Melissa Etheridge

  • Blues-rock singer, songwriter and musician born in 1961 in Leavenworth Kansas.
  • She started playing the guitar when she was 8 years old. As a teenager, she played country music, the only female member of the bands she was in. She moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music, playing at clubs. After a year and a half, she quit school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. She was discovered performing at a bar in L.A. – one of her friends was married to a music manager, and the friend convinced her husband to come watch her sing. By 1985, she was signed to a record label, initially to write music for movies.
  • Her first album was not released by her record company – it was considered too polished, and they wanted something more gritty and stripped-down. She completed a second attempt in 4 days, and her self-titled debut album, Melissa Etheridge, was released in 1988. It was a surprise hit, reaching #22 on the Billboard 200 album chart, due to the strength of the songs Similar Features and Bring Me Some Water, which charted highly on the Mainstream Rock chart. Ultimately, the album was certified 2x platinum, and it was nominated for a Grammy award.
  • Her next 2 albums, 1989’s Brave and Crazy and 1992’s Never Enough, were similar to her debut – Grammy nominations for both, with Never Enough earning her first Grammy win for the single Ain’t It Heavy. During this period, she became known for her live performances, where she sang with the intensity of her biggest musical influence, Bruce Springsteen. Etheridge often covers Springsteen classics like Thunder Road and Born To Run at her concerts.
  • Etheridge released her most successful album in 1993 – Yes I Am. It spend 2½ years on the album chart, peaking at #15, and was certified 6x platinum. Her highest charting single, I’m The Only One, reached #8 on the Hot 100 chart, and Come To My Window and If I Wanted To also charted at #25 and #16 respectively. Come To My Window earned her a second Grammy award.
  • Your Little Secret was released in 1995. It was her final album to sell over 2 million copies, and it was her highest charting album, peaking at #6. Singles that charted were the title track, I Want To Come Over, and Nowhere To Go. She won ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 1996, and then took time off to manage her relationship with her partner, who gave birth to 2 children.
  • She returned to music with the release of Breakdown in 1999. It was less successful than her previous albums, though it was nominated for 4 Grammy awards, with the singles Angels Would Fall and Enough Of Me receiving 3 nominations.
  • Eight more studio albums were released from 2001 to 2016. In 2004, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in 2008 she performed with 14 other women for the song Just Stand Up!, a charity song with proceeds benefiting cancer research. In 2007, she won an Oscar for the song that she wrote and performed for the film An Inconvenient Truth – the first time that a song from a documentary film has won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
  • Much of Melissa Etheridge’s activity over the last 20 years has been as an advocate for various causes – Gay rights, AIDS reaearch, Hurricane Katrina relief, cancer research, and environmental awareness are all issues she has performed for to support. Her bluesy-rock songs, along with her raspy vocals, are a perfect match. Here’s the video to her hit I’m The Only One – her performance is 100% Etheridge!

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