Melissa Etheridge Biography
Melissa Lou Etheridge was born on May 29, 1961, in the small town of
Leavenworth, Kansas USA; she started playing the guitar at the age of
8, had written her first song by the age of 10 and two years later played
her first gig with a Country-Rock band. At age 17 she had her first romantic
relationship with a woman and her life was changed forever.
In 1979, Etheridge moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music but she dropped out after only one year.
After developing her signature blend of Heartland-Rock Pop-Rock, on her
21st birthday, she relocated to Los Angeles where, after finding success
on the California club circuit, the singer+songwriter was signed by Island
Records in 1986.
Shortly thereafter, Melissa Etheridge contributed four songs to the soundtrack of the Nick Nolte's movie "Weeds" and in 1988 released her self-titled debut full-length disc, it stayed on The Billboard 200 chart for an amazing 65 weeks peaking at #22 and eventually going double platinum; the first single, "Bring Me Some Water", rose to #10 on The Mainstream Rock chart; the album generated three more Mainstream Rock top 30 hits including the #6 "Similar Features", "Like The Way I Do" and "Chrome Plated Heart".
Etheridge's sophomore album, "Brave And Crazy", came out in September 1989; it debuted at #22 in U.S. Top 200 chart and its main single, "No Souvenirs", reached the #9 slot on The Mainstream Rock chart and #18 on The Modern Rock Tracks; her second album also yielded "Let Me Go" which peaked at #13 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock list and the minor hit, "The Angels".
"Never Enough", her third release, arrived two and a half years later and nearly cracked the top 20 of The Billboard 200 Albums chart; it contained the single "Ain't It Heavy" which hit #10 on The Mainstream Rock chart and earned her the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Like its predecessor, the album reached platinum sales level in U.S. and the final single, "Dance Without Sleeping", became a top 30 hit on Adult Contemporary radio stations.
Melissa Etheridge openly supported Bill Clinton during his campaign for President in 1992, it was in January of the following year, during Clinton's first inauguration that she confirmed rumors about her sexual orientation; in September she released, "Yes I Am", her commercial breakthrough album, it soared to #15 on The Billboard Top 200 Sales chart and went 6 time platinum; the record spawned numerous hit singles: "I'm The Only One" crashed into the top 10 on both The Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Rock charts, its follow-up "Come To My Window" entered The Billboard Hot 100 at #25 and won her a second Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance; the third single cut, "All American Girl" barely missed the top 20 of the Active Rock chart and "If I Wanted To" became an Adult Contemporary top 20 hit.
November 1995 saw the release of "Your Little Secret", the record shot to #6 on The Billboard Top 200 list but failed to match its predecessor's sales; the title-track climbed The Mainstream Rock chart peaking at #4 and was followed by two Billboard's Hot 100 chart entry: "I Want To Come Over" and "Nowhere To Go", #22 and #40 respectively.
In 1997 Melissa Etheridge and her partner, Julie Cypher, who conceive via artificial insemination, celebrated the birth of their first child, Bailey Jean. The next year, Cypher gave birth to a boy, Beckett. In January of 2000 the couple revealed to Rolling Stone magazine that David Crosby was the children's biological father of both children.
Etheridge returned to the music scene in October 1999 with the release of "Breakdown"; her sixth album reached the #12 position on The Billboard 200 Albums chart; the lead single, "Angels Would Fall", reached #51 on The Billboard Hot 100 and "Enough Of Me" hit #19 on U.S. Adult Top 40 radio chart.
In September 2000 Etheridge and Cypher called it quits after twelve years together; the separation was amicable, as the two are next-door neighbors and share custody of their kids.
Less than a year later, in July 2001, Etheridge issued her seventh full-length
disc, "Skin", which hit #9 in U.S. and reached #18 on the Top
Canadian Albums chart; the single "I Want To Be In Love" was
a success on the Adult Top 40 chart.
Her autobiography, "The Truth Is: My Life In Love And Music", followed in 2002.
Two years later she returned with a new album, "Lucky"; the record entered The Billboard 200 gaining a respectable #15 chart position and spawned two Adult Top 40 hit singles with "Breathe" and "This Moment".
In June 2005 Melissa Etheridge released as a single a typical hurt by love story song: Tom Petty's "Refugee", which prefaced her 17-track best-of compilation, "Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled"; the set also included three more new recordings: her live rendition of "Piece Of My Heart", an emotional and heartfelt original song called "This Is Not Goodbye" and the Adult Contemporary top 10 hit "I Run For Life", an inspiring anthem for those who, like Etheridge, have had their lives impacted by breast cancer.
Etheridge's "Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled" was re-released in March 2007 by Universal Music Enterprises / Island Records in its eco-friendly completely paper-recyclable packaging. This enhanced CD included both the track and music video of the Oscar Winning and Grammy nominated song "I Need To Wake Up" from the Oscar winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth".
Melissa Etheridge survived breast cancer when she was diagnosed in 2004. The award-winning songwriter shared her experiences in her album, "The Awakening", which was released in September 2007. It peaked at #13 on The Billboard 200 and the first single from the record, "Message To Myself", reached #25 on The Hot Adult Contemporary chart.
Three years later she released "Fearless Love" which hit #7 on The Billboard 200 and #13 on the Top Canadian Albums chart; the disc's title-track was another Hot Adult Contemporary top 20 hit for Etheridge.
In September 2012 Melissa Etheridge released "4th Street Feeling" reaching #18 on the U.S. Top 200.