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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This Is M.E. Tour Special Guest Alexander Cardinale


Picture from Artist Arena website

You may have noticed on the AA a page a new banner listing Alexander Cardinale as the special guest for the This Is M.E. Tour. Click here for Alex's website.

Alexander Cardinale (aka Xander) was born in Monterey, California. He was raised in a musically diverse home. His mother Laura was a disc jockey and manager of the local classical station, 92.7 KBOQ. As a young boy, Alexander was always encouraged to study the classics. His father Vince played the guitar and introduced Alexander to the iconic singer/songwriters of the 60s, 70s & 80s. When Alexander was 3 years old, he told his mom he wanted to play the violin. He began studying the Suzuki method with local teachers, and went on to be 1st chair violin at the local youth chamber orchestra.

Alexander now lives in Los Angeles where he works as a professional singer, songwriter, producer & actor. He has worked as an actor in Film, TV and Web Shows. He can be seen in his first starring role in Chad Peter's dark comedy "Apocalypse, CA" now available on DVD, Netflix & iTunes. He had a combined role (both on and off screen) when David Fincher cast him to play the jewish steel drummer in the film "The Social Network." Alexander was seen on screen as the steel drummer, but also wrote and recorded the steel drum part for the soundtrack of the scene as well.

Alexander works with his producer, Morgan Taylor Reid. Morgan also produces/co-writes for other bands, including: Plug-In Stereo, The Ready Set, Bridgette Mendler, and the new Backstreet Boys album, among others. Morgan's been producing Xander since they met at college in 2005.

Recently, Alexander's song "Sick Of Dreaming," was the featured music montage in episodes of One Tree Hill (CW) and Rookie Blue (ABC). Other songs Alexander has written have been in episodes of Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Castle (ABC), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Friends With Benefits (NBC), 90210 (CW) & more. Alexander has also co-written (top-line) songs for other artists.

A few years ago Alexander launched his fan pages online. He now has a dedicated following of over 500,000 fans on his Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages. The word seems to be spreading via electronic grass roots about his music.

Today he continues to perform live, establishing his position as an emotionally revealing and talented new artist. He been seen on tour with pop star Aaron Carter on his #AfterPartyTour, after finishing another sold out national tour opening for YouTube darlings: Pentatonix.

In the current renaissance of pop singer/songwriters, Alexander Cardinale stands out with dense, contagious melodies and honest, poetic lyricism.

AWARDS:

This year, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards honored Alexander with the HMMA for 'Best Song in a TV Series' for his song "Traffic Lights" featured in the show "90210" on the CW network. He was the first place winner on the "USA Songwriting Competition", the "Show Me The Music" contest, and the "Seagate Music Competition" among others. He was invited to play five showcases at SXSW in 2012 and 2013, including Quantum Collective AmazonMP3, AudioWall, Red Gorilla & more. He's also showcased at: The Indie Music Fest, NAMM, and the DRIVEN Music & Art Conference. He's been a finalist in the international competitions: The UK Songwriting Contest, and the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC).

Music Connection Magazine named Alexander Cardinale #2 of their "HOT 100 UNSIGNED ARTISTS" of the year, for the 2nd consecutive year!

Melissa Etheridge Interview With The Union of Grass Valley

Source: The Union of Grass Valley

Melissa Etheridge: not in Kansas anymore

“It’s a great place to be from,” Melissa Etheridge laughed when asked about growing up in Kansas. She spoke with The Union in a telephone interview Aug. 29.

She was quick to add, “I have beautiful memories of my hometown. I think it’s a wonderful place. They even gave me a day.”

As depicted in “Behind the Music,” a VH-1 documentary, the town of Leavenworth honored the Grammy-winning rock star with a parade in 1994 for her generous donations to her high school and community.

Nevertheless, when she graduated from high school, she – as they say in Kansas – got the hell out of Dodge. She went to the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston but she dropped out after three semesters. She returned to Kansas long enough to earn money to buy a car, and moved to LA.

It took some hard years to get “discovered,” but when she was, the rest is rock’n’roll history: two Grammys, 15 nominations, an Oscar, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 13 original albums – and now, in concert at the Grass Valley Veterans Building Friday night.


“I’m so excited to show off my guitar playing,” Etheridge revealed. “I have learned so much in the last 10 years musically.”

She added, “I’ve really taken over the guitar. I want to be the lead guitar player – and now I am!”

Etheridge is bringing “about 10” of her “40 or 50 guitars” for this show, but her signature guitar has always been a beautiful 12-string instrument.

Actually, “I’ve had the same model forever, but I go through them every couple of years, because I beat them up so bad,” she admitted. “I just wear them out.”

Regardless of how many she’s beat up over the years, that guitar, literally, is her signature guitar: the Melissa Etheridge Signature 1598-MEII 12-String by Ovation.

“They (Ovation) made one with my specifications, and I’m just very grateful for it.”

Friday’s concert “is a huge show for being a solo artist,” Etheridge noted. Aside from all the “guitars she’ll have on stage, she’s also bringing a sophisticated “looper.”

A looper is a device that allows Etheridge to create her own rhythm section in front of the audience. “It’s all created on stage, so I can have some layers [of backup music] to play to,” she explained.

Nevertheless, she called the show “intimate,” because it’s just her and her audience.

Although the tour is named after her 13th original album, “This is M.E.,” which is due out later this month, her fans won’t miss out on her classics. “I’ve been doing a new song a night … and stuff from the other 12 albums I’ve made.”

Opening for Etheridge will be self-taught guitarist/singer/songwriter Ed Masuga, who was suggested by Sara Zahn, a program associate at the Center for the Arts.

Opening for Etheridge is a one-off opportunity for Masuga.

“I okayed him for the opening act, but I’ve never met him,” Etheridge said. “I’m looking forward to meeting him.”

This will be the first time Melissa Etheridge has performed in Grass Valley – and this is the first time concertgoers at the Vets Hall will have individual backrests and cushioned seats in the bleachers, said Julie Baker, executive director for the Center for the Arts.

“The plaques aren’t on yet, but the seatbacks are being installed right now,” she said last week. Each seatback was sponsored by a donor and will bear the name of a past or current veteran of the donor’s choice.

The Center may have your back, but they’re running out of seats in general admission. Premium tickets sold out a long time ago, Baker said.

The show was close to selling out, Baker said last week, but she urged last-minute concertgoers to give it a shot and show up at the door. Early.

In a recent interview in The Salt Lake Tribune, Etheridge said, “I am old enough to be wise and young enough to be dangerous.”

Asked what that meant, she laughed again, and then got serious, giving just a hint of her social and political activism: “You know, I’m 53, and I have endured cancer, I’ve been through presidents, Republicans and Democrats. I’ve been through recessions. I’ve been through the crazy good times.”

Then she answered question: “I’m young enough still where I’m in prime health. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been – and I’m not afraid. There’re a whole lot of things I’m not afraid of, and I think that makes me dangerous.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Concert Review by A News Cafe

Source: A News Cafe

Melissa Etheridge Rocks the Night Away at the Cascade Theatre
By Jon Lewis

Melissa Etheridge went straight to the vault to kick off her solo show at the Cascade Theatre Tuesday night, emerging on stage without an introduction and grinding out the chords to “Bring Me Some Water” on a 12-string acoustic guitar.

The hit from her 1988 debut album sounded as fresh as ever and so did the 53-year-old rocker’s voice, which filled the Art Deco theater to the brim and induced the first of many whistles and shouts of encouragement from the predominantly female audience.

One look at the stage, with its array of 10 guitars, a 12-string electric mandolin and a grand piano, and it was clear Etheridge meant business. She relied on some technology to create an even bigger sound, using a computerized looping system to add a percussion backdrop to several of her songs.

She picked out a 12-string electric Fender for “Chrome Plated Heart,” also from her self-titled debut, and then offered up “California” in honor of her “This is M.E.” tour being on a swing through the Golden State.

Reports of the devastating Boles fire in Weed on Monday “was the saddest news I heard all day,” Etheridge said, before cracking a smile at the mention of Weed burning. “Couldn’t I at least watch?” she said with a laugh. “Sorry. I’m making Northern California jokes.”

An activist who credits marijuana use with helping her overcome breast cancer, Etheridge has long advocated for legal pot in addition to marriage equality, environmental causes and human rights issues.

Tuesday night belonged to music more than politics, and Etheridge emphasized that by strapping on a double-neck guitar and clicking a harmonica into a brace for the bluesy “Don’t You Need.” Technology, which she acknowledged “isn’t going away,” came into play again as she committed a section of rhythm guitar on the 12-string to a loop and switched to the lower six-string guitar to play a lead.

She retreated to the decidedly low-tech piano for “The Letting Go” before returning to the guitar for the rockin’ “Must Be Crazy For Me.” She followed that up with “A Little Bit of Me” from her latest recording, “This is M.E.” that will be available Saturday on Etheridge’s own label.

More cheers were elicited with a thunderous version of “Come to My Window” before she took the intensity down a notch with “Shadow of a Black Crow.” The song, from 2012’s “4th Street Feeling,” featured some nice work on an electric resonator guitar.

A gregarious sort who smiled and interacted with the audience throughout her show, Etheridge returned to the piano to cover Joan Armatrading’s “The Weakness in Me,” explaining that she used to sing the song in bars when its tale of tormented love struck a personal chord. She added that was also the period when you could catch one of her shows for $10.

Today, she said, her life is full of joy. (Etheridge recently married the actress and screenwriter Linda Wallem.) She paused and looked out at the three-quarters full theater and the people who paid between $60 and $80 for their seats, thanked them, and said they were helping the oldest of her four children pay for college.

Etheridge said her children were finally OK with her rock star status, but chide her for being a “stalker.” That served as an introduction to “I Want to Come Over,” which featured a snippet of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire.”

The rollicking “Monster” from her brand new album and her hit, “I’m the Only One,” closed out the show and led to a jaw-dropping rendition of “Like the Way I Do” for an encore.

Redding resident and musician Barbara Ward, who had second-row seats, said she was in heaven throughout the show. “It was a pure pleasure from start to finish. From the first growly note to the 15-minute encore, she owned the stage!”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Performs At Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem

Click to watch the full episode on the PBS site

Premiere date: September 13, 2014 | 1:56:46
Acclaimed actor, musician and author John Lithgow will host Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem live from Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances on Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. (Check local listings.)

The television event, to be co-hosted by multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks, is a highlight of Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

Also featured are performances by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and accomplished singer Kristin Chenoweth; Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge; celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves-Montgomery; Grammy Award-winning country group Little Big Town; vocal sensations Pentatonix; legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; Grammy Award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers; Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot; multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning band Train; the U.S. Navy’s official chorus The Navy Band Sea Chanters; the Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop; and more to be announced soon. The patriotic special will feature a diverse star-studded line up of entertainers paying tribute to our nation’s ideals in a thrilling and inspiring concert at the Pier Six Pavilion. The Baltimore harbor, replete with tall ships and naval vessels will serve as a stunning backdrop. The program will also include ceremonial activities at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, historical highlights and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo.

Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was inspired to write the words to what would become the United States’ national anthem. In 2012, Star-Spangled 200 and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission began a multi-year commemoration of this legacy which will culminate with Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong festival taking place on September 10–16, 2014. Within this festival, Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem will take place. The festival will include tall ships, Navy gray hulls, a performance by the Blue Angels, landside festivities, and this special television program to honor the national anthem.

Musical Program
(Program of live broadcast subject to change)

“This Land is Your Land” (Train & Melissa Etheridge)
“Till There Was You” (Kristin Chenoweth)
“Make Our Garden Grow” (Kristin Chenoweth & Paulo Szot)
“Boondocks” (Little Big Town)
“Stay All Night” (Little Big Town)
“Summertime” (Denyce Graves-Montgomery)
“Come to My Window” (Melissa Etheridge)
“Take My Number” (Melissa Etheridge)
“‘Merica” (Kenny Rogers)
“Drive By” (Train)
“Angel in Blue Jeans” (Train)
“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (A Cappella) (Pentatonix)
“La La Latch” (Pentatonix)
“The Tracks of My Tears” (Smokey Robinson)
“Being with You” (Smokey Robinson)
“Overture to ‘Candide’” (Marin Alsop/BSO)
“The Star-Spangled Banner” (Jordin Sparks/US Marine Band/Morgan State Choir)
“Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture” (Marin Alsop/BSO)
“God Bless America” (Little Big Town/Kenny Rogers)
“America the Beautiful” (Denyce Graves-Montgomery)
“Patriotic Medley” (Marin Alsop/BSO/Navy Sea Chanters)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Baltimore Gay Life

Source: Baltimore Gay Life

Melissa Etheridge To Perform at Star Spangled Spectacular Sept. 13
BY DANIELLE ARIANO

Melissa Etheridge has been busy. Since May, the singer has gotten married to writer and producer, Linda Wallem, gone on a honeymoon to St. Bart’s, and put the final touches on her forthcoming twelfth album, This Is ME, set to release at the end of September.

Despite the whirlwind of major life events, Etheridge is not too busy to take part in Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Spectacular Concert, along with many other talented artists including Smokey Robinson,Kristin Chenoweth, and the Grammy Award-winning band Train.

The concert will be hosted by John Lithgow and Jordin Sparks, and is the marquee event in a week long celebration (September 6th-16th) that will also feature an air show by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels, a convergence of naval ships on the Harbor, and a stellar fireworks display. The week commemorates the bicentennial of the penning of the National Anthem, or as Etheridge laughingly puts it, “200 years of the most difficult song in the world to sing.”

Etheridge will perform a couple of solo songs at the concert, as well as a not to be missed duo with Train to “This Land is Your Land.”

As for the new album, she hopes to visit Baltimore during her upcoming tour, but dates haven’t been finalized. This Is ME marks Etheridge’s first independent release since her debut in 1988. “The record industry is really hurting right now, they are in emergency mode,” she said of the reason for branching out on her own. “I don’t think that’s a good place to create art.”

Judging from her tone when she talks about the new album, the independence has been invigorating. “From the beginning to the end I was responsible,” she said, sounding almost giddy. “I made all the choices.”

Among her choices was the final song on the album, “Who Are You Waiting For,” which she wrote for her wife and debuted at their wedding. When asked to rate her nervousness surrounding that moment on a scale from 1 to 100, Etheridge belted out a deep laugh.

“Ninety-eight!” she exclaimed. “I can play for 100,000 people, but to stand up in front of someone that means so much to me and look right in her eyes and just sing to them, I have never done that before, and it was so intense.”

Etheridge, who has been something of a trailblazer in the gay rights movement, came out in 1993 at an event celebrating the inauguration of then President Bill Clinton who later instituted the infamous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, something that Etheridge was all too familiar with in her own life.

Having been signed in a lesbian bar the singer came to the music scene as an out artist, but was encouraged not to “flag wave.” She abided by this request for several years, neither denying nor advertising her sexuality, but found that this left her in a strange state of limbo. “People were assuming things and it looked like I was lying,” Etheridge said of that time. Thus, on a spur of the moment decision she found herself exclaiming to a room full of people that she’d been a proud lesbian for her entire life. “Sometimes your personal health is worth more than what you might lose publicly or professionally,” she said. But Etheridge’s career never faced any major setbacks attributable to her sexuality. If anything, fans rallied around her.

Over twenty years later, Etheridge feels good about the progress of the LGBT movement. “There’s no turning back. Hundreds of years of old things are falling away and that’s going to continue to happen and change our society.”

She is also thrilled to finally be legally married. “I’ve had a wedding before but it was not a legally recognized marriage and it makes a difference. Not only legally and financially. It makes a difference to my children and to me.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Performs At Cities97 Studio C

Melissa Etheridge - August 8, 2014 at Cities97 Studio C Performance


Video posted on YouTube by Charlie Kehl

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Smashing Interviews

Source: Smashing Interviews

Melissa Etheridge Interview: "It Is an Absolute New Day," Rocker Declares with Her Latest, "This Is M.E."
Written by Melissa Parker

Rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and activist Melissa Etheridge has been in the music business over twenty-five years. She has received fifteen Grammy Award nominations, winning two and an Academy Award. Her breakthrough album, Yes I Am, released in 1993, peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200 and spent 138 weeks on the chart, earning a certification of 6x platinum, her largest to date.

Etheridge’s latest studio album and 12th collection of new material, This Is M.E., is set for release on September 30, 2014. Recorded in New York and Los Angeles, the record features eleven new songs all written or co-written by her along with writers such as Jon Levine (Andy Grammer), Jerrod Bettis (Birdy, Adele), Jerry Wonda and Roccstar and includes tracks produced by Levine, Bettis and Mark Batson (Grace Potter and The Nocturnals). This Is M.E. album cover features a mosaic of photos submitted by fans.

The music superstar married Nurse Jackie creator Linda Wallem on May 31, 2014.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Melissa, I just can’t stop listening to this album!

Melissa Etheridge: That’s what I want to hear!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Several articles on the Internet have the title as This Is ME rather than This Is M.E.

Melissa Etheridge: It’s This Is M.E. It’s a play on words. This is ME, this is M.E. Isn’t that clever? (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) Very clever, and it’s the first record on your label. After being on Island Records for so long, why did you decide to change?

Melissa Etheridge: Well, it’s a new day. It is an absolute new day in the music business. We hear more and more that the record industry is just in a free fall. Every time I’d go back to my record label, there’d be less and less people there (laughs). It all conglomerates together, and it’s in a free fall decline. They were no longer able to guarantee me the kind of promotion that I needed and the kind of attention that I needed and the biggest factor is I can now own my record where they owed the masters before.

If you want to use “Come to My Window,” the record company gets paid, not me, because of the master, but now with this album, I own it. Of course it’s much more responsibility on my part, and I have no one to blame but myself, yet with social media, it’s a new day. I can absolutely reach my fans and do all the work and reap much greater benefits.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That’s an interesting idea about the fan photos covering the album cover. Do you know how many you have?

Melissa Etheridge: Oh, you know what? I should find out exactly how many we ended up with. We got over 2,000 entries. It would only take so many, but it was just really amazing and lots of fun.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did This Is M.E. come about?

Melissa Etheridge: Last year when I went through this big change, I got new management, new lawyers, new everything, the whole setup. Then leaving my record label, I thought, “Okay. What do I need to kick start my career to just really come out of the box? I need a new album.” I had such a freedom writing new music, writing the songs. I had such a freedom making any type of new music I wanted, and that’s why you get this rich sort of … you know it’s me, yet there are many different styles on the album. I just had a blast doing it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The sound is more raw and definitely more rocking than 4th Street Feeling.

Melissa Etheridge: Yeah. 4th Street Feeling was more introspective. It was more like, “Okay. I’m going in with my band, and we’re just going to make the music that’s there, and these are the songs, and they’re about the past.” That’s what that was all about. This album is much more “outroverted.” It’s like, “Yeah! Let me work with the hip-hop producer. What does that sound like? Let’s just make it richer! Turn it up!”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): My favorite is “A Little Bit of Me.” You said that your daughter turned you on to the Lumineers?

Melissa Etheridge: Yeah, a few years ago. My daughter … both of my kids are great at bringing the new music to me. She’s seventeen now and such a music lover. She went to Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. She just loves that sort of community feel that music has nowadays.

They love to sing along. They love to clap their hands and say, “Hey, ho,” and do that sort of thing (laughs). You can see a little bit of that in “A Little Bit of Me.” Everybody can sing along. That’s where that comes from. Everyone likes to participate and playing live is my favorite thing to do, so having people sing and clap along is awesome.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I understand that “Who Are You Waiting For” was your wedding song?

Melissa Etheridge: Yes. I am so corny.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I thought it was very sweet (laughs). Congratulations on the marriage!

Melissa Etheridge: Thank you so much. It was really lovely and an amazing experience. I’m so grateful I was able to get married and have my state recognize it and really go through all of the … to have a real honest to goodness marriage license, a marriage that’s sanctioned by my state and federal government.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you think in the next twenty years same sex marriage will be legal in all fifty states?

Melissa Etheridge: Oh yeah. I definitely think in the next twenty years, we’ll be there.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was it a surprise to fall in love again?

Melissa Etheridge: (laughs) I was like, “I’m done. That’s it. It’s over. I don’t ever need to ever go through anything like that again. I’m obviously not very good at this and really think I’m just going to take care of my needs as they come along, but no relationships.” The only reason that I did fall in love was that Linda was my best friend, and I was seeing her every day. She was helping me out, and then I fell in love and went, “Oh, that was not what I was planning!” But I was waiting for her. It was perfect.

It was the opposite way of what I had before. You meet someone you think is attractive, you are sexually attracted, you have sex. That all works out, and you try to be friends with them. Sometimes that doesn’t work out (laughs). This was done completely the opposite. I was friends with her. My children knew and loved her. All of that worked out, and then I was also attracted to her. That was perfect.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You recently performed with the San Francisco Symphony. Is this the beginning of performing with symphonies around the country?

Melissa Etheridge: I hope so. This summer I did Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, and it was one of just my all time favorite things that I’ve done. It’s really exciting, very musical. There’s just nothing like hearing all the parts. I loved it, and the audience seemed to love it too, so I do hope in the next few years that I put together a whole symphony tour.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is the preparation for performing with a symphony different than singing solo with your band?

Melissa Etheridge: The biggest difference is that it is set music. With my band there’s a lot of open-endedness in the songs. My band knows they’ve got to be on their toes and watch whatever I do because I can go anywhere. If the crowd’s right, if something feels right, I’ll go over here, and it will be eight bars instead of four, so it’s very improvisational in nature. Well, with an orchestra, you can’t do that (laughs). If you make a mistake, if you miss a measure or two, all seventy-five of you are going down (laughs). You have to study the arrangement and exactly what the form is and stick to it. It’s very disciplining for me.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): When we last spoke, you said that you’d love to do a musical on Broadway. Are there plans for that?

Melissa Etheridge: There are still plans. My wife and I are writing it, and she’s only got three television shows she’s working on now. It’s this constant “it’s there in the wings.” We’ll go on vacation, and say, “Yeah. Okay,” and we do a little work on it. It’s going to come up in the Rolodex soon. I would give it another couple or three years though, and when it does, its just going to be perfect.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You are celebrating ten years cancer free! That is so great. What words describe that journey?

Melissa Etheridge: Triumphant, thriving. I’ve gone from surviving to thriving that knowing beyond any doubt that my health is everything. If I don’t have my health, I don’t have anything. The way to take care of myself is to take care of me, to watch my stress levels, to understand that every food that goes into my body effects my body and to know what I’m putting in my body, keeping myself physically fit and yoga. Nothing crazy, just a dedication every day to make sure.

I call it 70-30. The 70% of what I’m doing every day is a positive health for my body whether it’s stress or food or activity. Then the 30%, yeah, I can have a little bit here and there, you know, because I’m also that, too. I need that also. 70-30 is now I got here.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you currently actively working to get medical marijuana legalized?

Melissa Etheridge: Yes I am. Ten years ago when I went through chemotherapy and used it, I thought, “I don’t know why anyone should have to go through chemo and not use this as an option.” Sticking with it and having cannabis a part of my life, I realized this is so good on so many different levels.

I think definitely in the near future, the legalization of cannabis is going to be just on the forefront because it’s an alternative medicine, plant medicine. Just seeing where the pharmaceutical thing has led us is just … I don’t think there’s a lot of future in that. I think plant medicines are where we’re going.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s next for you, Melissa?

Melissa Etheridge: I’m doing this solo tour, and the new album comes out September 30. I’ll do promotion for that in September and October, and then come November, you’ll see me back on tour with a full band and just loving that. I’m just loving being in the moment and the process and doing what I love to do.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with The Press Democrat

Source: Press Democrat

Melissa Etheridge headlines B.R. Cohn Music Festival
BY JOHN BECK

When Melissa Etheridge said things were “going to be a little different” on her new album, it still didn’t quite account for the day she spent “building beats” with a guy named RoccStar.

Picture this: The lesbian rocker chick, who is performing at this year’s B.R. Cohn Fall Music Festival in Glen Ellen and who is known for sing-along anthems like “Come to My Window,” and the rapper known for producing Chris Brown singles like “Fine China,” together in a studio with no Auto-Tune.

“He kinda looked at me, and I looked at him. He didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t know what to expect. He said, ‘Well, I just put a beat up.’ And it was this humongous-sounding march of a cool thing. And I said, alright, and I threw on my Les Paul (guitar) and — he doesn’t work with real instruments, you know — he was like, ‘What, you just plug it in?’ ”

After they got something down, a version of what would later become the song “Ain’t That Bad,” “(RoccStar) pulled it up on the computer and asked the engineer, ‘Where’s the Auto-Tune?’ And the engineer said, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t dare put Auto-Tune on her voice.’ And he said, ‘She’s singing like that without Auto-Tune?’ ”

It’s quite a departure for the gravelly-voiced kid from Kansas who strummed her guitar all the way out to Los Angeles in the ’80s, making a name with songs like “Bring Me Some Water” and “I’m the Only One” (and later making more headlines when she tapped ’60s folk icon David Crosby to be her baby-daddy sperm donor).

With her latest, “This Is M.E.,” due out Sept. 30, Etheridge has officially jumped ship from Island Records and “made a choice to go independent and own my own record and take all the responsibility,” she says.

At 53, things are going well. Along with becoming her own boss, in May, she got married to “Nurse Jackie” TV producer Linda Wallem. At the wedding, Etheridge gave her vows in the form of a song, the same love song that closes her new album.

Before she headlines day one of the B.R. Cohn festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, Etheridge took a break to chat about love and marriage and who she might anoint as her modern-day David Crosby:

Q: I think a lot of your fans are looking forward to hearing the song you wrote for Linda, “Who Are You Waiting For.”

A: Awww. When I started writing it on the piano — it was one of the first songs I started writing for this album — I knew I was writing it about Linda and how we were best friends and how at some point you see them in a different light and you’re like, “Oh wait this could be something amazing.”

Then, when it came to the third verse, which starts with “I stand in the aisle,” I was like, wait, this is all about marriage. This could be my wedding vows, wow. I usually play the songs for her as I write them, but I didn’t play this one for her, and I kept it a secret.

Q: I imagine she was very surprised at the wedding.

A: I told her ahead of time, “I’m not going to ambush you here. I’m going to sing my vows to you.” But she didn’t know what it would be. It was very intense.

Q: Did you think about just keeping it between the two of you and not putting it on the album?

A: Yes, I absolutely did. It was a last-minute thought that I made a little demo of it and sent it to Jon Levine, who produced most of the other tracks. I said, “Here’s just a little something I wrote for Linda.” And he wrote back and just gushed about how incredible it was, and he said, “please let me produce it.” Then I went to Linda and said, “This is a very intimate thing and in no way does this have to be out there for the rest of the world.” And she was the first person to say, “Are you kidding? I’m so delighted and proud that my wife would do something like this for me.” She had no problem sharing it with the world.

Q: If you were looking for a sperm donor today, in 2014, who among this latest generation of rockers or musicians would you choose to be your David Crosby?

A: Hahaha. Really funny. Wow. It’s funny because the reasons I chose David Crosby were many, many, many, and I don’t know if anybody fits that bill. The stability that he had in his marriage and family was of utmost importance, that he wasn’t going to come looking one day. And then his mind and talent were certainly part of that.

Oh, let me see, probably somebody like Jared Leto. This time around, we’ll just give up all the rest of the stuff. Just make him pretty.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Concert Review in Edmonton Sun

Source: Edmonton Sun

Melissa Etheridge has fun with Edmonton fans at Jubilee Auditorium
by Mike Ross

It’s perfectly OK to make it all about you when you’re a singer-songwriter. Write what you know, you know?

No need to remind Melissa Etheridge. This 53-year-old heartland rock chick has been writing about herself for about 30 years now, songs about her sexuality, her desires, her heartbreaks, her brush with death from cancer, her becoming a mom, you name it, and has become so good at it that her most loyal fans must think she’s writing about them. That’s the trick.

And for her latest stunt, Etheridge is delivering her personal- universal songs all by herself! For about 1,000 of her most loyal fans at the Jubilee Auditorium Wednesday night, she was literally a one-woman band. She was accompanied only by her own solid rhythm guitar – sometimes piano – and also some “magic.” This involved creating her own loops live on stage with the Acme Loop-o-Matic or some such contraption, which is all the rage these days.

Whatever. It takes a lot of guts to pull something like this off. Everything is exposed, naked, there’s nothing to fall back on, nothing to hide behind, and the quality of the songwriting, or lack thereof, is felt more keenly. It’s like the next level of live performance. No band. No junk on the voice. No backing tracks (save the loops she made herself). In short, it’s all about you.

Even with a couple of warts and a screw-up or two – nice to remind us there’s a human being on stage – Etheridge’s show was a breath of fresh air next to the pre-programmed pop concerts we’ve been getting used to. She told the crowd at one point, “Nowadays you don’t know what you’re getting. It’s like food. You have to read all the ingredients.” She added, “This is all organic and natural.”

No Katy Perry she, Etheridge had more impact and was able to communicate her music better than she has in several past appearances with the full rock band. Who needs a boring rock band?

Strumming her favourite black 12-string acoustic guitar, she made her entrance with her first and biggest hit Bring Me Some Water, as in “Baby’s got another lover and I don’t know how I’m gonna survive.” Her distinctive voice was in beautiful form, all the high notes intact, the Janis Joplin growl and Stevie Nicksian gruff just enough, with the passion coming through all the way to the show-ending I’m the Only One and the encore: going for the gusto to scream her lungs out in Like the Way I Do.

Even more telling self-absorption can be found in the title of her forthcoming album, This is M.E., from which she did a couple of songs, including Just a Little Bit of Me, one of the happiest songs she’s ever written. Sounds like she’s connecting with some latent folk roots here. Also, she’s “indie” now, as in “not on a big record label anymore.” She said it’s so she can connect with her fans more effectively, and way to look on the bright side.

Other highlights included the captivating ballad Meet Me In the Dark, performed on piano; and another relatively new song called The Shadow of a Black Crow – not the happiest song she’s ever written – with its key line, “I would rather die fast than to ever live slow.” Who says you can’t do both? But never mind.

Etheridge’s new toy was a bit of a distraction at times, killing the pacing as she set up the beats with a tambourine and some kind of booming native drum. In some songs the one-woman band got a bit silly. In All the Way to Heaven, she deployed percussion loops, played double neck guitar, looped one rhythm, played a solo with the other, and she’s no Bonnie Raitt when it comes to guitar solos, then came the appearance of the dreaded harmonica harness, and what’s next, a couple of cymbals attached to her knees? She didn’t go that far.

But through it all, it was clear she was having fun. That means a lot. It’s fun to watch an artist have fun with their own songs they’ve played a million times before. Some of these pop diva superstars like Katy Perry ought to try it sometime. If they dare.

Melissa Etheridge Concert Review in Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Multi-faceted powerhouse Etheridge shines
BY SANDRA SPEROUNES, EDMONTON JOURNAL

EDMONTON - “Joe Nolan!” a voice echoed down from one of the Jubilee Auditorium’s two balconies on Wednesday night. Or it might’ve been: “Go Nolan!”

In any case, the shoeless wonder and Ft. Saskatchewan-bred singer-songwriter easily won the crowd over during his Jube debut, serving up bluesy folk tunes and nervous charm as the opening act for Melissa Etheridge.

“I’ll do whatever you want,” drawled Nolan in his quiet, barfly voice. “You can take me home for 20 bucks. It’s a pretty good deal.”

Over the course of 30 minutes, the twentysomething delivered his woozy, raspy tunes about girls — including Did Somebody Call the Cops and Tightrope Dancer — with the help of Russell Broom, who added layers of texture with his electric guitar.

While Nolan tended to scrunch himself up and stare at the floor, Etheridge was a ball of energy — striding out on stage as she strummed the intro to a sparse but no less fiery rendition of one of her biggest hits, Bring Me Some Water.

“Welcome to me and my friends,” said the 53-year-old cancer survivor, referring to her arsenal of 10 guitars, sitting in a semicircle at the back of the stage, in among some lava lamps and fake candles. “My friends that have never let me down. I’ve got some magic to do.”

Her pals also consisted of a piano — used for the spiritual Meet Me In The Dark — and pedals to allow her to create drum loops for tunes such as Similar Features, Brave and Crazy, Lucky and All The Way To Heaven. (Like Nick Cave’s opener, Reggie Watts, though not quite the mad genius he proved to be.) “Yes, basically I’m playing with myself up here,” Etheridge quipped in front of about 1,000 fans.

Appropriately enough, This Is M.E. is the name of her current tour and the title of her 15th or so release, due Sept. 30 — not to be mistaken for Demi Lovato’s single, This Is Me, which she may perform on Oct. 4 at Rexall Place.

There are many facets to M.E. The Kansas native proved to be a gifted multi-instrumentalist. A raspy powerhouse. A perfectionist. (She fluffed the lyrics to one of her new tunes, Just A Little Bit of Me, but instead of trying to cover up her mistake, she stopped and resang the line ­­— even though no one had heard the song before.) An entrepreneur. (Her new album is her first as an independent artist.)

Etheridge might also be a lucky charm of sorts.

The last time she trekked through Western Canada, she asked Serena Ryder to open, and shortly after, the Canadian singer-songwriter blew up and became a bona fide star with hits such as Stompa and What I Wouldn’t Do.

Might Etheridge also work her magic for Nolan?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Concert Review in Calgary Sun

Source: Calgary Sun

Melissa Etheridge rocks solo Calgary gig
BY GERRY KROCHAK

It’s not easy staying relevant in this business of art. But after 30 years of triumph and tragedy, activism and perseverance, loving and living . . . and rock and roll, in a lot of ways Melissa Etheridge remains the female face of acoustic rock - even if not enough people are currently paying attention.

For those who had forgotten, or perhaps just needed a gentle reminder, the 53-year-old Leavenworth, Kansas native finally returned to Calgary and got back to some gut-level basics.

Flanked by only a piano and a semi-circle of maybe 10 guitars (including a twin-neck Gibson SG that even Jimmy Page would be impressed with), Etheridge laid it all out in customary fashion. She has always possessed the rare gift of being comfortable and engaging as she spills her heart and her mind into every word.

She smiled and greeted the small, but loud, boisterous and passionate crowd of just under 1,000 people at the fabulous Southern Jubilee Auditorium, before quickly jumping into her breakthrough hit, Bring Me Some Water from the 1988 self-titled debut.

The post-Labour Day weekend vibe was loose, relaxed and warm as Etheridge dug back in time, while still living in the present with a couple of cuts from her new release, This Is M.E. (out on September 30). Pity those lazy souls who chose to stay at home.

Using a loop pedal to record and play her own backbeat, Etheridge proved to be a one-woman show to behold! “Hi, Calgary-eee!” she bellowed and was answered right back with long, raucous applause. “It’s just me tonight – there’s no blaming anyone else! Everything you hear tonight . . . is just me.”

She carried the self-created ebb and flow of The Angels, the Joplin-esque Chrome-Plated Heart and I Gave You My Soul, before jumping behind the piano for a gorgeous interpretation of The Letting Go from the darkly beautiful 1992 album, Never Enough.

By the time she played a brand new number called Take My Number, the Grammy-award winning monster Come To My Window and I Want To Come Over from ‘95s Your Little Secret, it was already clear that you could not possibly see an artist of this talent level and magnitude under better circumstances. For a one-woman show, Etheridge makes a big and beautiful racket.

I’m The Only One was merely the topper of a terrific evening filled with surprises.

As an activist, a singer, a songwriter, a cancer survivor and a human being, Melissa Etheridge still has something to say . . . and this was the best way to hear it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Concert Review from Times Colonist

Source: Times Colonist

Melissa Etheridge brings energy and old-fashioned musical ability
Mike Devlin

Melissa Etheridge is nothing if not a ball of manic energy and she proved Sunday at the Royal Theatre that her feisty spirit hasn’t ebbed a bit, even as she turns the corner on a quarter-century as a performer.

Sporting a gold-coloured leather suit, Etheridge, 53, wowed 1,200 fans during her return to the Broughton Street theatre, a venue she visited during her 1989 tour. That was a lifetime ago, Etheridge noted on Sunday, but her memory of the Royal was still vivid. "It was the nicest place I had ever played,” the rocker joked.

How times have changed.

Etheridge is now one of the most decorated rock singers of her generation, female or otherwise, with a devoted fan base to match. They were out in full force Sunday, supporting the Grammy-winner on her first official solo tour since 2001. Without a backing band, she operated seemingly off the cuff, satiating longtime fans of her early work with a setlist that drew almost exclusively from her first four albums.

Of the 14 songs she performed Sunday, four were pulled from her self-titled 1988 debut, with an additional three from 1989’s, Brave and Crazy. Two each from 1992’s Never Enough and 1993’s Yes I Am filled out the bulk of her setlist. On almost every song, the Kansas-bred, California-based performer accompanied herself on percussion, thanks to a looping software that created rhythms in real time.

She recorded and synced together various instruments — tambourine, hand drum, electric and acoustic guitar — through what she called her "magic box." ‎The approach, which many performers employ on solo tours at the moment, approximated a full band, but did not have the same visual appeal or underlying oomph. That was perhaps the lone drawback on an otherwise excellent night.

The first strums of Bring Me Some Water emanated from the side of the stage and when she eventually emerged from the shadows to kick off the two-hour concert, it was to a huge cheer from the audience. She played another song, You Can Sleep While I Drive, solely on guitar, before the tone of the night was set on Similar Features, her first kick at the looping-software can.

It wasn’t as tech-heavy as it might appear. She never abandoned that which made her famous — old-fashioned music ability — and some of the night’s most vivid accents came courtesy of her guitar, harmonica and piano. Each instrument, recorded or otherwise, took a backseat to her unmistakable voice, however. Seemingly cut from gritty sandpaper, it gave resonance to her most emotionally complex material. Only once, during the higher-register chorus of I’m the Only One, did her vocal abilities not shine through.

She engaged the audience with The Weakness in Me, a jaw-dropping version of the Joan Armatrading original, whose lovesick poetry ‎was paired perfectly with Etheridge's piano. It was the lone cover of the concert, but it counted as perhaps the night’s best moment.

Etheridge has a new album due Sept. 30 and by all accounts it will be a stylistic about-face. Perhaps, then, her return to Victoria was her way of closing a chapter on the past, if only for the time being. Should she embark on a new direction in the coming months, fans in attendance Sunday were given a final look at one of the finest female rock performers of the modern era. Etheridge, for her part, left no doubt about her abilities, especially on guitar. She used at least a dozen in concert, including numerous 12-strings. She also played a double-necked Gibson (she called it “the girls”), a Fender electric mandolin, and a resonator guitar.

The audience remained on its feet after the main set, which gave her extended encore - consisting solely of her authoritative take on Like The Way I Do — the feel of a long-awaited celebration. The crowd matched Etheridge emotion for emotion, which seemed fitting. For those who give, there is much to receive in return. Suffice to say, both performer and fan couldn’t have asked for more on this night.

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Scene Newspaper

Source: Scene Newspaper

Melissa Etheridge: “This is M.E.”
By Michael Casper

I’ve been a fan of Melissa Etheridge’s gritty, folky, rhythm and blues, rock sound since I first heard her music in the early 90’s. She reminded me of a female Springsteen. She’s been nominated for fifteen Grammy’s, has won twice, she’s also won an Oscar, she came out in ’93, lists “activist” as one of her occupations, was diagnosed with breast cancer in ’04, and has a new album due out later this month.

Michael: Your latest album…is it still as exciting after all the others you’ve put out?

Melissa: Oh, it’s totally! First, because it’s a completely different world. Secondly, I love making music. I love doing it and creating it. The experience making this album was completely different because it’s my first album not going through Island Records. I had been with Island for over 25 years. The whole record industry and music business has changed so much that I can actually make my own album and release it myself and own it. It was a big, huge move and meant that I had to be ‘big boss lady’ and not just leave the business to everybody else, but step in and take care of my business. I worked with these amazing producers and writers and had a blast and I believe I’ve created some of my best music. Have you heard any of it?

Michael: Yes, I have!

Melissa: Oh good, because it’s kind of hard to explain. The reason I call it “This is Me” is because it’s a collection of my influences, which range from country to rock to R&B and soul. I grew up with one radio station that played them all. They’re all equally my favorite inside me and I really enjoyed exploring all of those, instead of just kind of writing in one musical vein. So, I’m really excited about this album.

Michael: So, the team you assembled…

Melissa: I got out from underneath the conglomerate…um…let’s just say there are so many things that limit you when you work for one corporation. To get out and say, ‘Okay I’m in charge of it.’ One of the ways people work now, instead of a producer working for that big fee, and you pay him…and you make music. They do it without the fee, yet you give them writing percentages. You give them a little piece of the song so it’s a different sort of investment now. You get them invested differently. It’s like, ‘Okay we’re offering you back end now,’ instead of just the upfront money and of course the upfront money is gone. Nowadays the budgets are so much less because you make an album for less. So it’s a different way of making the album. I had the opportunity to go to this producer writer, Jerry Wanda, in New York City. He was part of the Fugees with Wyclef Jean and I got to really explore him. Working with a rock star, who’s a hip-hop artist, but working through the connections with my new management, I was able to say, ‘Look, I want to step my foot into this world. I think there is a marriage here that can happen.’ And I’m just thrilled with the results. I don’t know if anybody else is going to love it, (laugh) but I certainly love it! I still love jumping around my room playing it.

Michael: So it is still as exciting as when you cut your first album.

Melissa: Absolutely, I cannot wait for people to hear this. I can’t wait to perform these songs live. I want to still be thrilled and excited about it all. The thing is, I’m more confident now than I used to be so I’m enjoying it more.

Michael: You say things are different now than back in the day. What’s touring like now?

Melissa: Well, touring is the golden egg for me. That’s my bread and butter right there. It’s something I’ve cultivated and if an audience knows that it’s a Melissa Etheridge show, you’re guaranteed something. That’s something worth investing in. You’re going to get a good show. I’m really proud that people believe that. That even though I don’t have a hit song on the radio they know they can go hear a good concert. So, that’s still in place. As I’m starting to assemble a new band, a new feeling for this new record, there’s going to be new spice in it, there’s going to be new fun. But, it’s still me doing what I love on stage.

Michael: Can your music still find a place in today’s niche radio formats?

Melissa: I think this record can. I’ve been not focusing on the radio because it has narrowed itself so far down to very specific sounds and such. I’ve been outside of it. I believe what Chris Blackwell told me 25 years ago. He said, ‘Don’t make music for the radio, make radio come to you.’ I think this album is just within reach of radio if radio really wants it. If I can spark it just enough to where maybe it’ll catch fire, then I think it can work. If not, then I have a great album that I love playing and I’m completely happy with, but it certainly would be nice if radio could maybe step out just a little and try it.

Michael: Tell me about “Take My Number.”

Melissa: It is very different. Most of the collaborations on this album are collaborations with rhythm track. My drummer programs beats. That’s something I never learned. Music wasn’t sitting in a room with a computer for me at all. And when that started in the late 90’s and the turn of the century, all those beats sort of lost me. So coming back around to it and working with a guy who’s a fabulous drummer and can make these beats, he would give them to me in a 3-minute version of this beat, and I would write a song to it. So that’s that collaboration with him. When I collaborated with John Lavine, who is an incredibly talented keyboard/piano player, he would create beats and he and I would be in his studio creating the music, then I would take it and go write the lyrics. It’s different than when I go in with the song. For example, a song like, ‘Rockstar,’ he created the beat, I created the music and he and I both created the lyrics and I’ve never really worked on lyrics with anybody else.

Michael: And you worked with Jerry Wanda.

Melissa: And with Angela Hunt in the studio. She wrote “Empire State of Mind” and has incredible R&B hits. She and I worked on, “Do It Again” lyrically. There’s a culture within the urban world, you create it right there in the studio. It wasn’t the way I ever wrote Rock & Roll. I’d go into my room and spend hours working on the words and the melody. They create it in the moment. It’s very much a freestyle thing, which I really loved. It was a different way of creating. The Jerry Wanda tracks were full collaboration, in the studio, in the moment. We worked until 4 in the morning. It’s a very different culture. I enjoyed all of them. I’d get an email of the track and I’d write the rest of it. Jerry and I created it from beginning to end, in the moment, right there in the studio.

Michael: It seems opposite.

Melissa: It was like I have always won the gold medal in the long run, and then it was ‘Okay, now try to do the sprint.’ Well, okay…I’ll try to see how good I can do. And I did. It’s a different muscle. It’s a different way. It’s like, ‘Okay I have to come up with a rhyme right now.’ I don’t get to go have dinner or take a shower and come back and get the rhyme. It’s right now. ‘What’s good here?’ And everyone’s watching you doing it out in the open. It was fun, different and challenging and I enjoy that!

Michael: Was the whole album written that way?

Melissa: No, no, no, just the Jerry Wanda tracks. And actually ‘Monster,’ which is a Jerry Wanda track, I was able to take that home that night and worked on it and came back. But, ‘Do It Again’ and ‘Rockstar’ we did right there in the studio. But the John Lavine tracks I took home and I did all the writing by myself, but the music was with him.

Michael: Besides the road, where is ‘home’ these days?

Melissa: Home is Los Angeles, I’m here right now. I just got back actually from a weekend tour of a couple festivals. Right now it’s sort of piece meal. I have a couple weeks off now. I’m actually on vacation with my family. This summer has been sort of here and there, doing some solo stuff and some symphony stuff.

Michael: Symphony?

Melissa: Yes! For the first time, this year, the Boston Pops did six arrangements of my tunes, like “Come to My Window,” and I performed it with the Boston Pops. Then I went to the Chicago Symphony, and they did four more tracks. There’s just nothing like hearing, “Like the Way I Do,” with full strings. It was amazing. But that’s sort of the thing I’ve been doing this year. Different stuff that my fans haven’t heard before.

Michael: You ever get back towards Kansas?

Melissa: Not often. I don’t have family there anymore. My mother is out here with me. And I didn’t have any relatives beyond that because my parents moved there from Arkansas. I do get back there every couple of years because I have strong connections with my friends. The town welcomes me. There’s a sign “Home of Melissa Etheridge” and that means a lot to me.

Michael: What do you do on vacation?

Melissa: I do NOTHING! And it’s wonderful (laugh).

Michael: You are a breast cancer survivor. How are things going?

Melissa: 10 years cancer free. I’m very healthy. It completely made me see that it is all about health. If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing. The food that I eat and how I take care of my body and stay in motion, and my emotional life, those are the most important things to me.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Gay Calgary

Source: Gay Calgary

Melissa Etheridge Flies Solo
Iconic artist brings solo acoustic show to Alberta
Concert Preview by Jason Clevett

Artist. Singer. Songwriter. Icon. These are just a few of the words that have described Melissa Etheridge over her career. In advance of her new album This Is M.E. Etheridge returns to Alberta next week with shows in Calgary September 2nd and Edmonton September 3rd at each city’s Jubilee Auditorium. Touring before an album comes out is a different model from the usual industry format of release first, then tour to support.

"This is an independent record. This is the first time I have owned my own record I am not on Island Records. This is M.E. records distributed by Caroline. So I am going to get all the money on the back end but there is no upfront money. So where you used to have promotional support, I am combining it and touring so I am making money and doing promotion while I am touring so it is not out of pocket. So this is the business model." Etheridge explained to GayCalgary as we chatted with her on a break between shows. The Alberta shows feature just Etheridge playing in a stripped down solo show. Other shows on the tour have featured a full symphony orchestra. Both, she says, add a new dimension to her familiar music.

"I love how I am either by myself or with 75 people. It is these extremes - yet it has been really strengthening my performance ability and connection to these songs that I have been singing for a long time. They keep growing. When I sing Come To My Window solo it is a great and different experience with the audience. Then when I hear those strings and horns that is thrilling too. It is like these songs exist on their own it isn't just about me and it has to be one way that I sing the song, they take on so much more. It has been such a delight doing my music in these different forms and it keeps it so fresh for me. I just did the orchestra and I can't wait to go back and do the solo thing."

Canada has long been a supporter of Etheridge since her 1998 self-titled album. With 12 studio albums released, where she plays has an influence on what songs will be performed.

"When I come up to Calgary and Edmonton I will take into consideration what were the Canadian hits. Canada really responded to the first three albums more than America did. So when I do a song like No Souvenirs that was a big hit up there. So I will change the set list to the location and also I like to throw in deep album cuts and a couple of new songs. With the solo stuff I can always change my mind in the middle of the set and play something else because it is just me."

This is a rare opportunity to experience Melissa Etheridge in an intimate and unique showcase. Her excitement at performing in this style is evident in her voice.

"This is a special solo tour. I have come so far in my guitar playing that the solo tour is really a showcase for what I can do. I use a little bit of technology, I have a looper and will create loops onstage but everything is original that I am playing. I get to play to myself and create some beats with hand drums and electric guitars. I love how much I stretch myself during the show. The audience has been responding amazingly. It is quite upbeat I am playing hits and deep tracks and a couple of new things. If you are a fan at all, you need to catch this because I don't know when I will be doing this again."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Stops by Norman's Rare Guitars


Video posted on YouTube by Norman's Rare Guitars

Melissa Etheridge Interview with the Times Colonist

Source: Times Colonist

Melissa Etheridge stays active while embracing serenity
Mike Devlin / Times Colonist

Melissa Etheridge has scored a series of professional triumphs over her 35-year music career, including two Grammy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But when she is discussed outside of the music community, which has happened increasingly in recent years, it is often for her activism.

The word itself still makes Etheridge skip a step. The Midwesterner, who was raised in Leavenworth, Kansas, doesn’t like to make a fuss about things, least of all issues pertaining to her personal life. She does, however, believe she has every right to speak her mind, repercussions be damned. If that makes her an activist, she is happy to live with that definition.

“I am being called an activist simply for making the choices I do in my life,” Etheridge, 53, said Tuesday from a hotel room in Denver. “I am a breast cancer thriver, I am a lesbian, I do think recreational cannabis enhances my life, I understand the environment and the effect it has on my health. These things are so clear to me I will speak about them whenever I am asked. The activist part only comes from being willing to speak truthfully about it.”

Truth is a key characteristic of Etheridge’s music. Called by some pundits the Queen of the Heartland, her Springsteen-esque songs redefined the role of women in rock during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a triple-threat skillset that included heartfelt songs, rafter-reaching voice and road-weary acoustic guitar.

Her hard-rocking debut from 1988, Melissa Etheridge, made her an instant star. At the time, few of the women artists on radio could match her abilities as a rocker. She continued that hit streak well into the 1990s and beyond. By the time 2005 rolled around, she had scored 14 Grammy Award nominations in the rock category, far and away the biggest total ever for a female artist.

Her 15th Grammy nod was for the song I Need to Wake Up, a track Etheridge penned for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. In 2007, the same song earned her an Academy Award.

Etheridge, who once told Rolling Stone magazine she is “most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt,” didn’t always fit in on radio, which made her success in the medium feel like even more of a major accomplishment

“From the day I started doing this, there were people who believed in the music, from my manager at the time, Bill Leopold, to Chris Blackwell, who signed me to Island Records,” Etheridge said. “They believed in it. And when you believe in something, that enables you to stand in a radio station and say: ‘Are you kidding me? Don’t tell me you can’t play two women on the radio back to back.’ ”

The raspy-voiced belter — she of the short stature but spunky attitude — was once in line to portray Janis Joplin in a Hollywood biopic, a role she would have relished.

But the desire to push the boundaries of what she can achieve inside the realm of her art isn’t as strong as it once was, Etheridge admitted. She records with regularity, but the fate of each record she makes is less of a make-or-break situation.

Her upcoming recording, This is M.E., due in September, will be the first record of her career not to bear the Island Records imprint.

If you had told her a decade ago that would be her fate, she would have fainted. But Etheridge is strangely serene as she crosses North America on her solo tour in advance of her first independent album.

That’s a sign she is heading in the right direction.

“It’s not the product I’m selling anymore, it’s me. The product is helping me. An album will, too, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Those days are gone, and I’m so happy about that.

“I tour every year and to most Melissa Etheridge fans, it doesn’t matter if a new album is out. They know they are going to get a great show, with all the songs they love, whether I have an album out or not. And that’s just golden. I wish that for every artist.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with The Salt Lake Tribune

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

Concert preview: Melissa Etheridge declares ‘This Is M.E.’ in solo tour
By David Burger

When an artist comes out with a new album called "This Is M.E." in the midst of a much-lauded career — as Melissa Etheridge has just done — you have to wonder: Was that not you on all those other albums before?

"That’s funny!" the 53-year-old Kansas native responded in an email interview. "They have all been me, as in very personal. I think the title is referring to the Me right now."

Etheridge is one of the most popular singer-songwriters of her generation, with millions in album sales and multiple Grammy nominations. (Her new album is out Sept. 30, with the single "Take My Number" already receiving radio play.)

Headlining a solo show at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on Wednesday, Aug. 27, Etheridge, who married Linda Wallem in California in May, answered questions posed by The Tribune.

Do you have any memorable Utah memories, musical or otherwise?

Utah has been one of my favorite vacation spots. I have many fond memories of Lake Powell and Bryce Canyon. Skiing in Park City and playing Deer Valley were some extra-special times also.

Utah has been in the national news as a battleground for same-sex marriage. Are you surprised that Utah is at the forefront on the issue?

Because Utah is a state with very deep religious roots, the issue of same-sex marriage, of course, would have some great challenges here and also some of the strongest support.

What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?

When you have gone through something like cancer — 10 years cancer-free, by the way — every day is an inspiration. Every new morning. Every night I am filled with gratitude.

Does suffering have to be involved for you to write music?

Suffering makes for some intense colors, yes, but there are many other colors in the crayon box of creation.

Where are you in life right now?

I am old enough to be wise and young enough to be dangerous.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Taps Her Entrepreneurial Spirit With Newest Album 'This Is Me'

Source: Huffington Post

With a new album on its way next month, iconic artist Melissa Etheridge kept it real Wednesday night and shared her excitement about her independent release of This is M.E. through her own label. She reflected on the ever-changing digital music landscape, which transformed before her eyes over her extensive 25-year recording career. For this project that will be released September 30, she decided to do it differently releasing it through her own independent label, and worked with an eclectic mix of producers from Jon Levine to Jerry Wonda.

At the new Santa Monica private lounge and recording studio A&R Bar, Melissa showcased her newest songs for an intimate group of 75 industry music and entertainment influencers. She took us through the decades of her long-standing career which began in her hometown, Kansas City to her first big break coming to Los Angeles in the early '80s with one of her earliest performances at the "it" spot at the Troubadour -- to her first record deal being signed by Chris Blackwell at Island Records in '87.

"When no one else would sign me -- yes it happens believe it or not-- Chris saw something in my music and gave me my first break," she shared. " I then watched the big '90s and what I call the turn of the century in the record industry over the past 15 years -- I watched and saw how things changed."

She recalled the first time she was able to place all her music on one device.

"I was so thrilled I could put all my music on one thing and take all the songs with me wherever I went," she said.

The state of touring and live music is something she knows is here to stay.

"Music is important to everyone -- it's not going anywhere and people like live music and watching performances whether I have a hit song or not -- they want to come to see that music," she said.

With two teenagers at home, Melissa is able to stay on top of trends and up-and-coming break out bands as well as the digital age. While her daughter is into the "civil bands" everything from Arctic Monkeys, The Lumineers to Taylor Swift, her son educates her on the latest EDM tracks. Etheridge took note and even got The Lumineers cellist to play and sing on one of her newest tracks.

"I see what music is in my kids life -- it's amazing to me and love watching it as they sit and watch TV commercials come on and then Shazam it and put together their mix on Soundcloud," she added. "This is the way this generation shares music -- they define themselves through music more than ever before."

After so many years of not being engaged on the social front, Etheridge felt it was important to utilize these channels to engage and communicate with fans.

"I love the direct line to my fans and the continuous dialogue in real-time which is powerful," said Etheridge, who joked as she shared that her kids keep her cool, especially when she has the urge to post her latest status updates like putting a puzzle together.

She reflected music consumption in her youth years growing up in Kansas City. "We had no choice but to listen to what was on the radio stations," said Etheridge. "There are so many different avenues now and a song in a movie trailer can help break your career -- look at the impact of Florence + The Machine in Eat, Pray, Love."

Etheridge describes the state of the business to be in a "renaissance," which she feels motivates, inspires empowers artists of today.

"I love all avenues now available to musicians. It's not in the hands of a few -- I'm not bound to what a record company wants a single to be," she shared. "This is what guides me into 2014-2015."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with Portland Tribune

Source: Portland Tribune

Etheridge still going strong, coming to Oregon - again

Written by Kerry Eggers

Rocker. Songwriter. Guitarist. Activist. Melissa Etheridge wears many hats, and quite fashionably at that, thank you.

The Grammy and Academy Award winner will play Chinook Winds Casino & Resort in Lincoln City for two shows, Aug. 29 and 30 (www.chinookwindscasino.com).

Etheridge, 53, owns two Grammys and 15 Grammy nominations, won an Academy Award for best original song in 2006 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

The Leavenworth, Kan. native recently spoke with the Portland Tribune from her home in Los Angeles about the Lincoln City stop, which comes at the end of her current solo tour:

Portland Tribune: How much touring do you do these days?

Etheridge: This year was the off year. I toured more in 2013. My new album, “This is M.E.,” is coming out Sept. 30, so I’ll go out on a six-week tour in the fall. And I’ll probably do a spring thing overseas. Next year will be full. It’s a balancing thing between family, home and touring. I would say I typically tour a little less than half a year.

Tribune: Is it still as fun as when you started?

Etheridge: I love the performances. The travel? Ehhh ... I wish I could just materialize (laughs).

Tribune: On the solo tour, are you just singing and playing the guitar?

Etheridge: It’s myself and a looper — technology that allows me to play several different beats and sounds. I show the audience the process, which is really fun. They think it’s like magic. It’s a really interesting show. If you like my music, this is a great time to see me. The solo tour is unique. I haven’t

done one since 2001. When I come back in the fall, it will be with full band.

Tribune: How many times have you played Oregon over the years?

Etheridge: Oh my goodness, Oregon is one of my favorite stops. Quite a few times. I’d say dozens. I’ve often played the Schnitzer in Portland — love that place. I’ve loved the way Portland has grown. I love the ideals of the people there, and your politics. I love flying over Oregon and looking down at the farms. It’s just gorgeous, the organic nature of the whole state.

Tribune: What kind of songs will be on the new album?

Etheridge: It’s all original stuff. It’s my first independent record. My management said in this day and age, I need to own my own record. The making of it becomes very different. You collaborate more, and the producer gets a percentage. I work with many different producers. The music ranges from songs like “Take my Number,” a classic acoustic rock song, to some stuff I worked on with Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, the producer and bass player with the Fugees. We came up with some amazing tracks like “Monster” and “Do it Again.” It runs the gamut, from country songs to hip hop.

Tribune: Is country at the heart of your musical genre?

Etheridge: When someone asks me, I’ll say rock ‘n’ roll, yet rock ‘n’ roll came from country and rhythm and blues. My roots growing up in Kansas were from the one AM station, which played Led Zeppelin, Tammy Wynette, Marvin Gaye. My first bands were country western. In my heart, it’s country, yet the music that always moved me was rock ‘n’ roll.

Tribune: In Wikipedia, you’re identified as “rock singer/songwriter, guitarist and activist.” Which do you most strongly identify with at this point in your life?

Etheridge: It’s funny. The activist part is not something I ever strived for. I never know quite how to live up to that. My activism comes in my living the choices I’ve made. I’m not one to get up and make speeches. I would say I’m a rock performer and songwriter. That’s at the soul.

Tribune: Joss Stone calls you “one of the bravest women I’ve come across.” What do you think when she says that?

Etheridge: I love inspiring the younger generation. Bravery is in the eye of the beholder. I’m just making the choices as life presents them to me.

Tribune: You’re a breast cancer survivor. It’s been 10 years since your treatment. How are you doing?

Etheridge: I’m cancer-free! Ten healthy years. I’ve learned so much about my health, my body, the food I eat, keeping active, drinking water — everything. Health is the most important thing. If I don’t have my health, I have nothing.

Tribune: You were married in May to your partner, Linda Wallem. Is it true the two of you are exactly the same age? You were actually born on the same day?

Etheridge: Isn’t that bizarre? She is four hours older than me. We were best friends before. We’d always spend our birthday together. It’s crazy. It’s a fun thing. We have a lot in common.

Tribune: Will she be with you at Chinook Winds?

Etheridge: I don’t know. She has a big job. She comes with me whenever she can. Very

possibly.

Tribune: You have four kids. How important is being a mother to you?

Etheridge: Oh my God, it’s what it’s all about. Being a mom is just so rewarding. I want to be the best one I can be. But I don’t want to sacrifice myself for my kids. That doesn’t do any good. I want them to see that when I do work, I’m loving what I do. Hopefully, they can have that, too — find something in life that is a plan.

Tribune: How important is gay rights activism? How do you think the country is doing in terms of gay rights?

Etheridge: I tell you, it’s the craziest civil human rights movement in the last 20 years. To be fighting for your right to love is a bit unusual. But I’ve seen a wonderful change in this country. I truly believe the biggest factor is the gay community is learning to love itself, and coming out. The only way we change hearts and minds is to show people we’re family, we’re in the work place, we’re your neighbors, we’re contributing citizens, that we love our children and partners and love our country. We’re moving in an incredible direction, getting there state by state.

Tribune: You’re also an activist in other areas such as environmental issues.

Etheridge: That’s a natural outstemming from having cancer. I am connected to the earth. It’s important to take care of that entity that supplies me life. When Al Gore asked me to write a song (for his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”), I was honored. It was one piece of a very large movement of waving a new thought about who we are and of a consciousness of what the earth represents.

Tribune: Do you smoke marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes?

Etheridge: Yes sir, I do. I believe cannabis is an important medicine in our human life. It can do so much for people beyond any pharmaceuticals. It’s a natural plant. I think it’s the future. As human beings, we have a right to choose how to relax in the evening. I’m a big advocate for the legalization of cannabis.

Tribune: You’ve had such strong staying power as a musician. What’s your secret?

Etheridge: Loving what I do. Just loving it, and doing it because I love it. For no other reason.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Proudly Displays Her Talents In "This Is M.E."

Source: JP's Music Blog

Melissa Etheridge Proudly Displays Her Talents In "This Is M.E."

Singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge released her first album over 25 years ago and hit the charts running since the release of her first single, "Similar Features." Now on September 30th, Melissa Etheridge will release her thirteenth album "This Is M.E." through the Universal Music Group.

The new eleven-song release begins with with the stomp rhythm of "I Won't Be Along Tonight," which harkens back to some of her past up-tempo pop hits. The album's first single "Take My Number" is an acoustic rocker that builds with intensity to its rocking chorus. She pours her passion into her performance of "Do It Again," while "Ain't That Bad" is one of the darkest, hardest rocking songs that she's ever written. Melissa hits mainstream pop gold with the catchy rhythms of "All The Way Home" and "Like A Preacher," while closing with the country feel, sing-along chorus of "A Little Bit Of Me" and the gentle piano ballad "Who Are You Waiting For."

Melissa Etheridge will be performing out west, before heading up to Canada in September. To find out more about her concert dates and her new album "This Is M.E.," please visit melissaetheridge.com.

Melissa Etheridge To Join Star-Studded Performance: Star-Spangled Concert

Source: Pure Rock News

Kenny Rogers, Melissa Etheridge, Jordin Sparks, And Train To Join Star-Studded Performance Lineup Jordin Sparks To Co-Host Star-Spangled Concert With Host John Lithgow

Two-hour live broadcast of Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem to air on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances series on PBS at 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore. Tickets on sale now at www.piersixpavilion.com

BALTIMORE (August 15, 2014) – Star-Spangled 200, Inc. (SS200), Maryland Public Television (MPT) and dick clark productions (dcp) today announced additional talent for the Star-Spangled Concert. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, Grammy Award-winning Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers, multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks, and multi-platinum Grammy award-winning band Train will perform at the Star-Spangled Concert taking place at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, MD on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Sparks will co-host and actor, musician, and author John Lithgow will host Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem. The two-hour concert special will broadcast LIVE as part of THIRTEEN’S Great Performances series on PBS at 8 PM ET. The live television event is a highlight of Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Skyline Music Festival Review: Minnesota Bands Set Stage for Melissa Etheridge

Source: Twin Cities
Additional Photos Here

Skyline Music Festival review: Minnesota bands set stage for Melissa Etheridge
By Ross Raihala

Two musical acts have now played concerts twice at Target Field. Country superstar Kenny Chesney and -- straight out of Austin, Minn. -- the Gear Daddies.

The Minnesota alt-country foursome opened last summer's inaugural Skyline Music Festival and returned Saturday to play it again. The idea behind the fest, which expanded to two nights this year, is to offer a scaled-back (and laid-back) evening of music tucked into a corner of the vast downtown Minneapolis baseball stadium. About 5,500 people showed up Saturday, twice the number Friday's more sedate "indie night" show drew.

Like most other folks on stage, Gear Daddies lead singer Martin Zellar spent much of the show grinning and basking in the glow of the new-ish venue. "I think he had this very band in mind when he wrote that. Four white guys in their 50s," Zellar quipped after his band covered Prince's "Little Red Corvette." (A steel guitar provided the "whoo-ooo-ooo" bit.)

Fellow Minnesotans the Honeydogs kicked things off early with a set of well-crafted guitar pop songs, setting the stage for an evening where, at times, the music felt like more of a backdrop to the warm weather, the cold beers and all those audience members so eager to mug for the camera.

The Rembrandts followed the Gear Daddies, wrapping up the homegrown section of the show with a set that featured former Prince keyboardist Matt "Dr." Fink and several new songs from "Via Satellite," the band's upcoming new studio album and first in more than a dozen years. The Rembrandts closed with their two big hits, "Just the Way it Is, Baby" and "I'll Be There for You" (aka the "Friends" theme song).

From there, Maryland jam band O.A.R. proved why they're festival veterans with a set custom-made for entertaining the masses, whether or not they knew any of the songs. Backed by a terrific horn section, lead singer Marc Roberge led the group through a series of breezy, easy-to-grasp numbers such as "This Town," "Heaven" and "Peace."

Just before 10 p.m., Melissa Etheridge took the stage with "Your Little Secret," her hit from 1995, and continued with a set that touched on numerous points from her career, stretching back to 1988's "Chrome Plated Heart" and all the way up to her newest single "Take My Number." She started her signature song, "Come to My Window," as a stripped-down acoustic sing-along before bringing it to full strength with her potent backing band.
Etheridge took the opportunity not once, but twice, to talk about nearby First Avenue. She told us she played there in 1988 "for five people" who spent the show cocking their heads at her. Etheridge later said she was happy to see her name painted in one of the famous stars that adorn the outside of the building and made a crack about her name's proximity to the late thrash metal band Pantera.

Friday, August 8, 2014