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

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Melissa Etheriidge performs on KFOG Radio in San Francisco on July 31, 2014

Melissa Etheridge performs I'm The Only One


Video posted on YouTube by kfog

A Little Bit of Me


Video posted on YouTube by kfog

No Souvenirs


Video posted on YouTube by kfog

Take My Number

Melissa Etheridge Performs at the House of Blues in Boston

Melissa Etheridge performs You Can Sleep While I Drive in Boston.


Video posted on YouTube by clumsyshadoes64

A Little Bit Of Me.


Video by clumsyshadoes64

SF Symphony Concert Review in The Daily Californian

Source: The Daily Californian

BY ROSEMARIE ALEJANDRINO

The audience members rose out of their seats, hooting and hollering in an uproarious applause that echoed with pristine reverberation thanks to the impeccable acoustics of the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. Stomping from the upper levels caused the room to shake as a collection of arms reached to the sky in a chorus of thunderous claps, sending chills through the spines of every person in the dignified crowd.

And this was all before Melissa Etheridge had a chance to speak.

On the first of two nights performing with the San Francisco Symphony last week, the Grammy Award-winning rock singer-songwriter performed selections from her collection of hits, including “I Run For Life,” inspired by her battle with breast cancer; “Uprising of Love,” written to support the global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; and the Oscar-winning “I Need to Wake Up,” from Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Etheridge’s commitment to the causes that inspire her music attracts a community of activists and forward-thinkers that transforms into a passionate and extremely responsive crowd.

Unlike a traditional rock show Etheridge might be used to, the audience sat silent but attentively with heads cocked, listening intently as she cooed under the red spotlight to the careful cadences of her raspy alto tone. The silence was broken whenever Etheridge strummed a song’s final chord, causing the crowd to erupt in hoots and hollers over and over again.

The marriage between the symphony’s angelic sound and Etheridge’s gritty rock prowess proved to be an unlikely match made in heaven. Lead by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, the San Francisco Symphony’s sweeping, cinema-esque arrangements framed Etheridge in an audible glow, complementing her bold stage presence with subtle and stylized instrumentation.

Throughout the night, Etheridge paused repeatedly to express her gratitude, not only to the symphony, but also to the city of San Francisco itself. She professed her love for the city’s vast array of restaurants, commented on its cultural diversity and expressed her appreciation for the progressive “Bay Area mentality.”

She was also quick to mention how humbling it is to perform with a group of such accomplished musicians. “I went to Berklee College of Music for … a few weeks,” she laughed, while sitting behind the piano. “It’s enough that I can communicate with (the members of the symphony), but still be intimidated.”

It takes an exceptionally talented individual to match the magnificence of a 75-member symphony. The penultimate song, “Piece of My Heart,” Etheridge’s tribute to the seminal Janis Joplin, was the manifestation of this exceptional talent. Performing sans symphony, Etheridge strummed guitar with relentless ferocity, attacking every brazen lyric as if it were her own. In this moment, a spark of youth struck the relatively middle-aged crowd, coaxing them out of their seats to gather at the foot of the stage and fawn her feet.

“It’s so delicious and so real,” Etheridge said at the end of the night, ruminating in the talent of the musicians who surrounded her. “There’s so much we can do, but we will never be able to replace the human soul making music. The human soul needs music.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Rocks the SF Symphony

Source: The Examiner

By Robert Sokol

If all she offered was musical prowess, award-winning singer-songwiter Melissa Etheridge would bring enough to any stage. What’s likely to also radiate from the Davies Hall stage is an intelligent, easy, raspy joie de vivre that is pretty infectious.

“This is a dream come true,” she enthuses about her appearance this week with the San Francisco Symphony. “When I was a kid, one of my favorite albums was the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of [the Who’s] ‘Tommy.’ I played with the Boston Pops about two months ago, and then at the Chicago Symphony. There’s nothing like it. Just me rocking out with a full symphony behind me!”

The concerts will feature hits from her catalog and new material, like the recent single “Let Me Take You Home,” which is part of an album she’s releasing later this year. The song explores a chance encounter between two people who used to know each other long ago. One’s a little drunk, hence the title, and it could easily be inferred as referencing a reconnecting with lost high school love.

Etheridge provides an intriguing alternative view. “What if I, after my last break-up, I just went home? You know, just started all over again. I never would or could, but, you know, what if? A lot of your dreams are not quite as you had planned when you were in your 20s. You’re learning life’s lessons and yet never give up because you don’t know what might happen tonight. So in the song I made myself be both characters.”

The album is part of a new career phase for the two-time Grammy winner. After years of relying on Island Records, Etheridge is taking a more hands-on approach to her music management. “It’s the first time I own my own record. It’s distributed through Caroline Records, but I own it. I’m in charge of all of it.“

“The process of making the album was a little different for me. It was more collaborative than it usually is,” she said.

By that she means demoing songs for prospective producers to see what clicks rather than holing up by herself in a studio.

On the personal side, Etheridge is equally effusive. She’s feeling third-time lucky in her new marriage to television writer-producer Linda Wallem (“Cybill,” “Nurse Jackie”). The couple had been friends for a decade before romance blossomed. “Sometimes we have to get knocked over the head a couple of times before we recognize the good stuff.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with SF Bay Times

Source: SF Bay Times

Melissa Etheridge Talks About San Francisco, Love and Her Upcoming Performance with the SF Symphony

Two hot summer nights are coming up, and we’re not just talking about the weather. On the last two days of this month, iconic singer-songwriter and musician Melissa Etheridge will join the San Francisco Symphony for a pair of unforgettable performances. Some entertainers give 100 percent. Etheridge gives even more than that. Like a sexy lover, she leaves you very satisfied, but forever craving the ephemeral high of the experience.

The SF Bay Times is proud to be a media sponsor of the performances, which will include classic hits like “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One,” alongside new songs from her latest studio album. The album is set for release on September 30.

Recorded in New York and Los Angeles, the album features 11 new songs all written or co-written by Melissa Etheridge with writers such as Jon Levine (Andy Grammer), Jerrod Bettis (Birdy, Adele), Jerry Wonda and Roccstar. It includes tracks produced by Levine, Bettis and Mark Batson (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals).

“I am excited to be putting out an album that is exactly what I want it to be,” Etheridge says. “I had some amazing collaborators who really helped craft songs and an album that is truly representative of where I am in my life at this moment.”

The breast cancer survivor is definitely in a goodplace now, we found out after she recently granted an exclusive interview with the SF Bay Times while she was on a well-deserved vacation. On May 31, two days after her 53rd birthday, she married Linda Wallem, who shares Etheridge’s birthday. All four of Etheridge’s children, aged 17–7, participated in the nuptials.

The sync between the two women extends to show biz, as Wallem is a well-known producer who has helped to create popular shows such as Nurse Jackie, Cybill, That 70’s Show, and The Comeback. She is currently developing a Broadway show with Etheridge, who is writing new songs for it. Etheridge says Wallem was her “best friend for nine years” before the relationship evolved and the two tied the knot.

As for Etheridge’s bio, well, how much time have you got? Her recording career began with the 1988 release of her critically acclaimed eponymous RIAA double-platinum debut album. For several years, Etheridge’s popularity built around such memorable songs as “Bring Me Some Water” (from her debut), “No Souvenirs” (from Brave And Crazy) and “Ain’t It Heavy” (from Never Enough), for which she won her first Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal.

She hit her commercial and artistic stridewith her fourth album, Yes I Am, featuring the massive and aforementioned hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought her second Best Female Rock Grammy. The album went six times platinum and spent more than two and a half years on the album chart.

Her highest charting album to date, Your Little Secret (#6 on the Billboard Top 200), included the hit single, “I Want to Come Over.” Her astounding success led Etheridge to receive the Songwriter of the Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards. She has also been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Her latest single, just released last month and available on iTunes, is “Take My Number.” The song was co-written by Etheridge and Jerrod Bettis and produced by Bettis and Jon Levine. We couldn’t resist opening up our interview with Etheridge with a question about the new song’s thought-provoking lyrics.

SF Bay Times: We love your new song! It includes the lines, “What did we ever know at 23?” “Everybody’s got a fire that’s always going to burn…” For those of us who are over 23, what advice do you have for keeping that fire alive while still benefitting from past learned lessons?

Melissa Etheridge: One thing I have learned in my years is you better do what you love and love what you do. Stress is the first thing that will kill you. This is your life, no one else’s. Find your dream and go get it!

SF Bay Times: We are really looking forward to your upcoming performance in San Francisco. What are some of your favorite things to do, places to go in San Francisco?

Melissa Etheridge: San Fran has some of the finest restaurants in the world and I love going out to eat there whenever I can. And then there’s nothing like the gorgeous views; it’s a very romantic city.

SF Bay Times: What’s it like to perform backed by a symphony?! Any thoughts about your upcoming performance with the San Francisco Symphony?

Melissa Etheridge: Performing with the symphony is like singing with a gorgeous wave behind you. The musicians are so talented and focused. The music just soars and I just ride it all the way.

SF Bay Times: Congratulations on your wedding! We read that you sang a new song for Linda during the ceremony. Will that song be on your new album? Can you share any information about it?

Melissa Etheridge: The song “Who Are You Waiting For” is the song I wrote and sang to Linda during our wedding ceremony. She had never heard it until that moment. I had never had the experience of singing and looking directly into someone’s eyes. I will never forget it, or the immense love I felt. Yes, it is on the new album.

SF Bay Times: We have come so far with LGBT rights over the past several years, but what political issues affecting our community do you think still need our attention?

Melissa Etheridge: I think the biggest issues facing the LBGT community are the ones we have with ourselves. Understanding the transgender community, reaching across all racial and economic boundaries to understand our own diversity…that will make us stronger.

SF Bay Times: Anything else that you’d like our readers to know?

Melissa Etheridge: I’m looking forward to performing with the symphony. What a thrill. San Fran, I love you!

Melissa Etheridge Interview with The Bay Area Reporter

Source: The Bay Area Reporter

Come to her window: Melissa Etheridge sings with SFS

Known for her raspy voice and confessional lyrics, singer/songwriter and guitarist Melissa Etheridge has become a rock music icon. The Oscar and Grammy winner's success is a groundbreaker, since the rock world is dominated primarily by men. Not only is Etheridge a woman, she's a lesbian who came out in 1993. Ellen DeGeneres' historic coming out was still four years away.

Etheridge's appearances with San Francisco Symphony on July 30 and 31 will offer a new depth to her many hit songs, as well as to her covers of songwriters she admires, such as Joan Armatrading. She'll be singing many of her standard hits with a full orchestra, which is not the kind of sound her emotion-laden lyrics are usually associated with.

Etheridge kindly spoke to the B.A.R. as she prepares for her arrival in San Francisco.

David-Elijah Nahmod: What can your fans expect from your new symphonic sound?

Melissa Etheridge: A complete eargasm! There's nothing like this. You'll feel like you're bathing in golden sunshine. I did my songs with the Boston Symphony – I got chills.

How difficult was it to come out in 1993?

It was an unknown abyss. My friends, people like Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O'Donnell and Brad Pitt, knew, and it wasn't a big deal to them. In one interview for a music magazine I used general pronouns instead of he/she when speaking of my partner. The writer changed the pronouns to my "boyfriend." I was mortified. I'd look at people like Urvashi Vaid [former Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force] and the work they were doing for equality, and I thought that I'm only successful because people think I'm something I'm not. I wanted to come out.

Is it true that you refused to pay your taxes after Prop 8 [California's now-tossed gay marriage ban] was passed? Can you set the record straight, so to speak, on that?

Prop 8 was a blow in the gut. I was so out of my mind about it. In my manifesto [published in 2008 at The Daily Beast ] I wrote "that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights. Sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books." But I paid my taxes.

And now we have marriage.

It's mindblowing. It feels good to call her [Linda Wallem} my wife. I had to go before a judge and adopt my own kids, it was awful. This is so much better.

Can you talk about surviving breast cancer?

My life has been a journey. When my relationship with Julie Cypher fell apart, I felt like I had let the community down. I took in a lot of acidic behaviors, a lot of sugar and alcohol. When your body is out of balance, cancer grows. Looking back, the tumor made sense. It knocked me over the head – I needed to wake up. The cancer was a gift, it enabled me to change my life. Every choice I make affects my body. Now I eat good food, do yoga and exercise.

Which was more exciting for you, winning an Oscar [Best Song, "I Need To Wake Up," from An Inconvenient Truth ] or a Grammy?

I did the film as a favor to Al Gore. I had no idea it would be released worldwide, and it was the first time a song was nominated for a documentary. Winning the Oscar was the crown jewel. Oscar has a shimmer about it like nothing else. It's the only category I could win for, and it's the most fabulous thing I could win. But I love my Grammys!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Interview with SF Weekly

Source: SF Weekly

Yes She Can: At 53, Melissa Etheridge Isn't Taking It Easy
By Alee Karim

Melissa Etheridge's career exceeded expectations even before she was a household name. Though she wanted to sign with female-focused indie label Olivia Records, its rejection eventually led her to press on and find a home at Island, the significantly more prestigious major that released her eponymous debut in 1988. In 1993, Etheridge's confessional, country-tinged rock found crossover fame with hit singles like "Come to My Window," from the six-times platinum Yes I Am. That alone is no small feat, yet Etheridge parlayed this success into the kind of durable mega-stardom that eludes many.

In addition to touring the world, Etheridge became a highly visible spokesperson for the then-nascent, now-ubiquitous LGBT rights movement (its ubiquity being more than a little due to her efforts). After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, she took up that cause as well, and today, she is cancer-free. Earlier this year, she married her partner, writer and producer Linda Wallem, with whom she raises her four children in Southern California. Etheridge turns 53 this year, has had enough success and visibility for three lifetimes, and has young'uns to steward — so isn't it time to pack it in?

Apparently not, as Etheridge is not only keen on touring more, she is, in fact, trying something new. Her current run finds her alternately playing solo and with symphony orchestras in select cities. We recently spoke with Etheridge about performing with the San Francisco Symphony and what she thinks is the next frontier of American civil rights.

SF Weekly: What led you to decide to work with an orchestra?

Melissa Etheridge: My agency, CAA [Creative Artists Agency], came to me with the idea, and I just jumped at the chance. The idea of hearing my songs with a symphony [orchestra] is like a grown-up dream come true.

Have you rehearsed with these orchestras? Have you heard what this will sound like?

No! [Laughs.] I've just heard samples on a keyboard.

Is that thrilling or scary?

Oh, it's going to be 100 percent thrilling. Yes, there's a fear, because there's not a band where, if something goes wrong, you can just say, "Let's take it from the top." But you know, I love a challenge, I love staying on my toes.

I know the SF Symphony has recorded with Metallica before. Tell me how they approached you.

They really like to think outside the box. They want to keep themselves in the game of popular music, and cross over to keep people coming to symphonies.

Do you have any roots in classical?

Well, my parents had a vinyl of Ravel's Bolero and when I was 10, I just thought that was the greatest thing ever. Then there was a London Symphony Orchestra recording of The Who's Tommy that I was just in love with.

You've been aligned with a lot of activist causes, including the LGBT and breast cancer. Did you ever feel like you wanted to be only an artist and not be identified with these causes?

My goals as an artist were always to make music, tour the world, and be a big success — I did those things. But along the way life happens. So when I came out, which was a really important thing for me as a person, I became aligned with that. When I found out I had breast cancer, I became aligned with that. I think cannabis should be legalized, so now I'm aligned with that. These things that are part of my natural state of being get looked upon as activism, but I'm just doing what I love.

With all the pot clubs in California, that's got to feel kind of validating.

I like where our society is going. [Laughs.] To be comfortable with our diversity as a human race is where our success lies in our future.

What do you think is the next major hurdle in U.S. civil rights?

I think in the future, we'll be looking at our penal system; the way we punish people will completely change. That's what's coming — it's all about how we look at ourselves and how we punish ourselves.

You've said that you believed you were as good at guitar as you were ever going to get at age 30, but that you've changed your mind about that. What spurned that change of mind at age 53?

I had that belief in all [aspects of my life], and it's just not true. Life gets so much better in all things; it's so much sweeter. I now play so much guitar on stage every night and it's such a joy. I was [initially] forcing myself to go out there and play more. It's been a great metamorphosis.

Do your kids think you're cool?

There's nothing you can do to make yourself cool to your kids. My 17-year-old is growing out of it, but when they were younger, it was like, "You think your mom is embarrassing? My mom goes up in front of thousands of people!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Videos from Summerfest 2014

Melissa Etheridge performs I'm The Only One on July 6 in Milwaukee, WI.

Video posted on Youtube by Caryn Moczynski

Your Little Secret

Video by Caryn Moczynski

Meet Me In The Back

Video by Caryn Moczynski

Friday, July 4, 2014

Melissa Etheridge Concert Review by TBNewsWatch

Source: TBNewsWatch

by Leith Dunwick

There’s no question who the crowd was there to see at Friday’s opening night at the 13th annual Thunder Bay Blues Festival.

Rocker Melissa Etheridge was the No. 1 draw on most people’s list, including Cindy Scheiwiller’s.

A four-year veteran of the Marina Park festival, Scheiwiller says there’s nothing not to like about the three-day party.

“I came here because this is good for Thunder Bay. Everybody has a great time. Everybody has lots of fun, whether it’s blues or rock and roll. Everybody gets along and it’s lots of fun,” she said.

The lineup this year is stacked, she added.

“I love Melissa Etheridge, the Wallflowers, Spin Doctors. Last year was awesome with Collective Soul. It’s all good.”

It marked the debut visit for Joey Furlong, who was convinced to come to Marina Park by several of her friends.

She’s glad they did.

“Actually, Melissa Etheridge brought me here. I think it’s amazing,” she said.

“It’s great. I think Thunder Bay, once again, hosts a miraculous event. It’s lots of fun and a great place for everybody to mingle.”

The headliner agreed.

Etheridge, who took the stage shortly after 9:30 p.m. and played full tilt for about 1:45, had plenty of love for Thunder Bay.

“It’s the land where the sun doesn’t even think about setting until 10 o’clock,” she said, introducing herself to the masses and talking about her ordeal of getting to the Lakehead, first traveling east to later head west.

“We’re going to wake the Sleeping Giant.”

Furlong plans to return on Saturday, when the headliners are Jimmy Vaughan and Rival Sons, and Sunday, when the Wallflowers close out the fest.

“Absolutely, all weekend long,” she said.

She won’t be alone.

Festival organizer Bob Halvorsen said the crowds are expected to rival last year’s record gate.

“As of Friday night, ticket sales are ahead of last year,” he said.

Robert Slater was among the throngs Friday night and said he’s having a blast.

“It’s excellent every year. We’ve been here every year for the last 13 and it’s been perfect. I think what it is, for my generation, it’s like a high-school reunion. You meet people you haven’t seen for years and they have good music to boot,” said Slater, looking forward most to the Led Zeppelin-like sounds of Rival Sons.

Not everyone was quite as familiar with the lineup and at least one fan might leave a little disappointed or surprised – one of the two.

“We wanted to see Alanis Morissette and on Sunday the Wallflowers,” Ricky Martin said.

Well, one out of two ain’t bad.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Melissa Etheridge for United Nations Free & Equal

Musician Melissa Etheridge knows being different isn't a bad thing. The latest in our series of activists and celebrities speaking up for equality, Melissa Etheridge speaks about celebrating our differences.


Video posted on YouTube by UN HUMANRIGHTS