia. She also recently was one of the performers for WorldPride's opening ceremonies, alongside singers Deborah Cox and Steve Grand.

In July of this year, Etheridge released "Take My Number" as the first single off her 13th studio album, This is M.E. It was released on her own label ME Records, which is distributed by Primary Wave Records. Interestingly, the cover is a mosaic of photos submitted by her fans.

Windy called the talented activist right before an upcoming stop in Chicago on her new tour.

Windy City Times: I just interviewed Stephen Wallem, your new brother-in-law.

Melissa Etheridge: How about that?

WCT: It was for a cabaret show in Chicago.

ME: I am so happy for him.

WCT: You are coming back again to Chicago now.

ME: Oh, come on—Chicago is my favorite.

WCT: You are here all the time.

ME: I love Chicago because [the fans] keep seeing me! Usually when I come around I have to wait a couple of years to get back into a city because there is a "I just saw her last year" sort of thing, but Chicago always turns up so thank you, Chicago.

WCT: You have been in almost every venue. You were at the Chicago Symphony last time.

ME: Yeah, but this show is completely different than the symphony show. This show is the new songs—almost all of the new songs from the album, I think about nine new songs—then the hits. I am playing with Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, who I worked with on this album and his band. He's from the Fugees. There will be a couple of back up singers. I am just thrilled to come to Chicago. It is going to be a blast.

WCT: Is there a lot of acoustic playing?

ME: No; that was the solo tour that I was on. This is the biggest band ever I have had out on the road.

WCT: How do you decide on a set list for this?

ME: Usually, I have had bands around for years so we know a hundred songs and I can change it up. We will play the hits but I will change up every night what I do. Because of the new record this set list will remain pretty much the same. It may vary a little so I don't crazy but it will be the new songs plus the hits.

WCT: Is there a song you are tired of playing?

ME: No; I love all of my songs especially when I have a new band. I am going to love singing "Come To My Window" again. It will be all-new.

WCT: Are you doing anything visual for the new "Monster" song?

ME: You know what? It's funny. I have never been a big visual girl but who knows? We might grow into it. I am going to play the crap out of that one. I love that song.

WCT: People have to see you play live. I have seen you roll around on the ground while performing. You don't half-ass a concert.

ME: No, it's an event and I am so grateful that people want to pay money to see me sing. For me, it is a thrill and an honor. It truly is so much fun.

WCT: You are constantly touring. When do you have a break?

ME: Well, we build them in. I am on a break right now while I am talking to you. The family understands. We all know that this is my life. When I am not there I am with my family. It's a balance.

WCT: What are the challenges of self-releasing an album for the first time?

ME: That is like jumping and believing that the net will appear. That's what that was. I went through a big change last year, personally and professionally. I really cleaned house and brought in a whole bunch of new people with new ideas and thoughts because the music business is completely different now.

They really convinced me that as an established artist it could be a smart move for me, and a lucrative move for me to get off a major label and try it myself. Because my management used to run my label, Larry Mestel knows that. Instead of running a label that sells a record, he's running a management firm that sells me as the person. Instead of it being about the one product it is about me and how to build it up. I'm just really loving it.

WCT: The new video "Take My Number" seems very personal, with all of the movie clips in it.

ME: Yes, because "Take My Number" is reminiscent and about my past. What would it be like if I went home after the divorce and that sort of thing. I was surrounded by the stuff in my office and in storage so we went through it and put it all up all over the place. It was crazy.

WCT: Is it easier to write songs when your life is rocky or when things are smooth?

ME: You know, it is easy to write heartbreak songs when your heart is broken, yes, yet I never go for the easy thing so I think writing songs that move people and hit a universal tone, whether its heartbreak or not, that is my goal. I work towards that by writing songs that resonate universally, whether it is happy or sad or whatever it is.

WCT: What is your "A Little Bit of Me" song referring to?

ME: That is the social-consciousness side of me, the social and spiritual awareness within me. It comes from yoga when at the end when you bow and say, "Namaste." "Namaste" is Sanskrit for the spirit within me recognizes the spirit that is within you. That little piece that is in each of us is namaste. It is a very Eastern philosophy about the oneness of all human beings. I thought that it would be nice to create this fun little finger snapping ditty about that philosophy so I did.

WCT: That reminded me of the yoga instructor on Orange Is the New Black. Do you watch it?

ME: No, I don't. That is so funny. The one television show that I indulge in is Game of Thrones. I can't afford the time otherwise with my family.

WCT: Do you bring your wife on the road with you?

ME: She will come out and visit me. We have teenagers, so she comes home and takes care of them because I am on the road. The whole family will come out to visit me for one week. I don't have them with me the whole time but we try.

WCT: How was WorldPride for you? You were there the same time I was.

ME: Oh, that was amazing. What I love was when you got to the airport everything was, "Hey, gays, welcome!" The city was literally opening its arms for us. I thought that was really sweet.

WCT: With gay marriage being passed all over the place, how do you feel about it politically?

ME: We have just as much right as anyone else to be miserable so come on! Naw, marriage is wonderful. I can say that because I am in a happy marriage.

I think it is just a natural progression. Now it is down to a generational change. The people that grew up with the fact that homosexuality was a mental disease, illness, and abomination during the '60s and '70s had a deeply held belief has to die out and it will. In another 20 years, when my teenagers are in their thirties and forties, they will talk about the olden days when it was like that and it will be gone.

WCT: People used to mention how things would affect the children but the kids that I know just don't care who is gay or not.

ME: Oh, my God—I told my daughter about Proposition 8 and she didn't know what it was even here in California. I told her that some people think that me raising her is bad for her. She just laughed and thought that was the funniest thing she had ever heard! She said," That is ridiculous and why would they spend their time thinking that?" Oh, it was funny...

Melissa Etheridge, Ingrid Michaelson To Perform At National Radio Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

Source: All Access Music Group

Melissa Etheridge, Ingrid Michaelson To Perform At National Radio Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

The NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME Induction Ceremony in LOS ANGELES on NOVEMBER 9th will feature live performances by MELISSA ETHERIDGE and INGRID MICHAELSON. The singers will perform as part of the black-tie optional dinner and live national broadcast at CICADA in downtown LOS ANGELES, which will also a special tribute honoring CASEY KASEM.

Class of 2014 inductees include CHARLIE & HARRIGAN, BARRY FARBER, IRA GLASS, STANLEY E. HUBBARD, JON MILLER, AGNES MOOREHEAD and DICK ORKIN. The show will air via PREMIERE NETWORKS, with PREMIERE’s DELILAH hosting and WESTWOOD ONE’s JIM BOHANNON announcing. RYAN SEACREST, LARRY KING, and other broadcasters are slated to appear at the ceremony, and “HAPPY DAYS” actress MARION ROSS is set to speak about inductee MOOREHEAD.

NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME Chairman KRAIG T. KITCHIN said, “This is an event that brings us all together to honor and celebrate the best in our business. We have an opportunity to show our support and ensure the vitality of this institution by attending. And if that’s not possible, please consider making a donation to the MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS, which provides a showcase for the NATIONAL RADIO HALL OF FAME in CHICAGO year round."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Melissa Etheridge & HyperJamz - Furman Pictures On Location

Here's a quick look behind the scenes on a project for HyperJamz, HyperPower Game Group. Furman Pictures, LLC handled production, post for promotional media and Melissa Etheridge's sound bites for her debut music video game, "Take My Number" Phone Book Challenge.

Video posted on youtube by Furman Pictures LLC

Monday, October 27, 2014

Melissa Etheridge on her Spiritual Connection to HyperJamz

See rock icon Melissa Etheridge tell CNBC's Jane Wells about the "spiritual" connection she felt with mobile game startup, HyperJamz, with which she collaborated to develop her new "Take My Number" Phonebook Challenge mobile game.

Video posted on youtube by JyperJamz

CNBC: Melissa Etheridge Goes Mobile

Click here to watch the video

Source: CNBC

Melissa Etheridge releases her new...video game

Melissa Etheridge sits inside her living room surrounded by guitars hanging on walls, a piano and a variety of percussion instruments. Instead of picking strings, however, she is pecking on a smartphone. "Oh, I got the right number!" she said, laughing with surprise.

The Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter is playing her new mobile game, "Melissa Etheridge's 'Take My Number' Phonebook Challenge."

Sure, Kim Kardashian is making a killing branding a mobile game. But Melissa Etheridge? Do her fans play games?

"Yes," she said without hesitation. "I can play a solitaire game in a minute and 20 seconds."

And thus begins a great experiment in using games to sell music.

Etheridge has teamed with mobile game start-up HyperJamz, part of HyperPower Game Group, to create a game that's not only addictive, but also streams her music. The game is based on "Take My Number," the first single of Etheridge's new album, "This is ME."

In it, players basically do two things: earn points by clicking on the right groupings of falling guitar picks, while also trying to remember the phone numbers of people in their contacts file. All the while, the song "Take My Number" streams, and players are also directed to iTunes to buy the song.

"The app is free," Etheridge said. "You just pay $2.99 if you want the ads removed."

Photo credit: Harriet Taylor CNBC

How did such an outside-the-CD-box idea happen? How did Etheridge and HyperPower Game Group come together? CEO Clark Nesselrodt said it was the result of an "aha" moment.

"Music and games live together on an ever-shortening list of things that can lift us out of the preoccupation of our own minds," he said. Nesselrodt is hoping that combining the two will create something better—and maybe more profitable—than the sum of its parts.

Once he heard Etheridge's new song, Nesselrodt said HyperJamz developed a phone book game concept in a few days that targets Etheridge's core demographic, "one of the most sought-after demographics of mobile gamers—the middle-aged female."

Think "Candy Crush." Mutual contacts put Nesselrodt in touch with Etheridge, whom he calls a "pioneer." She signed on in exchange for half of all revenue.

"I feel my career had kind of flatlined in the way that businesses can," said Etheridge. "I look at my career as a small business."

A year ago, she left Island Records and went independent, hiring new management and looking for new ways to monetize her music. "Not only have I seen the record sales plummet—I mean serious plummeting every year, like an avalanche of plummeting," she said, "And yet I can go out and I can still play and fill halls."

The singer hopes a mobile game can reach not only core fans but new listeners. "It raises my awareness to people, and it also leads to the song," she said. "Then maybe they like the song, they might buy the album, and if they like the album, then maybe they want to come see me live."

While she's excited about being independent and producing her own album, Etheridge said it's also scary, "because all the risk is on me, and everything's upfront, and the money is different."

HyperJamz hopes to find other celebrities who can lend their star power to other games. It has reached an agreement with Tapinator, which has a catalog of games, including "Balance of the Shaolin," which Nesselrodt is reimagining in a tie-in with an upcoming Nik Wallenda special for the Discovery Channel. Also, "We have a new game coming out in a few weeks with rising star Cris Cab, who is Pharrell's protege."

It's all very early stage, very early funding, with no guarantees that it will work out. Kind of sounds like Etheridge's start in the music business itself. Decades later, and after much success, she's taking risks again. Melissa Etheridge said people still want music.

"How they get it," she said, "has changed."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Backup Singer Ava Raiin Will Be Posting on her Tumblr Account

Link to Ava's Tumblr

Tweeted by Ava Raiin: you are all welcome to join me on the melissa etheridge tour. look out for my daily recap here: Ava's Website

Melissa Etheridge calls on Red Monkey for her “This Is M.E.” Tour

Source: Red Monkey

We are always very excited when we get the call to build something custom for a touring musician. Recently we were called on to build an “M E” guitar strap for Melissa Etheridge. She is touring in support of her new record “This is M.E.”. You can see this strap live when she visits a town near you. The request was for something bohemian, not too hippie, but cool and fit for a rockstar.

Photo credit: Red Monkey

Photo credit: Red Monkey

Friday, October 24, 2014

Parade Magazine: A Healthy Melissa Etheridge: Why It's Great to Be M.E.

Source: Parade Magazine

When we think about Melissa Etheridge’s music, it’s easy to remember the powerful melodies of I’m the Only One and Come to My Window. Not bad for a gal from Leavenworth, Kan. who began playing guitar at age 8—and the rest is definitely musical history. She refined her talents at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, before making the obligatory move, as so many do, to Los Angeles.

The rocker’s first self-titled album contained the hit, Bring Me Some Water. She told the world she was gay in 1993 at President Clinton’s inaugural ball, and has continued to advocate for gay rights. After a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2004, she openly talked about the disease and exactly what it felt like to face it down—she still does.

She’s been nominated for 17 Grammies, and won two, with recognition for the above-noted songs as well as for titles like Enough of Me, Breathe, and I Need to Wake Up—that tune written for the Al Gore documentary in 2007, An Inconvenient Truth. The song won an Academy Award instead.

Known for her steady touring, both solo and with her band, she’s re-invigorated with the release of her newest album—and her 12th collection of new material—This is M.E. She calls the experience of recording this one “inspiring and electrifying,” with songs straight from the heart and presented on her own new label, ME Records. She’s made some healthy changes and shares them with us here, as she encourages us all to know ourselves better.

Melissa, you faced down breast cancer and became an advocate for breast cancer awareness. You’ve adopted a healthy lifestyle, and we’d love to know more about it.
Once I got into my 40s, I realized that this body has put up with a lot of stuff, including stress, lack of sleep and certainly horrendous food. At some point we have to take responsibility—not that we have to stop having fun, not that we’ve done anything wrong, or need to feel guilty about it. I knew it was about time to step into a certain amount of maturity if I wanted to continue to create at a peak level. In my 50s I understand things more and life is richer and fuller.

I’m not so worried about the little stuff anymore, and I want my body to be able to handle and provide me the support I need to enjoy things. This comes from understanding that my health is my responsibility. It’s a change that I had in my thought process from 10 years ago when I had breast cancer. With all the research I did, I really wanted to know what is this cancer, where did it come from, and why do so many people get it? I knew it wasn’t something you catch from someone. I believed that if there was a harmful gene mutation in the family, my body was at a higher percentage of risk so that if I didn’t take care of it, the cells could break down and become cancerous.

Our bodies were made to run on whole foods—vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The more real food I put into my body, the better the machine works.

So, how do you Mind Your Body with what you eat? Did your diet change as a result of your breast cancer diagnosis?
I believe the number one thing that changed my health was removing refined sugar. I sweeten with coconut sugar and other alkaline sugars. I define foods into alkaline and acidic categories: If I keep it at 70 percent alkaline and 30 percent acid, I’m good.

(Note: The goal of this diet is to balance the body’s pH with alkaline-forming foods that include vegetables, natural fruits—especially lemon—lentils, almonds, sprouted grains, seeds, spices, soy and tofu.)

You’ve used medical marijuana. How has it helped you? Any downsides?
It will change so much of our world when the social stigma behind cannabis is lightened. Adults are allowed to choose the kind of relaxation they enjoy. Looking at it medicinally, cannabis does so much for people who are on chemo. It gave me an appetite, relieved stress and depression, and helped with pain relief—instead of taking five different drugs that have crazy side effects. And remember that nobody’s had an accidental cannabis overdose.

How about physical activity? What do you do to stay active?
First is to walk, walk, walk and just move, move and move, all the time. I have lovely trails for hiking where I live. I just try to get out for 30 minutes. And I do yoga: It will save the world because it’s so good for you on so many levels, with those long, stretching movements. When I can, I do kick-boxing and a trainer comes to me.

What’s the biggest health lesson you’ve learned?
That health is my responsibility.

What could you do better for yourself?
It’s about listening to myself, really sitting down and asking ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘What do I want?’ ‘Is there something that’s going to fill some part of me that’s not filled?’ It’s about getting to know myself and not nagging at things.

How do you maintain mental balance?
I talk and let it out—communicate. Things are so much bigger inside our minds, and not so much once you get it out.

Let’s talk about your fabulous new album, This is M.E. You said ‘song after song was a great experience.’ Why is this one different, do you think?
This is my first independent record. I took responsibility for it creatively and had to go, ‘Ok. This is something that needs to be big and important.’ I collaborated with a lot more people than usual.

You’re touring again. Touring and traveling are hard for most people, period. What do you do to take care of yourself and not get exhausted?
It’s all about regimen. I’m very strict about sleep and that’s so important. I can’t sing if I’m not rested. My voice is like a muscle for an athlete. Also, my own chef on the road cooks for all of us—very healthy, no sugar, gluten free and dairy free, with acidic things. Oh, I do stay gluten free at home, but I like aged cheeses—dairy. Moderation is always key.

What makes you happiest now? You have so much to be thankful for!
My family: I know it’s a cliché, but I enjoy them so much!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eco-Friendly Street Team Interview with Noreen Fraser from 2010

Note: This interview was originally posted on the MEIN website in 2010.

Noreen Fraser Interview, September 28, 2010
by the Eco-Friendly Street Team

Noreen Fraser is a breast cancer survivor living with Stage IV breast cancer. She co-created and co-produced the 2008 and 2010 Stand Up To Cancer television specials that have raised over $180 million dollars in donations and pledges for cancer research. Noreen created the Noreen Fraser Foundation to fund translational cancer research in the area of women’s cancers. In 2009, Melissa Etheridge became a Board Member of the Noreen Fraser Foundation. The Eco-Friendly Street Team spoke with Noreen about meeting Melissa Etheridge, the Noreen Fraser Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer, and the importance of early cancer detection.

Eco-Friendly Street Team: When did you first meet Melissa Etheridge?

Noreen: I met her in 2008 maybe two months before Stand Up To Cancer when we did a press conference where we announced that we were doing the show. We had a red carpet and we had several celebrities that came to say they were supporting our initiative to raise money for cancer. At that point she had already agreed to be on the show, so that’s how I met her.

EFST: What was your impression of her?

Noreen: I was overwhelmed, I gotta tell ya. I used to produce Entertainment Tonight so I’ve worked in my career with many, many, many celebrities and you could say I’m a little bit jaded because there aren’t very many people that really impress me. When she came up to me and talked to me, I couldn’t believe her eyes. It was like looking into Peacefulness, and Happiness, and Love. I was overwhelmed by her eyes. I introduced myself and told her that I have Stage IV cancer, and the other [Stand Up To Cancer] Producer, Laura Ziskin, also has Stage IV cancer, and I told her that’s why I had came up with this idea to do Stand Up To Cancer.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes when I talk to people and bring up that I have Stage IV cancer, depending on the day, sometimes I will cry. I get teary saying it and I don’t know why I feel like I’m going to cry. I don’t know if it’s every time I say it, like right now I feel like I’m going to cry, so when I say it, tears usually well up. When I told Melissa, she grabbed my hand, she was so beautiful, and she said, “It’s going to be OK. It’s really going to be OK.” She said, “You know what, we’ll get together and we’ll talk.”

Then all this time went by, and then the show came and of course she was performing for the show so I was in the green room talking with her, then she performed, then- I want to tell you, I had never seen her perform, and I- what year would you say she really became mainstream popular? Was that when she won her first Grammy?

EFST: I think it was Yes I Am, and that was in the 90’s when she had her huge hits like Come To My Window and others. That’s when she really hit mainstream.

Noreen: My sister who’s younger than me knows all of her music. Back then- that’s when I was immersed in babies, I was having babies and I stopped working. I wasn’t talking to anyone about what was going on in any part of the entertainment industry. So when Melissa performed at Stand Up To Cancer, I almost had a heart attack. I couldn’t believe it.

Shortly thereafter, I went to see her in concert. I’m telling you, even if somebody would have taken me there and I had nothing to do with cancer, if somebody had just told me to go to her concert, I would have fallen in love with her music there. I’ve never seen a better performer in my life. And so versatile in everything that she can do. I’m totally in awe of her writing, her voice, everything that she’s done. I mean I never thought of her as a ‘Rock Star’. She’s a Rock Star. Who knew? I really didn’t know that much about her- as I was saying I was immersed in raising my children, but after- she’s been so wonderful to me and so supportive, and so kind and caring, she’s been a real blessing in my life.

EFST: How did she come to be on the Board of Directors of the Noreen Fraser Foundation?

Noreen: I originally was going to do a television telethon that was just for breast cancer. I had been planning a fundraiser for women’s cancer and I had sold it to Lifetime and Oxygen and I had a date in March that the show was going to air, and all of my money was going to go to UCLA and my Doctors Glaspy and Slamon. Dr. Slamon is the scientist who was responsible for discovering Herceptin. These two guys are geniuses in the field of breast cancer.

I saw Laura Ziskin in treatment when I was in treatment, and I said I knew her from Entertainment Tonight. I said I needed her to help me get celebrities, and I asked John (Dr. Glaspy), “Can you call and set up a meeting?” I went to see her and she said, “Yes I’ll help you get any celebrities you want, just write them out on a piece of paper and I’ll start calling and we’ll get together in a few weeks.” Then as fate would have it she ran into Sherry Lansing and Sherry Lansing said, “You know Katie Couric and I have been talking about doing this for NBC because her husband died of colon cancer.” So she said, “Why don’t you bring Noreen and we’ll meet her.” I came in and Sherry was very convincing talking me into doing not just women’s cancer but to collaborate with them and do all cancers. And I did. We made over 100 million dollars.

One of the breast cancer projects ended up getting funded $15 million dollars, so it was a win-win. Then I decided I really want to do my own thing. I want to go back to what I was doing. Healing and humor was very important to me. I really wanted to just do women’s cancer research, so I called Melissa and I asked her if she’d have breakfast with me.

Michelle McBride, my Executive Director and I went out there and I told Melissa what my goals were and that I was starting this new foundation. We had a great breakfast and at the very end of it, I remember Michelle was looking at me . . . you know how when you’re looking at someone like ‘Go ahead, say it!’ and you’re like ‘Uhhhh . . .’ and then you go on to another topic? No one wants to get rejected. You put yourself out there, you put yourself up to chance for rejection, so I just blurted it out, “Will you join my board,” and Melissa said, “I would love to.”

I was like oh my God. I said, “Thank you Melissa, we’ll get together.” Michelle and I went back to get our car in the parking lot. We were not doing anything. We were stunned. Back in our car in the parking lot, we looked at each other, and we rolled all the windows up and we SCREAMED: “AAAAAAHHHH!!!!”

EFST: (Laughs.)


EFST: (Still laughing.) That’s awesome!

Noreen: It was the biggest thing. I mean I’ve had a lot of big Board Members but they are people that I’ve known my whole life in the entertainment industry. Getting someone who is Melissa Etheridge is like having a rock star so it’s very, very exciting.

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?

Noreen: It would be two words that really are one word. I would say Other Wordly. From another world. There is a vibe there, and an energy there, a spirituality there, that I’ve never felt in my life in meeting anyone.

EFST: Noreen, you are living with Stage IV breast cancer, and in 2003 it metastasized to the bones. How are you doing today? How are you living with that on a day to day basis?

Noreen: I guess I’m getting used to it, if you ever get used to it, actually I take that back I’m not used to it. I try to . . . it was really hard for me to start this Foundation. It took about two years. Every time I went to try to sell a show, I would cry. And I would pitch it, and it was humiliating for me. It was so unprofessional, and I would go home and go, “I am NOT doing this. I am not doing this. It’s too hard. I cannot do it. I can’t face my situation anymore.” So then I would put it away for six months. Then I’d get it out again, then I’d cry again. My biggest inspiration was my daughter who was ten when I was first diagnosed and I didn’t want her to have to live with cancer or any of her darling little girlfriends that I love so much. Every time there was a resurrection it would be because of my daughter. It took a very, very long time.

The way I react to it today- I get scans every three months for my organs and every three months for my bones. I try not to think about it until the day I go in for my scans. I’m busy, busy, busy, then I run over to UCLA and get in a room and take off my clothes and I put the gown on, that’s when I go Holy Shit. I can’t believe this. I get in the machine and I usually cry. And I’ll feel sorry for myself. And I’ll go home and ever since the kids were little, on scan days- or pizza night or something- I don’t have a car. I let myself go lie down on the couch and either take a nap or watch television or play with the kids and I try to chill out and give myself the day off to feel sorry for myself.

EFST: So many people go through these hard times and they have to find strength in different places, and they do find the strength to go on and just live day by day. You, on the other hand, went out and you created Stand Up To Cancer, you created the Noreen Fraser Foundation. The first event in 2008 raised over $100 million and the second one this year- there’s over $80 million in pledges. I can’t even tell you the tremendous strength in what you’ve done and how you’re helping the world. When you say you find your strength, I mean, Wow. You are changing the world. Being a Melissa fan, I hear her up on stage and she says, ‘I want to be with people who want to change the world.’ It’s obvious to me how the two of you have crossed paths and are now working together with the Foundation to help fund a cure for breast cancer.

Noreen: It would be interesting to ask Melissa why she was willing to be on my Board. I’ve never asked her why. It must have been- the feeling that I had when I looked into her eyes- that feeling, that brings people together, sometimes you don’t know why, you don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I felt an instant connection to her and I have to believe that she must have found that with me because I don’t know why else she would have agreed to do this.

She’s been great, and we’re really looking forward to raising money to put into environmental studies and obviously putting all our money into research. I am looking for projects right now and when I see Melissa next, we’ve been trying all summer so I’ll have to set up a time to get together with her and narrow it down. She wants to do environmental as well so we’re going to have to pick some kind of forward thinking person who’s doing cancer research regarding the environment. That’s my next phase.

EFST: What message would you convey to women facing breast cancer today, maybe somebody who’s recently diagnosed or someone who is starting to go through the treatment today?

Noreen: I think I have more of a message for people who do not have cancer and have not yet been diagnosed, but my message to people who have been diagnosed is- I have three words for them- Just do it. Just do it and get on with your life. You gotta buck up, and do it. People say ‘you’re such an inspiration’ and I look at them and I go ‘well what other choice do we have?’ I don’t see myself as anyone special. You think anyone’s going to listen to me if I’m a crybaby every day? They are going to get sick of me. You can only help your friends so much and be supportive, but you cannot live a life of complaining and feeling sorry for yourself because no one wants to be around that person. You have moments and your friends will support you in those moments, and I believe I have a great network of some fabulous women and they keep me going.

I have been in support groups and I have heard stories about women who have had a lump and have not done anything about it. It makes me crazy. Who would find a lump and not do anything about it?

EFST: I have to say I know of someone who has a lump and hasn’t gone in, and I want to go kidnap her and take her in and say, “The smartest thing you can do is early detection!”

Noreen: There really are a ton of organizations that if you don’t have the money will pay for a mammogram. Don’t tell me you don’t have any money to get your mammogram. Get real. Get on the fricken internet. Get your boss, your sister or friend to help you figure it out if you’re too overwhelmed. You can get a mammogram in this country if you want it. You can figure it out.

This is a side thing and this is something I haven’t really had the chance to talk to Melissa about yet, but the GLBT community, this group of women have a very high incident of breast cancer and ovarian cancer that’s caught in a later stage. They are usually not Stage I people because they are saying that that group of people does not want to go to the doctor. I thought that was so fascinating. I thought that might be something Melissa and I should work on. Getting the word out that you’ve got to get checked! You cannot wait! Early detection- you must find the Stage I. You must! It is the only way.

I was a Stage I the first time. My tumor was so small that there was a 96% chance that if I did radiation and took Tamoxifen and did not do chemo there was a 96% chance it would not come back. Now, sorry to say, I’m in the 4% where it came back and moved into my bones. So you know what? I got screwed. What can I say. But 96% is pretty damn good statistics. Those are good odds! So that’s the key- if I would have been in the 96% instead of in the 4%- I mean 96% of the people can be cured! It’s incredible to me.

EFST: My sister is a Radiation Therapist and in discussing things with her she said some people have Stage IV cancer and live with it for years and other people can pass away from Stage I. You never know. The odds are there but some people sometimes defy the odds.

Noreen: Right. And I guess no one will ever know why.

EFST: No. Like you say, early detection is key and nipping it in the bud before it gets a chance to grow or spread or anything else. It’s so important to have that happen.

Noreen: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me!

EFST: Thank you so much. The honor is all mine. Like I mentioned Melissa wants to be with people who want to change the world and I can see why the two of you have come together.

For more information, please visit the Noreen Fraser Foundation at www.noreenfraserfoundation.org and Stand Up To Cancer at www.standup2cancer.org

Monday, October 20, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Transcript from Tavis Smiley Interview

Source. Also click link for the video: Tavis Smiley


Tavis Smiley: Good evening from Los Angeles. I’m Tavis Smiley.

Tonight, a conversation with two-time Grammy winner, Melissa Etheridge, about her latest CD, “This is M.E.,” her 12th studio album and one that she describes her most personal and uplifting over her 25-plus year career. In addition to those wins, she’s received 15 Grammy nominations and an Oscar win for a song she wrote for the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The singer-songwriter is known, of course, for her high energy performances, that is, as well as for being an advocate for cancer research. She’ll close our show tonight with a performance of a song off the new album called “A Little Bit of Me.”

We’re glad you’ve joined us. A conversation with Melissa Etheridge coming up right now.

Tavis: Melissa Etheridge has two Grammy Awards and a slew of nominations to her credit. She also has amassed five platinum albums and two gold records over her 25-year career. Perhaps most importantly, she is thankfully a 10-year breast cancer survivor.

Her latest CD is titled “This is M.E.,” M.E., which she describes as intensely personal and uplifting. Indeed, it is. She’ll close our show tonight, we are grateful to say, with a performance of a song called “A Little Bit of Me” off the new CD. M.E., it is always good to have you come see me. How are you, darlin’?

Melissa Etheridge: I am so happy. I’m so good.

Tavis: I’m delighted to have you here. Let me go – Jonathan, put the cover of this CD up for me, if you wouldn’t mind, please? Thank you, sir. So I love this. This is like an amalgam of – what makes up this photo of you?

Etheridge: We sent out to the website. We sent out to the social media and said, “Send your pictures in. If you’re a Melissa Etheridge fan, send your pictures in” and thousands of them did. We got about 900 of them to digitally – we had an artist put them together to create that photo of me.

Tavis: Wow. So I think I get it. You wouldn’t be you without your fans.

Etheridge: Without my fans. This is me.

Tavis: I like that. I like that. That’s cool.

Etheridge: And even the website has an app that you can then go find yourself.

Tavis: You can find yourself in the photo. Oh, man.

Etheridge: Yeah, and then tag it.

Tavis: I know the fans are loving that.

Etheridge: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

Tavis: That is a very, very cool concept. Let me, before I get too far in this, say how grateful we are, fans of yours, that you’re still with us. This is October.

Etheridge: As happy as I am too [laugh]. 10…

Tavis: I figured you’re happy about that.

Etheridge: Yes, I’m very happy [laugh]. It was 10 years ago this week, so, yeah, it was 10 years ago.

Tavis: 10 years ago this week, and this happens to be that month, October, the pink ribbons and everything.

Etheridge: Everything pink comes out. It’s all breast cancer awareness. Yeah, every October, I’m reminded. I’ve very aware that it’s about health now. I concentrate mostly on the health side.

Tavis: How do you feel? You look great.

Etheridge: I feel happier and healthier than I ever have because, after I went through cancer, I understood that it is about my health and those things are priority. My nutrition, stress, you know, the happiness, the joy is very important.

Tavis: Somebody once said to me and I think they’re right that life is best – how might I put this? That life is best lived when you’ve – I’m screwing this up. But life is sort of best lived when you had a near-death experience. Does that make sense?

Etheridge: Yes, so I am grateful. I would tell other people, “Oh, I hope it doesn’t take that to get you there” because it is a choice. It’s a thought that we can have about life and about health and putting ourselves first.

Oftentimes as partners or as parents, we constantly are putting other people first, stressing ourselves and weakening our own health. When taking care of ourselves, if each of us did that and we learned how to do that, we could become very strong, very healthy.

Tavis: Before I go into this project more expressly, let me just ask a strange and maybe off-putting question, but I’ll ask anyway. After 25 years of doing this, you’re not turned off by this music business?

I ask that against the backdrop of – you know what I’m asking that for. You got your own record company now. You’re doing your own thing. You’ve left the other guys. You ain’t sick of this after 25 years, the business of it?

Etheridge: No, no. Because I feel like last year I made a choice to become a small business owner. I made a choice to jump off the corporate big boats that are sinking really fast because the model doesn’t work.

People are still listening to music. People love music. People come to see me live more than ever. What has changed is the way they’re receiving it. They don’t have to go buy that certain record, so the business of the records not so good anymore.

But what does work is the artist. This is, I think, a renaissance for the artist. You can brand yourself. You can create and be what you want and that’s what was exciting to me is that I can now take hold of this.

Tavis: So I take your point. So the beauty is that you can take hold of it and do it the way you want to do it and you got to answer only to me – you, in this case.

Etheridge: Yeah, and I can only blame me and I’m responsible, yep.

Tavis: It’s all about M.E. [laugh].

Etheridge: Yep, this is M.E.

Tavis: Anyway you want to take it, this is M.E., yeah. So I get the joy of that and having that sort of being liberated in that way and sort of being in the freedom of that. I get that. What’s the challenge, though, to being in charge of your own brand?

Etheridge: Well, the first challenge is financially. You don’t have the money up front, so I had to create the album differently. And it’s much like an independent film. You give away more of the back end. You say, okay, you can have a certain percentage of this song because you are involved in the creation of it.

So you get some people who, because of technology, they have the little studios. They can make the big huge sounds and the music is even more vibrant, I believe, because of this. But sort of financially is probably the hardest part. You know, promotionally and everything, you don’t have that money up front.

Tavis: Until you turn that corner and then it’s all yours.

Etheridge: That’s what we’re working on.

Tavis: We’re all trying to turn that corner, aren’t we? [Laugh]

Etheridge: Yes, aren’t we?

Tavis: Sounds like a great song title, “Turn the Corner.”

Etheridge: Turn the corner.

Tavis: Yeah. Speaking of song titles, tell me about this project musically. What are your fans going to hear on this one?

Etheridge: Oh, when they put it on, they’re going to hear that intensity that they love from me. The lyrics are personal and intense and rock and roll. There’s a lot of fun. It’s been called lusty. There’s a little bit of that going on in there.

Tavis: I like lusty.

Etheridge: Yes, lusty. It’s rock and roll. I even have some hip-hop. I worked with a hip-hop artist, RockStar. And there’s some R&B, there’s even a little country. It’s me at the yummy center surrounded by a whole lot of stuff [laugh].

Tavis: I like that, the yummy center. I think you’ve always been this way as long as I’ve known you and been talking to you on this program. I’ve always respected your sense of transparency, but I note on this project that you’re even ever more transparent.

Etheridge: It has always worked. In the 25 years, I have always made that choice to not do maybe the comfortable thing, but stand on my truth and be transparent, be up front about it. And it has always led me exactly where I’m supposed to go, so I have no desire to stop now. I feel that our society is just opening up to amazing things right now.

Tavis: There are some truths about your life and, for that matter, my life, all of our lives. There are some truths that are harder for some people to handle than other truths about our own existence. How have you become comfortable to the extent that you are being so transparent and being so truthful, never mind what others might think about your truth?

Etheridge: There came a point in my life where I realized that what I felt about myself, the love or frustration or whatever I was feeling about myself, was more important and did more to my life than what other people thought of me. So if I could begin to guide my life with – I call it the truth – those choices, it always never lets me down. It is always the better thing.

Maybe in the moment, it might be uncomfortable and painful, yet you have to walk through it whether it’s the good stuff or the bad stuff or the tabloid stuff or whatever it is. If you don’t speak your own truth, then you’ll be living someone else’s and that’s just strange, I think.

Tavis: How did you get to a place of not taking that stuff personally?

Etheridge: Well, I had to stop looking at it for a while. You really do. When you are a public figure, googling yourself can be really, really…

Tavis: That’s why I never do [laugh].

Etheridge: Painful.

Tavis: I don’t even want to know, yeah [laugh].

Etheridge: So I had to stop for a while. You know, you can’t do that. You have your trusted people around and you know that you can’t get everyone to understand your mind or where you come from. We’re all different just like I don’t understand theirs, they’re not understanding mine. And this is a beautiful country that can hold all of those thoughts.

Tavis: Let me go back to your sound. You kind of referenced this earlier and I think for all of us who are fans of your music and particularly and especially of your sound – this is my word, not yours. But there’s such a bigness to your approach.

I mean, the way you play, the way you move, the way you sound. Has it always been that way? Was there ever a time in your career where you were not so big, the sound? I mean, you were just a little more understated? You’ve always been this…

Etheridge: I’ve always been kind of big, yet I didn’t understand that I was for a long time.

Tavis: You didn’t get that?

Etheridge: No.

Tavis: There’s such an intensity to your stuff. I mean, I love it, but it’s really…

Etheridge: I don’t know. I know when I was like in grade school and would sign in the choirs, they’d put me in the back row ’cause [laugh] one day they said, “Your voice sounds so strange. Sit back there.”

Tavis: It’s funny you should say that. I literally just last night, for those who are fans of the Andy Griffith Show, they’ll remember this episode, the episode where Barney is in the choir [laugh]. I saw it last night. Barney cannot sing…

Etheridge: Put him in the back.

Tavis: And they’re trying to figure out how to get rid of Barney in the choir. It’s a funny episode ’cause Barney just couldn’t bring it. But in your case, you could actually sing. It’s just the sound was so…

Etheridge: Very different, yeah.

Tavis: How does that – I guess I could ask this question, I suspect, of any artist. I remember talking to Prince about this once time about how on his love songs, on his ballads, he uses his upper register on his love songs.

It just works best for him, he thinks, best for the sound when he goes to his upper register for his love songs, for his ballads. How does your sound influence the music that you write or the music that you – does that make sense?

Etheridge: Yes, totally. Oh, yes. It’s a very musical question. But I chose – when I started singing other peoples’ music, I always wanted to use just my chest voice. There’s the head voice which is the really high voice. I don’t use that except for just like at the end of a song on a show just to kind of go crazy or something.

But mostly it’s that power, that I’ll take it to that level. And I also have a very low voice, so it’s that range that I always work in when I write and perform and there’s a couple of little different – I kind of get out of my comfort zone on a couple of these songs.

Tavis: Tell me, tell me.

Etheridge: One is “Do It Again.” I wrote it with Jerry Wonda of The Fugees and Angela Hunte whose Grammy Award-winning song, “Empire State of Mind,” with Alicia. And she and I were kind of singing around and I don’t usually collaborate with someone on melody and she went up to this “Oh, baby, it hurts” and I was like, “Really? That melody? I don’t know if I can sing it.”

And she goes, “No, try” and I hit it and it’s a part of my singing that I don’t use very often. But because it was someone else sort of guiding me like go ahead and do it, I did it. So I’m a little out of my zone in a couple of these, yet it makes for really good music, I think.

Tavis: It works. That’s a good thing, it’s a good thing. Have you noticed – you were describing your voice a moment ago. Can you tell, can you hear, has your voice changed at all over these 25 years?

Etheridge: My voice has gotten healthier. I’ve noticed the change. If I listen to my older records, actually there’s different times in my life, different albums, where I can hear the different health that I had when I was still eating sugar and how that would make – ’cause the healthier my body is, the healthier my voice is. It’s like a muscle. It’s like an athlete.

Tavis: That makes sense.

Etheridge: Yeah, it absolutely does. So when my nutrition and general state of health and sleep, things like that – my voice is stronger. So I think this is the strongest that my voice has ever been is right here.

Tavis: What do you still get out of – I want to go back to where we began this conversation with all these fans on the cover of this project. What do you get – I mean, I know it’s a pain to go through all the process of being on the road. When you’re actually up on stage, what do you get out of that?

Etheridge: That is what it’s all about. That is it. That’s the dream that I had when I was a child, the first time I stood in front of somebody and sang and got that energetic response from 10 people, to being able to play for thousands now.

To be able to walk on stage and already the audience is going crazy, I haven’t even done anything, you know, that’s an enormous welcome. That’s an enormous anticipation of we are going to have such a great time.

And then presenting my songs and looking out in the audience and seeing people relating to it, that moment where I felt so alone and I’m writing ’cause I was in pain or hoping or dreaming or whatever the song came from, to know that that personal moment transforms, that it translates to another human being, that it’s universal. I love that. I love that.

Tavis: You have a – how might I put this – a beautifully, rabid, hardcore fan base [laugh].

Etheridge: Do not spell my name wrong. They will come get you. Yes, they will.

Tavis: Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah, I know that, yeah, I know that [laugh]. That’s why I just stay with the M and the E. I can handle that part. But a rabid and very dedicated fan base. To what do you attribute that after all these years?

Etheridge: Because I think I have been dedicated to my music in such a way that they kind of get that, that they have related to the personalness. They have that song that means so much to them, that song that means about that relationship or that’s their song or this was the song that people come up to me for all different reasons.

Now it’s cancer, it’s LGBT, it’s anyone who’s questioning about life. If the music can move them, they jump right in and I’m available to my fans. I’m on the social media. I like knowing exactly what they feel about the music.

Tavis: Since you mentioned social media, Melissa, how important is that in advancing this phase of your life where you’re producing, managing your record label, all of that?

Etheridge: It’s everything. It’s what I’m relying on because it’s that instant connection to my fans to tell them this is what I’m doing. I’m on your show this time. You can buy this. I’m going to be in your town. I can go straight to them. It’s the reason that I don’t need the middleman in anymore, that middle entity, that I can do it myself. Social media has really changed that.

Tavis: Do you – I mean, you’re 25 years in, so you got a lot of time left in front of you. But do you imagine that you’re going to be doing this until they throw dirt on you?

Etheridge: Oh, heck, yeah. There’s no such thing as retiring from this. This is a part of who I am. I love creating and I think we are beings that were put here to create, to learn and create. And I’m going to do it until they put dirt on me, like you said.

Tavis: How much will you be touring for this one?

Etheridge: Well, I start in November and we’ll see. I’ll go until they tell me it’s time to come back.

Tavis: Yeah. When you put a new project out – I’m always fascinated by these kinds of questions, for me at least. I’m such a music lover. So when you have a new project out, how do you balance or weave – you tell me – this new stuff in with the stuff that you know they want to hear? I mean, if you ever do a concert and you don’t sing, as I like to say it jokingly, the window song…

Etheridge: The window song. People would be wading back. They would say, “Wait a minute. Where’s the window song?”

Tavis: Exactly. If you don’t sing the window song, you’re in trouble, yeah.

Etheridge: I love singing my hits, I do. And every show, you’re going to hear at least – and fortunately I have a good handful of hits, you know.

Tavis: Yeah, you got a few of them [laugh].

Etheridge: So this tour, this album, is so strong and my fans have been reacting so strongly about it that this tour will be a good amount of the new ones and the hits. That’s pretty much what this show is going to be ’cause I’ve got a new band, the band that…

Tavis: I was just about to ask you about that. You changed bands.

Etheridge: Yeah. I love to do that. It always challenges me to work with new musicians, new feel. I’m actually going to work with Jerry Wonda and the Platinum Sound, so it’s a little bit more of an R&B sound. I’m going to move a little bit more in that direction ’cause it’s always been there. But, definitely, you will hear the hits and you will hear the rocking songs on this.

Tavis: Two things you just said I want to go back and get right quick.

Etheridge: Sure.

Tavis: One – and there are any number of artists who do this – when an artist – Melissa Etheridge or whomever – changes a band, changes bands at a certain point in their career, whenever it might be and for whatever reason, why do that? Why a change in band at a certain point in your career?

Etheridge: Well, because I change it up on the record because I don’t want to stay in one place. And I’ll tour with these guys. I still have the same drummer that I’ve had for four years because he and I definitely are connected. To branch out where I want to go, I felt like I needed just different musicians, different…

Tavis: So a different band helps you get a different sound? Is that what you’re after? A different sound?

Etheridge: Not so much a sound, but a feel.

Tavis: Feel. Okay, I got it.

Etheridge: Different feel, very much so. It’s a collaborative effort up there and personalities and the way someone plays a song, you know, whether they’re on top of the beat or whether they hang back, makes a big difference. So that’s going to bring that out in me and I’m really looking forward to playing with these guys.

Tavis: The thing about R&B, as you said, it’s always sort of been there. And for those of us who listen to your stuff, we can hear it and feel it and you always make us rock and move and all that. What has been your love affair with R&B all these years? How’d that start? As a kid?

Etheridge: I grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas and we had one radio station. It was WHB, that AM station. It played Tammy Wynette, it played Led Zeppelin, but then it would play Marvin Gaye and it would play The Supremes. Motown was coming through big time and I didn’t have the different boxes that they put everything in.

Everything was right there. I had a huge Jackson 5 – I was nuts about Michael Jackson. All of that music, the Temptations, everything right there. Then when the 70s came, then we did have a rock and roll station. We also had a crazy soul station that I would listen to the original Commodores, Ohio Players, Parliament Funkadelic.

All of that felt perfect to me and then, as life goes on, they want to put me into a box and I’m like, okay, I’ll go over here, but someday I’m going to get out. Someday I’m going to move a little bit more.

Tavis: Free at last [laugh].

Etheridge: Yes, yes, yes.

Tavis: I just love hearing the term Parliament Funkadelic come out of Melissa’s mouth [laugh].

Etheridge: Bootsy [laugh].

Tavis: Bootsy, yeah. I love it. That was priceless right there. The M to the E is back. The new project, “This is M.E.,” it’s got some good stuff on it and I think you will love it. Melissa, good to have you on the program again.

Etheridge: Oh, it’s always a pleasure, Tavis.

Tavis: I’m always honored to have you come see us. And we are delighted tonight that Melissa is going to close the show with a performance, a song called “A Little Bit of Me,” off the new CD, “This is M.E.” So I’m going to say goodbye right now, get out of the way, let Melissa do her thing. I love you. Good to have you back on again.

Etheridge: Thank you.

Tavis: Love you too. Thanks for watching. Enjoy the performance and, as always, keep the faith.