Melissa Lou Etheridge is an American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1988 and became an underground hit. The album peaked at #22 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single, "Bring Me Some Water", garnered Etheridge her first Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In 1993, Etheridge won her first Grammy award for her single "Ain't It Heavy" from her third album, Never Enough. Later that year, she released what would become her breakthrough album, Yes I Am. The album featured the mainstream rock hits "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window", the latter which scored Etheridge her second Grammy award. Yes I Am peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200, and spent 138 weeks on the chart, earning a RIAA certification of 6x Platinum, her largest to date. In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, 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 widely lauded, with India.
• Gordon Lightfoot (Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. CC OOnt is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international...)
• Sofia Talvik (Sofia Talvik is a Swedish musician and singer/songwriter. Her music often blends elements of folk...)
• Chris Tucker (Christopher "Chris" Tucker is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for playing the ro...)» All Folk rock Artist Interviews
Hi everyone. I’m an American rock singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist.
My new album *This Is M.E.( was released this past Tuesday on my own label, you can get it at iTunes, Amazon (with 4 bonus tracks), Walmart, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble. Get a sample of my album on YouTube HERE.
I'm here at reddit NYC with Victoria helping me in-person. AMA!
Edit: Thank you all so much. Your love and support mean so much to me. Without you, it certainly wouldn't be as much fun. Thank you for sharing this journey. And be strong, speak true.
has anyone ever said " come to my window " to you at a fast food restaurant drive thru?
I had a fabulous moment at In N Out in California once, a lot of fun. A good laugh. "You came to my window! You came to my window!"
Do you still get a real kick out of playing songs that have been with you so long like "Bring me some Water?" (Awesome rock history song btw!)
Yes I do. When I see the audience enjoying it, I cannot help but be swept away in that energy. Still love it. Nothing like it.
Melissa, huge fan. Thank you for helping a scared 13 year old lesbian get through her junior high school years alive. You were a rock for me, and rocked for me :) I always thought "if she can be out and survive in the public eye, it's possible for anyone!". Anyways, thanks for being brave. Oh, I forgot to ask a question. Is it true that you make awesome pancakes?
Many can attest to that fact. Especially my children. My favorite is a pancake with just a little walnut and a little maple syrup.
Melissa, your music is so important to me. Words cannot express how song of the songs have helped me through the worst times in my life. I adore "Monster" from the new CD the most. Many questions.. but I'll pick one... Tell us about the song "Unusual Kiss"? BTW, Your Little Secret is such an underrated album.
So many have wondered about "An Unusual Kiss."
The person in the taxi was a 3rd person, if you understand what I mean.
You seem to be burnin' alive. Can I bring you some water?
Seriously, though, I think right now is a great time for female singers-songwriters. Are there any ladies who have caught your attention? Anyone you might want to collaborate with in the near future?
Ooh. Loving the women on the music front these days. Janelle Monae... and Miley Cyrus. She's got some real talent.
Hello and welcome to Reddit! Are you a Star Wars fan? Have you met any of the cast at parties etc.?
I have been to Carrie Fisher's famous birthday parties numerous times, where I saw Elizabeth Taylor on the floor eating fried chicken, but no other Star Wars characters. And yes, absolutely I am a fan, as are my children.
What has been your strangest fan encounter?
It just happened last night... hold on, uploading photo.
Just met this guy last night!
Big fan Melissa! Would you ever sing or tour with another female rocker? Would love to see you sing with Sass Jordan the two best ever!!!
Sure! Love Sass. Old friend. Yes.
Do you ever think true musicians which fit into not so mainstream categories such as rock/metal will ever correctly be portrayed by the mass media? Prime example, Lorde won best ROCK video and pretty much everyone at a certain XM channel looked at it as a joke and misrepresentation of the industry and professionals who actually deserve the recognition
Don't know if I will ever fit into any of their boxes. But would rather be on the outside, anyway. I mean, when I found out that I was number 2 on the rock chart and number 1 was Prince, I was like "Wait a minute, that's not fair." I don't think people know what rock & roll is anymore. It's a spirit.
Hey Melissa! So, are we gonna get a video for "Monster"? You know, you as Nancy Archer in "Attack of the 50 Ft Lesbian?" That would be awesome!! Super Man Fan here LOVING the new record!
OH SUPER MAN FAN! YAY! What a great idea!
I might have to steal it. Working on a video.
Melissa, can you help me edit my cover letter?
I have no experience but am a hard worker, just like you! So I am trying to write a cover letter without experience.
I'm the only one, whole drown in desire for getting an internship.
You're my friend. Believe in yourself. You'll get there.
And ask Victoria!
hi Melissa! considering your great covers of "piece of my heart" and "refugee" would you ever do a covers cd and if so what songs would you do?
Always a future plan. I would do... Springsteen, Aretha, Radiohead, and Marvin Gaye.
Hi Melissa, are there any plans for the box set to be released?
Looking at next year, it looks good!
Hi Melissa! Thanks for doing this AMA!
Who have been your biggest influences over the years, and do you find that they change as your career progresses?
Enjoy the AMA!
Influences...have been Bruce Springsteen (obviously), Songwriters like Paul Simon, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, everyone certainly changes and evolves.
What are some of the artists you are listening to at the moment? Anyone on the verge of getting big?
Here is my top ten of all time... I think that's a good place to start.
Hi Melissa. Thank you for doing this. Your music has played a huge roll in my families lives. My mother recently met you in Vermont. My daughter sang your song "sleep while I drive" yesterday for her solo at school. What is some advice you would give to her in regards to her dream of being a singer?
My advice would be to always love what you do. Believe in yourself. And sing for anyone. Especially yourself.
Do you track your setlists or do you just "wing it" each time? Looking forward to seeing you in Durham ;-)
I have to make set lists for crew and band, otherwise I would wing it.
Hey, Melissa! I'm a huge fan of yours from Finland, but I'm currently living in the UK. So, MY QUESTION IS, are you planning on doing a tour/any concerts in Europe in the near future? Particularly in England? Thank you for rocking on and being true to yourself. You just keep getting more amazing and gorgeous every passing year! Lots of love from both me and my girlfriend.
Thank you! Yes, plans are in the making for the first part of next year to tour Europe and possibly Australia & New Zealand...
HAHA! It's ALL yours! A giant Melissa Etheridge rocking out in Times Square and other major cities! That would be something to see! Have a good one!
what's your favorite snack?
Chips and guacamole. Yeah, it really is.
Hi Melissa! So happy you're doing a AMA. My question is what would it take to get your tour to stop in Alaska? I've always wanted to see you in concert.
The one state I haven't played in! It's a bit out of the way - yet someday I HAVE to make it there.
It is on my to-do list.
Hi Melissa! I am a big fan of your entire catalogue and I think the new album is killer! I actually have a fan club question. Members of the fan club get first dibs on tickets but according to seniority. This means that members with 20+ years usually buy out the M&G tickets and first few rows. This has always been so disappointing to me as a younger fan. Do you worry that catering to long time members is not nourishing a relationship with a younger/newer fan base? Also, please do a CD signing some day! ;) Love from NY.
Ohhhh. It is a constant effort to balance respect for seniority and reaching out to new young fans. Thank for your passion. We will work on this.
What was your first "Wow I'm famous" moment?
After the 1988 Grammys, I was in the airport, someone approached me, and said "Hey, aren't you that singer! You're that girl, Taylor Dane!" and then I said "Well, no, I'm me."
It's much better now.
Hello Melissa, have been a huge fan since the early 90's. In fact I haven't been to any other concerts but yours! I saw you in Indianapolis, they had an interperator for the deaf. If you ever need one, both my parents were deaf.
So sweet, we will keep that in mind.
Favorite inspirational quote?
"Champions adjust." Billie Jean King.
How stoked were you when the Perry decision came down from SCOTUS?
Any plans to do more LGBT activism on the horizon?
Who was your greatest musical influence?
WOW... That had to be one of my favorite cultural moments! Chills, tears, gratitude, I love this great country of ours.
As for LGBT activism, just being myself, living a good life, every day.
Life has influenced my music the most.
Hey Melissa , where's the one place you've never played a gig that's on your bucket list ?
Carnegie Hall! Practice, practice, practice!
Hi Melissa, would you ever consider listening to one of my songs? And, if so how would I go about getting it to you? Would love you feedback. Love the new album! You Rock!
In this day & age, it is very difficult to listen to unsolicited material. Lawyers always advise against it. I'm so sorry. Best of luck to you. Do what you love.
Thank you so much for making our last name so recognizable.It's truly a name of beauty and power. The only problem is that we spell it slightly differently, which leads to people constantly spelling my name wrong.
Before you were famous, would people spell your name 'Ethridge' very often?
They STILL DO. More than you know... I had a picture of it misspelled on a marquee, hold on, I wonder if I still have it...
Melissa, I saw you in Chicago in June with the Symphony and you ROCKED! Do you have any plans to come to the South Bend, IN/Notre Dame area?
Not as of yet... but I will be back in Chicago with the This is M.E. tour November 15.
Have your new album on repeat for the last 2 days! My new favorite song is "Favorite Song"! How did you choose who to collaborate with on this new album? Quite a range! :)
Yes! How did I choose? I listened to the work that they had done, and took recommendations, and I am very pleased with the result.
Will you be doing a tour for your new album? Come to Pittsburgh! Come to my window is one of my favorite songs to belt out when I'm alone. It pops into my head now and then at random times and I love singing it.
Unfortunately, I don't have a Pittsburgh proper show this November, but I will be in Philly on November 4th, and Morgantown, WV on the 12th. I hope to see you. Thank you! And keep belting out!
Melissa, Thank you so much for doing this AMA. It is an absolute honor to have an Academy Award Winner with us today. I have two questions for you:
1- What was it like to be at the Oscars? Can you tell us anything cool about being in the same building as all of those stars?
2- In your songs you are always asking us to do things like Come to your window or to bring you some water, is there anything else that I can do for you?
Thank you very much for all of the inspiring music you have given us over the years.
1) Haha ok you ready for this? It was absolutely surreal. Meryl Streep, Jodi Foster, but my favorite was when Clint Eastwood walked in front of me, looked down at me, and with his pointer finger, made "finger guns" at me and clicked and winked. Made my day.
2) Yes, let's Do It Again and take my number.
What's the matter with Kansas?
That is a good question. I love my home state of Kansas. Especially a shout-out to Leavenworth. And I have great faith in the fact that the only thing that stays the same is change.
Love your music !
My mother used to sing "I'm the Only One" to me when I was a child. It became one of our songs to sing whenever it was on in the car. I still sing it now and think of her if we're not together. It's my favorite song of yours (Come to My Window is second). What was the inspiration for I'm the Only One?
Oh! A terrible heartache was my inspiration for "I'm the Only One!" Yet everyone can certainly interpret songs and create their own meaning. My own daughter just last week asked me to sing her "Stranger Road" as she fell asleep!
You used to have awesome t-shirts and other cool things in your store. Will you have new stuff soon for Christmas?
Yes, new stuff is coming soon.
Hey, ME! Thanks for being here today. I am a big fan of your music and my good friend, DeAnna is an even bigger fan of yours. Today is DeAnna's 50th birthday and I am sure she would be over the moon if you gave her a shout out.
We both have questions for you. DeAnna wants to know how has aging and maturing influenced your work?
My question is: Will you be calling into Randi Rhodes' radio show if/when she returns to the air?
Thanks for being my Rock Goddess!
First - happy birthday DeAnna!
It just gets better after 50.
I do not sweat the small stuff anymore. I am enjoying living in the moment. My work is probably the best work I've done. Yes, love Randi, she's such a good pal of mine, of course I would. On the very first day!
Love your new cd! When fans leave letters or items on stage at a concert do you get them?
Yes I do. And I read them.
What is your favorite color?
Right now, turquoise!
How do you decide what single to release on the radio? How has that process changed now that you're an independent artist?
I take the advice of many people who know the radio business very well. And let them recommend what they feel would be a good first single. It's a tough guess, you never know how it's gonna turn out.
Would you ever consider coming back to Albany, NY every year?
Would love to! Love Albany!
What's YOUR favorite track on This is M.E. ?
Today, it's "Ain't That Bad."
First of all, I have been listening to your music since I was a child (my mother would always play it) My favorite song (the one that just fills me with joy) is DANCE WITHOUT SLEEPING..... Melissa, I must ask, have you ever considered touring central america (Costa Rica primarily)??
Oh, I am heartbroken that I have never been to Central or South America. BIG dream and plan of mine is to go there. And soon. I certainly hope we can make this happen.
How are you enjoying the ability to reach out to your fans in social media? Do you feel this is helping you further your fan-base?
I love being able to get instant reaction and response from my fans. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but would much rather be able to know how people feel.
can you come to my window M.E.? rock on, the dotcommiez love you.
Do you think you would be the artist you are today if you hadn't attended Berklee? How did Berklee help you or change you?
I really believe it was more Boston that influenced me. My 2 years there were my first away from Kansas, and taught me so much about music and life.
How did you feel seeing all those pictures of us "at home" #ThisIsMe yesterday?
Oh, I am loving this photo challenge. I am especially loving to see all of you at work! How. very. interesting.
Melissa, it is both a pleasure and an honor. You have been a role model to me my whole life and I have always wondered, what was your biggest challenge coming out as a lesbian professionally?
Getting over the fear that people will stop listening to the music because of my sexuality. But I'm over that now.
Hey Melissa, thank you so much for bringing out this amazing new album! We have it now in the UK! We participated in the Google hangout with you and other LGBTQ activists in January for the Uprising of Love movement. You inspired us to change direction in our business. Are you still in conversations with leaders and activists to change opinions and lives of LGBT people in our communities?
Oh yes indeed. Hi Rainbowbiz! And yes, it is unfortunately an ongoing struggle.
Hi Melissa! Big fan!... One question. If you had to choose just one song of everything you've ever recorded as your absolute fav. What would it be and why?
Probably it would be "Like the Way I do." That song is so special when I perform it live. It never lets me down.
Melissa I love your music and I still love telling the story about having a brief chat during your 2006 Toronto show.
What is your all time favourite love song?
"In your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.
I just want to thank you for being so courageous and coming out when you did. I was in middle school dealing with a religious family and having a secret girlfriend and we both were just moved by your songs.
Do you think it is easier for Artists to come out today or is there still a lot of pressure to stay in the closet?
Fortunately our world is changing. And I can see the experience of growing up as LGBT can be easier and more open. I believe it gets better every day.
Will you ever play the AC/DC song You shook me all night long? I heard you in the early 90's when you sang it. I haven't heard you sing it since.
LOOOOOOVE that song. I had so much fun playing it then. Yes, I will resurrect it someday.
just wanted to say hi! i knew jano m. when she was in philly many many moons ago! can't wait to see you in philly again!!! i see you listed your musical inspirations, but who/what inspires you in life? how do you keep on keepin' on?
LIFE inspires me. Knowing that I'm here to learn, create, share, makes every moment delicious.
Is this chat not live? Or am I in the wrong place? I see questions, but no answers.
Maybe try refreshing the page? I'm so smart!
Ok I lied...another question... my love for Your Little Secret as an album got me thinking of the song I can't listen to often as I cry whenever I hear it... "This War Is Over"... it is my song for my beloved friends and family who have passed on... who/what originally inspired this song?
Oooh. Originally wrote it for the film "Down Came A Blackbird" starring Raul Julia. It was later used in The Devil's Own, a Brad Pitt film.
I just wanted to say your music and your story massively helped me when I was struggling with coming out, and I actually went to your concert (alone) when you came to the UK during that period.
Will you come back to the UK sooner than the (apparently) 21 years it was between visits last time?!
NOT SO! I should be there next year. Please come see me again. God speed.
I also was wondering if you still think that there is a place in music and on the radio for singer songwriters like yourself and others like Tori Amos.
I hope so! Yes, I believe radio can open up and expand its boundaries. And it can be cyclical.
Hey Melissa. I've been a fan for years and for the past few albums you've put out I've gone and waited outside of TV studios, etc to see you and you don't seem to stop for fans anymore. Why is that? Did you have a bad experience that scared you from stopping? Please consider it in the future!
I usually stop now, unless it's bad weather, or very large crowds. But I enjoy the interaction.
Oh oh oh...ENORMOUS love for the song "Secret Agent"-- a sex toy reference and a Star Trek reference in the same lyric? WIN. I love your use of unusual words and word play overall.. I mean who else uses "ecclesiastic" anymore? To add a question.. do you like Star Trek?
I was a MASSIVE fan of the original Star Trek tv series. I've seen every one.
So I know this is a silly question (statement and question), but...
When I'm having a rough day for whatever reason, I listen to some of your songs and they often make me feel better. Thank you for that, first of all.
What do you do to make yourself feel better if you're having a bad day?
Breathe. Grattitude is the key. I find three things I am grateful for. And that instantly always makes me feel better.
Hi Melissa! Huge fan! I grew up listening to your music and to be honest, I truly believe your music shaped a part of who I am. When I was little, I remember asking my mom what "gay" was... she explained it to me and then remarked "You know, Melissa is gay..." There was nothing cooler to me than you, so I knew being gay had to be pretty cool. ;-)
My mom and I have seen you in concert many times over the years. (We also met you at Cities 97's Studio C in Minneapolis a month or so ago! You were so sweet.) Every time we leave the venue of one of your shows, we are in awe of how hard you work on stage. You can play for hours and never take a break! How do you do it? Also, of all the songs you've written over the years, do you have a favorite?
I love it so much. It is...so much fun to do. And loving my fans and the whole experience, who wouldn't?
Thank you so much for doing this AMA. Your music has been inspiring and healing over the years. As a yoga teacher, I share songs or poems with my students sometimes as part of our meditation practice. Often when I read your work or play a song, people approach me after class and ask who the writer/singer was. You write and express yourself in a way that reaches a lot of different hearts and minds, and I think that is very special.
I would like to know if there are any songs or artists that you find especially meditative and peaceful when you're trying to calm your mind or focus. What brings stillness and quiet to you amid the hustle and bustle?
Oh, thank you so much. Who's inspiring to me...? I'm a big fan of "Chill" music. I actually have a "Chill Yoga" playlist. Some of my favorite artists on it are Lemon Jelly, Norah Jones, Radiohead.
Would love to see you come to Savannah, Ga. for the Susan G Komen race one year. My partners daughter is a 2 time survivor and big fan of yours. Any plans on doing the Komen in Savannah?
PS, Loved your piece with Sheryl Crow in this months AARP by the way!
No, I don't usually participate in the races. But best of luck to you, and stay healthy.
Do you ever have day where you just dont feel like going to work but you put a great concert on all the time if so how do you push yourself. Through cause you rock evey concert?
Aww. Even if it's that kind of day, the minute I hear the audience, everything changes. There is no way to not love what i do when I hear how much the audience loves it.
Do you think you will make more albums and tour after this one?
oh, YES. Definitely! Come find me if I don't!
Would you PLEASE PLEASE come back to Kansas for a tour? We're in Southeast KS and you haven't played anywhere near us in YEARS....
True, I don't have many concert stops in Southeast Kansas. But there's always tomorrow!