Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy Award Winning rock music icon, with her impressive 30 years in the music industry she has rocked the world with her classics like “I’m the Only One”, “Come to My Window” and “Piece of My Heart”, to name just a few. Not only has her music been an inspiration to so many she has also broken-down doors and boundaries with her human rights work. We had the chance to catch up with Melissa before she embarks on her latest tour.
Melissa: “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so I’m pretty good with the preparation, mostly I’m preparing to be away from home. My children will be with for the first couple of weeks of the tour, they love it, they have their own bunks on the tour bus.
I’m just so fortunate and blessed that I love what I do for my job and the opportunity to share music and songs that become a part of people lives and celebrate it in performance, that’s what I love!”
If you could sing with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Melissa: “I would’ve loved to sing with Janis Joplin, living would be Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, I haven’t had a chance to sing with him yet.”
Do you still have the first guitar that your Dad bought you?
Melissa: “No, unfortunately I don’t have that guitar, we traded it in on a better guitar, then traded in that one for another guitar, but boy would it be great if I still had that.”
We hear your Dad was your biggest supporter?
Melissa: “Yes, my dad was wonderful, if it wasn’t for his support, taking me to places to play and giving up so much of his time, I wouldn’t be the performer I am today. Thank you, Papa! He was wonderful.”
What is your favorite track you have ever written?
Melissa: (Laughs) That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! I’d have to say, “Like I Do” never lets me down, I play that in any place in the world and it always brings people to their feet, so if I had to pick one it would be that.”
We heard the first gay bar you ever visited was when you came to Boston, do you remember the name of it?
Melissa: (Laughs) “Oh yes. Don’t we all remember the first gay bar we went to? It was called The Prelude, it’s a restaurant now, I checked it out and I walked down into it, it was beautiful.”
What women inspire you and why?
Melissa: “Many women inspire me, I was inspired by Janis Joplin, although not her death. I’m inspired by women who strive to make a difference like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bessy Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, these women who were singing this great R and B music and fighting against these barriers, I am most inspired by them.”
You’ve been an inspiration to many women during your battle with breast cancer, what would you say to help anyone who is going through that now?
Melissa: “I would say there is so much being done for breast cancer, do not lose hope, it is a journey and it is not a death sentence at all, there are so many survivors now. It is a journey to look into your life and find ways you can change it, those who have changed something have the best survival rates. Changing your eating habits, changing your work, changing your stress and change how you deal with people in your family. All these things that cause this acidic environment in our bodies, which is what grows cancer. It is a journey of finding your own strength, of finding yourself and truly, truly loving yourself.”
Recently you performed with Adam Lambert at the GLAAD Media Awards, how was that?
Melissa: “It was amazing! Adam Lambert is an incredible vocalist, he is so comfortable on the stage and has such power, it was such a joy to get up there and share the stage with him. He sang “I’m The Only One” like it was so easy, I hope we see him for many, many years to come, he has so much to give. We had a blast.”
What advice would you give to anyone in the LGBTQ community who is struggling with coming out?
Melissa: “This is your life. This is not your friend’s life. It is not your parent’s life. It is not your bosses life. It’s your life and your health are connected to your self-worth and trying to be someone you’re not, trying to portray something you’re not is unhealthy. I promise you it will lead you to much darkness. Coming out was the best thing I ever did. Success and family life may seem a faraway but coming out leads you to them. The world is getting better, it is catching up to us, being who you are it is the best thing you can do and not just for you, for the world, you are contributing to the greater happiness of the world.”
There are many young women out there with dreams of becoming a musician like you, what advice would you give them in what is a male dominated world?
Melissa: “Day after day, after day, it is becoming more equalized, don’t be afraid, don’t lead with fear, lead with who you are and how much you love music. Your love of music will be what shines through, what comes first, sexism is way down the line, doors have been broken down. I have always considered myself on absolutely equal terms to any man, so it’s not even a question. If there’s a problem, it’s another person’s problem, it’s not yours, just love what you do, play your music for whoever will listen. When you walk your journey, you have a life of loving what you do.”
Do you still have unfulfilled musical aspirations?
Melissa: “I wanted to be a better guitar player and I’ve succeeded in that and I’m still growing as a guitar player. I’m working on my drumming chops too and I’m expanding, there’s not one thing, it’s a case of just getting better all the time.”
Do you have any new music in the works?
Melissa: “I’m actually working in the studio right now, I’m working on a new album for release at the end of the year or early next year.”
If you've enjoyed reading this "FEATURED BLOG" please consider making a donation to help us amplify more diverse women's stories.
theLexperience is 100% owned and operated by women.
For more details about Melissa Etheridge, her music and tour dates, visit melissaetheridge.com