Melissa Lou Etheridge born May 29, is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. The album peaked at No. Later that year, she released what would become her mainstream breakthrough album, Yes I Am.
Yes I Am peaked at No. In October , Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At the Grammy Awards , she made a return to the stage and, while bald from chemotherapy, performed a tribute to Janis Joplin with the song " Piece of My Heart ".
The album was a success, peaking at No. Etheridge is known for music with a mixture of "confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, smoky vocals. Etheridge was born in Leavenworth, Kansas , the younger of two daughters of Elizabeth Williamson , a computer consultant, and John Etheridge, an American Constitution teacher at her alma mater, Leavenworth High School.
John Etheridge died in August Etheridge began to play in local country music groups in her teenage years and graduated from high school in After three semesters, Etheridge decided to drop out of Berklee and move to Los Angeles to attempt a career in music. Etheridge was discovered at Vermie's, a bar in Pasadena, California. She had made some friends on a women's soccer team, and those new friends came to see her play. One of the women was Karla Leopold, whose husband, Bill Leopold, was a manager in the music business. Karla convinced Bill to see Etheridge perform live.
He was impressed, and became a pivotal part of Etheridge's career. She signed a publishing deal to write songs for films including the movie Weeds. After an unreleased first effort that was rejected by Island Records as being too polished and glossy, she completed her stripped-down, self-titled debut in just four days. Her eponymous debut album Melissa Etheridge , was an underground hit, and the single " Bring Me Some Water " performed well on radio and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
At the time of the album's release, it was not generally known that Etheridge was a lesbian. While on the road promoting the album, she paused in Memphis, Tennessee , to be interviewed for the syndicated radio program Pulsebeat—Voice of the Heartland , explaining the intensity of her music by saying: "People think I'm really sad—or really angry.
But my songs are written about the conflicts I have I have no anger toward anyone else. He did and was surprised to find himself one of the few men in attendance. Etheridge's second album, Brave and Crazy , was released in The album peaked at 22 on the Billboard charts equal to her first album. Etheridge then went on the road, like one of her musical influences, Bruce Springsteen , and built a loyal fan base.
In , Etheridge released her third album, Never Enough. Never Enough was considered a more personal and mature album from Etheridge at that time. With rumors circulating around her sexuality Etheridge was not out yet at this point , the album seemed to inadvertently address these rumors. In , Etheridge established a performing arts scholarship at Leavenworth High School in honor of her recently deceased father.
According to Etheridge, her father purchased her first guitar and "would come with me to bars in the area when I played because I was underage". In January , Etheridge came out publicly as a lesbian. On September 21, , she released Yes I Am , which became her mainstream breakthrough album. In , Etheridge boycotted playing shows in Colorado over its passage of Amendment 2. The success of Yes I Am helped increase sales of Etheridge's earlier albums. The album was not as well received by critics as Etheridge's prior recordings. Featuring a lead single of the same name, Your Little Secret is the highest charting album of Etheridge's career, having reached 6 on the Billboard album charts; however, the album spent only 41 weeks on the chart.
She also took a lengthy break from the music business to concentrate on her family when her first two children Bailey and Beckett were born. Etheridge returned to the music charts with the release of Breakdown in October Breakdown peaked at 12 on the Billboard charts and spent 18 weeks in the charts. The album was certified gold by the RIAA.
The year saw the release of Skin , an album she described as "the closest I've ever come to recording a concept album. It has a beginning, middle and end. It's a journey. On the Billboard charts, it peaked at 9 but dropped out of the Top after just 12 weeks. The video clip of this song starred Jennifer Aniston.
Etheridge began with the release of her eighth album Lucky on February Etheridge was now in a new relationship with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels , whom she had begun dating in Lucky performed similarly to Skin , selling fewer than , copies, peaking on the Billboard charts at 15 and spending 13 weeks on the charts.
In October , Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the Grammy Awards the same ceremony for which "Breathe" was nominated , she made a return to the stage and, although bald from chemotherapy, performed a tribute to Janis Joplin with the song " Piece of My Heart ". Etheridge's performance was lauded in song in India. Etheridge introduced a new song specially written for the occasion called "Four Days". The a cappella song included themes and images that were on the news during the aftermath of the hurricane.
The song was released only on the enhanced version of her greatest hits album, The Road Less Traveled. Etheridge was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. In August , Melissa also produced and sang the vocal tracks on the Brother Bear 2 soundtrack, including collaborations with Josh Kelley. On December 11, , she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo , Norway, together with a variety of artists, a concert which was broadcast live to over countries.
Etheridge was featured in UniGlobe Entertainment's breast cancer docudrama titled 1 a Minute released in Etheridge performed the role of St. The single was released on iTunes on January 28, The cover art for the album is a mosaic that includes pictures submitted by fans.
Melissa explains the album cover on her official website: "Because my fans are such a huge part of ME, and I wouldn't be ME without YOU, I took photos submitted by my fans and turned it into my album cover. It was recorded at the closing show of the U.
On October 6, , Etheridge released her 13th studio album entitled Memphis Rock and Soul ; A covers album made of blues tracks originally recorded by blues legends such as Otis Redding, William Bell, and the Staples Singers. Etheridge came out publicly as lesbian in January at the Triangle Ball, a gay celebration of President Bill Clinton 's first inauguration.
She is also an advocate for environmental issues and in , she toured the US and Canada using biodiesel. Etheridge had a long-term partnership with Julie Cypher , and their relationship received coverage in The Advocate , when an interview with editor Judy Wieder done in Amsterdam, "The Great Dyke Hope," was released in July In it, Etheridge answered Wieder's questions about why the couple wanted to have children: "I think one of the many fears people have about homosexuality is around children.
I think that the more gay parents raise good, strong, compassionate people, the better the world will be. In , Etheridge began dating actress Tammy Lynn Michaels.
She underwent surgery  and chemotherapy. By the time of the interview, Etheridge's hair had grown back after being lost during chemotherapy. She said that her partner had been very supportive during her illness. Etheridge also discussed using medicinal marijuana while she was receiving the chemotherapy. In October , five months after the Supreme Court of California overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage , Etheridge announced that she and Michaels were planning to marry but were currently "trying to find the right time Etheridge supported Barack Obama 's decision to have Pastor Rick Warren speak at his Presidential inauguration , believing that he can sponsor dialogue to bridge the gap between gay and straight Christians.
She stated in her column at The Huffington Post that "Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise, that are beginning to listen. In , Etheridge called Angelina Jolie 's choice to have a double mastectomy to avoid the possibility of breast cancer a "fearful" choice.
Etheridge told the Washington Blade in an interview that "my belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body It's the stress that will turn that gene on or not I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion. Sinai Hospital, criticized Etheridge's remarks.
Experts also cautioned that Etheridge's statements were not accurate. In a interview with CNN after the U. Supreme Court's decisions in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry , Etheridge stated that she planned to marry her partner, Linda Wallem. Starting in , Etheridge partnered with a California medical marijuana dispensary to make cannabis-infused wine.
On May 13, , Etheridge announced on her Twitter that Beckett, her son with Cypher, had died of causes related to opioid addiction at the age of The Billboard Music Awards are held to honour artists for commercial performance in the U. Etheridge has won two awards from fifteen nominations. The Pollstar Concert Industry Awards is an annual award ceremony to honor artists and professionals in the concert industry.
Kolzak Award , which honors openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights. Etheridge delivered the commencement address in front of more than graduating students and 4, guests. On September 27, , Etheridge received the honor of having her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.