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out front

A Living Out exclusive with Melissa Etheridge on being out, being whole, and being proud. Interview by Meryl Lumba t’s the sort of thing you keep to yourself, and then you leave town,” said singersongwriter Melissa Etheridge. As a young Kansas native and lesbian growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, coming out was not an option.

father was the one person she really modeled her life after, sharing that he was a “wonderful man” that took her to all her performances and drove her to every rehearsal. She also admitted that if it was not for her father, she would not be the performer she is today.

The first time she perhaps knew she is a lesbian was when she “maybe didn’t feel the way [her] friends do about boys.” Still, her small conservative town forced her to keep those ideas to herself, and to stay in the closet until she was a teenager.

Etheridge then went to college in Boston, stating that she always thought of big cities as gay meccas. Shortly after being in Boston, she left college to pursue her music career in California. Before she travelled to larger cities, however, Etheridge started performing in male-country music groups at only 12 years old.

Etheridge noted that by the time she was a teenager, the band morphed from Country to Pop and turned into a Top 40 group by the end of her junior year. Though the band turned more mainstream than her liking, this did not stop her from pursuing her craft. Etheridge stated that what inspires her most to make music is her love of it, adding that the craft has been her favorite thing to do since she was only 10-yearsold. Etheridge shared that she loves having the ability to transform thoughts to song and then to music, noting that she is honored to translate emotional ideas.

“It’s funny because I loved being in front of people, but I wasn’t playing songs I actually liked, although I appreciated it,” Etheridge remarked. “I got to learn about music. I played with great

When asked what album she had the most fun creating after all these years, with two Grammy awards and multi-platinum selling records, she paused to think and then chuckled, “Probably my last

When asked who she first came out to, Etheridge laughed, “Probably my best friend in high school because I was kissing her. Besides that, my friends and my dad—I came out to him before I left.” Etheridge also added that her




one. Each album I make, I’m more confident and aware of what I enjoy and how I enjoy with the best experiences.” Etheridge also shared her thoughts on the music industry today. “There’s a come-and-go of what we call civil war music: The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons [are bands] that everyone is singing in the bars,” she remarked. “Then I look at someone like Adele and I’m like ‘Oh, she’s gonna be around’ cause she’s got this talent, this soul, this understanding of it.” Etheridge also shared that she thinks Adele is smart for being able to be in the spotlight and knowing when to take a break. She also added that if she could perform a duet with any current artist in the industry today, she would want to sing with Adele.


Issue 7, Volume 1: June 2013, LI Pride Guide  
Issue 7, Volume 1: June 2013, LI Pride Guide  

60 pages of GLBT Pride: an exclusive interview with Melissa Etheridge, a Q&A with LI PrideFest headliner Debbie Gibson, top movie and music...