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Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge became one of the most popular recording artists of the '90s due to her mixture of confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, Janis Joplin/Rod Stewart-esque vocals. But the road to stardom was not all smooth sailing for Etheridge as she debated behind the scenes whether or not to disclose to the public that she was gay early on in her career. Born May 29, 1961, in Leavenworth, Kansas, Etheridge first picked up the guitar at the age of eight and began penning her own songs shortly thereafter. Playing in local bands throughout her teens, Etheridge then attended the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The up-and-coming singer/songwriter and guitarist dropped out after a year before making her way to Los Angeles in the early '80s to take a shot at a career in music. At this point, Etheridge's music was slightly more bluesy than her subsequently renowned folk-pop style, as a demo of original compositions caught the attention of Bill Leopold, who signed on as Etheridge's manager. Soon after, steady gigs began coming her way, including a five-night-a-week residency at the Executive Suite in Long Beach, which led to a bidding war between such major record labels as A&M, Capitol, EMI, and Warner Bros., but it was Island Records that Etheridge decided to go with.

Etheridge's first recorded work appeared on the forgotten soundtrack to the Nick Nolte prison movie Weeds before her self-titled debut was issued in 1988. The album quickly drew comparisons to such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, as it spawned the hit single "Bring Me Some Water" and earned gold certification. In the wake of the album's success, Etheridge performed at the Grammy Awards the following year and contributed vocals to Don Henley's The End of the Innocence. Etheridge managed to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with 1989's Brave and Crazy, which followed the same musical formula as its predecessor and proved to be another gold-certified success. It would be nearly three years before Etheridge's next studio album appeared, however, and 1992 signaled the arrival of Never Enough, an album that proved to be more musically varied.

But it was Etheridge's fourth release that would prove to be her massive commercial breakthrough. Tired of rumors and questions regarding her sexuality, Etheridge decided to put the speculation to rest once and for all, titling the album Yes I Am. Ex-Police producer Hugh Padgham guided the album, which spawned two major MTV/radio hits with "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" (the latter of which featured a video with movie actress Juliette Lewis); the album would sell a staggering six million copies in the U.S. during a single-year period and earned a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocalist. But subsequent releases failed to match the success of Yes I Am, including 1995's Your Little Secret, 1999's Breakdown, and 2001's Skin, the latter of which dealt with her separation from Julie Cypher. (Cypher had birthed the couple's two children via artificial insemination; CSN&Y's David Crosby was the father.)

Etheridge's autobiography, The Truth Is: My Life in Love and Music, was released in 2002, and 2004's Lucky was her celebration of a new romance. Later that same year Etheridge revealed that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. But early detection allowed for recovery, and she gave strength to many of those stricken by the disease with a powerful performance of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" at the 47th annual Grammys, held in February 2005. That September, Etheridge released Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled, a compilation of career highlights and new material. It featured a cover of Tom Petty's "Refugee" as well as "Piece of My Heart" and a new song dedicated to breast cancer survivors. In 2007, Etheridge released her first studio album of new material in three years, The Awakening, on Island, following it a year later in 2008 with a holiday album, A New Thought for Christmas, also on Island. Fearless Love appeared early in 2010. Her 12th studio album, 4th Street Feeling (named for the main drag in her hometown of Leavenworth, Kansas) was released in 2012; it marked the first occasion in her career when Etheridge played all the guitar parts on one of her recordings. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Falling Up (Single)

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Track List: Fearless Love (Radio Single)

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Track List: I Need To Wake Up [Radio Single]

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Track List: Message To Myself (Cd Single)

Comments

luana_henry
Awesome in every way. Love you Melissa
mpeterson172
This is not goodbye....l o v e you, mom.
my crush forever
Melissa is one of the best by far...... :)
she is a good singer
letuna1
just saw her this weekend in NJ...She is JUST AS WONDERFUL as when I saw her 15 yrs ago...she is TOTAL CLASS and ROCKS
@bobonnit well both Melissa and Joan are talented enough to have been successful in the music industry for years....how many gold records have YOU put out lately....yo u get off MY Pandora!
Now if she would just sing and otherwise shut up!
Raw emotions, great rock sound, and talent... that's how you define a true artist. Thanks Melissa for getting me through the rough times with your music!
I can't think of a more annoying chick rocker except maybe the no talent Joan Jett. Get offa my Pandora Melissa
I keep looking over my shoulder and wondering where this woman has been hiding and just how come she writes all about my life. Step by step, she has recorded every event in my life. Many thanks.
Melissa ROCKS in concert and sounds as great in person as her cds!
To me her voice sounds like Rod Stewart's only feminine.
She's a beautiful woman
I just saw her in concert in a small venue at the Hard Rock in Tulsa and OMG! she was amazing!!! two full hours non-stop and then came back for a 30 min encore. Were does she get the energy?? she's my age and I'm in bed by 10 lol!!
Yes I Am was a great album.One of my favorites.
Her music is Amazing and Life changing. I love listening to her music (stories :> ) as do my children :)
525433228
AWESOME VOICE. WOW. I LOOOVE MELISSA ETHERIDGE
I agree, saw her in concert and she is great!
Yes it does.
The title Yes I Am has nothing to do with her sexuality.
ps. forgot. I have been looking for a melissa look alike but i can't find her...
i have been following melissa since the begining.I love her and wish her all the love in the world...i think she has finally found her true love
lucky.dee
This bio is wrong. Melissa never debated whether or not to come out to the public. She never went out of her way to hide her lesbianism and never ever lied about it. It just happens that until she announced her gay pride at the Triangle Ball in 1993, nobody in the media ever asked. Melissa's motto is "Speak True." God bless her, I believe she always has.
i love hearing Melissa and the Indigo Girls as I imagine myself back home in Virginia driving the hills instead of in Virginia's Shenandoah's National Parks Skyland Highway I drive the twist and turns of the hilly area of Northern Iowa. Even my mom defiantly ungay friendly hum to Melissa.
Melissa says it like it is
Lots of passion... lots of top of the lungs stuff...kind a like Springsteen. . . D o n ' t have those strong emotions trapped inside that need to be expressed... g u e s s thats why I aint into it.
melissa plays with all her heart & soul & sweat wow,i'd love to hug her.christin a ray in martin ,TN.
pab967
I loves me some Melissa!! Lol!
I love it great song love you Melissa!
jmderry45
Totally AWESOME! Melissa YOU Rock!
Melissa you're the best!
omg, fearless love just released on iTunes...it' s great!
choperini117 0
I love "You Can Sleep While I Drive". Simply beautiful.
Awesome in concert!
so much passion in her music i love all she does muak!!!
Best female guitar player, song writer EVER
I just love her...shes so pure
I saw her in concert too. I love her voice. She is so nice.
awesome, seeing her in concert is the best show I've ever seen in my 50 years!
Awesome singer/songw r i t e r ! I have all her music. I've seen her in concert and she's incredible. Terrific person with an awesome talent.
onyxrune
She should make porn with Ellen Degeneres.
I like her voice, even though it is a little different
I have seen melissa numerous times in concert and she just keeps getting better and better. Speak True and stay green
allure_2004
Melissa is an amazing woman! I love her raspy voice. She is incredibly sexy in every way!
the voice of an angel lovely lady great person
I rediscovered Melissa. I liked her before but then kind of forgot about her for years. Then I was on vacation in the mountains and this local station was playing the live version of Lucky and I was hooked after that. I can't get enough of her now. I'm enchanted by this artist.
OMG, I SAW HER IN CONCERT!!!! SHE IS AMAZING!!! She's also REALLY REALLY funny... and she talks a lot!!


patti426
She is the ONLY artist I can say that I have EVERTHING she has released. And I will buy everything else she releases. What a fantastic artist. Loved her lyrics and music from the very first time I heard her. Keep on keepin' on Melissa!
Melissa rocks my socks! She is incredible! Her music keeps me going every day!!!!
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