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|Occupation||Singer, Song-writer, Musician, Activist|
|Parents||John and Elizabeth Etheridge|
Melissa Lou Etheridge (born May 29, 1961, in Leavenworth, Kansas) is an Academy Award-winning and two-time Grammy Award-winning American rock singer-songwriter and musician.
In 1982, Etheridge moved from Leavenworth, Kansas to Los Angeles to break into the music business. She got some small gigs performing at The Candy Store on the Sunset Strip, as well as at least four lesbian or mixed bars, Robbie's, the Executive Suite and the Que Sera Sera in Long Beach, California and Vermie's in Pasadena, California. Some of her early fans from Vermie's gave her demo tape to Bill Leopold, a friend's husband who worked in the music business. Etheridge auditioned for Leopold, who was so impressed that he offered to represent her on the spot.
As Etheridge continued performing in lesbian bars in Los Angeles, Leopold arranged for music executives to come see her play. Eventually, she caught the attention of A&M Records, who hired her as a staff songwriter. For two years, Etheridge wrote music for A&M and many of her songs were recorded by mainstream artists. In 1985, Etheridge sent her demo to Olivia Records, a lesbian record label, but was ultimately rejected. She saved the rejection letter, signed by "the women of Olivia," which was later featured in Intimate Portrait, the Lifetime Television documentary of her life.
In 1986, Etheridge was signed by Island Records, but her first album was rejected by the label as being too polished and glossy. Given four days in the studio to re-record, she cut ten tracks which was released as her self-titled debut album.
Etheridge has released ten albums in her career. Three of them have gone multi-platinum: Melissa Etheridge (1988), Yes I Am (1993) and Your Little Secret (1995). Two others went platinum and two more gold.
Etheridge is a Bruce Springsteen fan, and she has covered his songs "Thunder Road" and "Born to Run" during live shows. She is also a fan of the Dave Matthews Band and has expressed interest in collaborating with them.
In October 2004, Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer. 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 was praised for her performance, which was considered one of the highlights of the show. Etheridge's bravery was lauded in song in India.Arie's "I Am Not My Hair."
On September 10, 2005, Etheridge participated in ReAct Now: Music & Relief, a telethon in support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. ReAct Now: Music & Relief, part of an ongoing effort by MTV, VH1, CMT, seeks to raise funds for the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and America's Second Harvest. 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. Other charities she supports include the Dream Foundation and Love Our Children USA.
On November 15, 2005, Etheridge appeared on the Tonight Show to perform her song "I Run For Life", which references her own fight with breast cancer and her determination to overcome it, as well as encourages other breast cancer survivors and their families. After her performance, Jay Leno told her, "Thanks for being a fighter, kiddo."
On July 7, 2007 Etheridge performed at Giants Stadium at the American leg of the Live Earth concert tour. Etheridge performed the songs "Imagine That" and "What Happens Tomorrow" from The Awakening, Etheridge's tenth album, released on September 25, 2007, as well as the song "I Need To Wake Up" before introducing Al Gore. On December 11, 2007, she performed on the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with a variety of artists, which was broadcast live to over 100 countries.
At the 20th Annual Juno Awards in 1990, Etheridge won International Entertainer of the Year.
Etheridge has won the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance twice in her career, for the songs "Ain't It Heavy" in 1992, and "Come to My Window" in 1994.
In 2001, she won the Gibson Guitar Award for Best Rock Guitarist: Female.
In 2006, at the 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, Etheridge received GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak Award, honoring openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights.
On February 25, 2007, Etheridge received the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up", the theme song to the Al Gore-moderated, Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The award was presented by Queen Latifah and John Travolta.
Personal life Edit
Etheridge is famous as a gay rights activist, having come out publicly as a lesbian in January 1993 at the Triangle Ball, a gay/lesbian celebration of President Bill Clinton's first inauguration. She is also a committed advocate for environmental issues and in 2006, she toured the US and Canada using biodiesel.
Etheridge had a long-term partnership with Julie Cypher, which made headlines. During this partnership, Cypher gave birth to two children, Bailey Jean, born February 1997, and Beckett, born November 1998, fathered by sperm donor David Crosby.
In 2000, Cypher began to reconsider her sexuality and on September 19, 2000, Etheridge and Cypher announced they were separating. In 2001, Etheridge documented her breakup with Cypher and other experiences in her memoir The Truth Is... My Life in Love and Music. In the book, Etheridge recounts that she was molested by her sister, Jennifer, over five years as a child, and mentions an alleged affair Cypher had with k.d. lang.
After splitting from Cypher, Etheridge went on to exchange vows in a 2003 commitment ceremony with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels.
In October 2004, Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy.
In October 2005, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Etheridge appeared on Dateline NBC with Michaels to discuss her struggle with cancer. 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. She said that the drug improved her mood and increased her appetite. Chemotherapy patients often have difficulty eating because of severe nausea.
In April 2006, Etheridge and Michaels announced that Michaels was pregnant with twins via an anonymous sperm donor. Michaels gave birth to a son, Miller Steven, and a daughter, Johnnie Rose, on October 17, 2006.
- ↑ Gail Mitchell (October 6, 2006). India.Arie's 'Hair' Regrows With Pink. Billboard.com.
- ↑ http://www.melissaetheridge.com/album_roadlessenhanced.php
- ↑ http://www.melissaetheridge.com/album_roadless.php
- ↑ Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2007. nobelpeaceprize.org. Retrieved on 2007-12-11.
- ↑ The Envelope - LA Times
- ↑ GRAMMY Winners Search
- ↑ Gibson Guitar Awards: "And the Winner Is ..." (NY Rock)
- ↑ GLAAD: Charlize Theron, Melissa Etheridge, "Transamerica," "The L Word," Honored at 17th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented by Absolut Vodka in Los Angeles
- ↑ Celebrities | Biodiesel Resource
- ↑ NBC Dateline interview, aired 10/16/05. Transcript available at http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9673481/page/2/.
- Melissa Etheridge @ Island Records
- Melissa Etheridge Information Network
- Melissa Etheridge at the Internet Movie Database
- 60 Minutes II Interview (June 30, 2000) with Charlie Rose
- CNN interview (May 24, 2003)
- CBS Early Show interview (October 26, 2005) (includes video)
- CMT.com: Melissa Etheridge: Biography
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