Hard to believe, but it’s been almost three decades since Melissa Etheridge entered the music scene. With a new album – This is Me – coming out this fall and impending nuptials with partner Linda Wallem, the two-time Grammy Award-winning artist made time to visit Chicago.
Performing at the Symphony Center on June 16, she shares, “The last time I performed solo was in 2007 at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway. Now I’m warming up for the start of my fall tour and thought it would be awesome to play with renowned symphonies in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.”
On her music: “My last album – 4th Street Feeling – was intimate, inward and introverted. It came from memories, mixed in with emotional healing. My upcoming album is extroverted and includes influences from my entire life. I can’t wait to play these songs live. They are some of the best melodies that I have ever produced.”
Ms. Etheridge also admits that she prefers to be alone when she’s writing music. “I have been writing since I was 10 years old. Now that I have children, I have to say that I am going to write from 10:00am to 2:00pm…and I go to other people’s studios to write.” But, she still likes to collaborate at times. Having sung duets with Jewel, Joss Stone, and Bruce Springsteen, Ms. Etheridge told me in a phone conversation that Adele and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith are at the top of her wish list for future duets.
On a more personal level, 10 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Ms. Etheridge shares, “Going through chemotherapy for breast cancer has changed my life. My health is my number one concern right now. I am careful what I eat, how much stress I experience and what I take on.”
And finally, Ms. Etheridge has been an advocate for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community for years. Now that same-sex marriage has become legal in several states, her advice to others is to “find peace within. Be open and honest with yourself. That is where your strength comes from. Let all of society see how you feel about yourself. We are all so different. What is normal? Normal is diversity.”