Hailing from Leavenworth, Kansas, USA, Melissa Etheridge was born on the 29th of May 1961. She is an alternative rock singer songwriter and activist who became a commercial success in the 1990s. She is known for her husky voice, unflinchingly honest lyricism and several critically and commercially successful albums.
Ok. Let’s get this out of the way early. Melissa Etheridge is a stone cold badass, and anyone dares tell you any differently is wrong. And possibly jealous. It’s very easy to be jealous of Melissa Etheridge. Anyway, as she nears her thirtieth year in the music industry, it’s sometimes easy to forget what a radical figure and unabashed force for good she is to this day. So let’s go over that, shall we?
Her story begins at eight years old, which was when she first picked up the guitar. During her teenage years she performed with several country bands before shipping up to Boston to study at the Berkeley College of Music.
She honed her craft over three semesters before dropping out and making a proper try at a music career in Los Angeles. She almost immediately hit the ground running, finding the man who manages her to this day while performing for some friends of hers at a bar in Pasadena, and she was picked up by Island Records soon after.
Her first effort for the label remained unreleased as, according to the label, it was too glossy and polished. Turns out they had a point; she re-recorded and remastered it in four days, the subsequent album was an underground hit and its lead single “Bring Me Some Water” was nominated for a Grammy.
There’s no real way I can sum up Etheridge’s career without being given a book to do so, the 90’s gave her the kind of stardom that most would sell their family's souls for. With her fourth album “Yes, I Am” being certified six times platinum and giving her a top ten single in the form of “I’m The Only One”.
She has since performed with Bruce Springsteen, won an Academy Award, and won a life threatening battle with breast cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, she stole the show at the 2005 Grammy awards with a rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” while still bald from her chemotherapy.
She’s a true icon, as a gay woman to make it in Rock and Roll, as a cancer survivor, as one of the best songwriters of her generation, you name it, there’s inspiration you can take from this woman. Not to mention how she can still kick it live with the best of them. But don’t take my word for it, see her at the next chance you get and know you’re in the presence of a once in a lifetime talent.