The life of a rocker can be long and hard due to drugs and alcohol or, just from life itself. Being in the limelight brings with it a lot of scrutiny as well as expectations. Now, with the lesbian rocker’s recent album release along with the breakup with her second wife, Etheridge is attracting even more attention.
Etheridge started her career as a musician while in college. While attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, she and Lauren Pasrelli, performed in many local establishments, gaining the following of a select few. Wanting to break into the music business, Etheridge moved to Los Angeles, California. Etheridge found work at local lesbian bars until her demo tape was given to a man named Bill Leopold, who was in the music business. Leopold was so impressed with her voice, he offered to represent her immediately.
Etheridge started off as a staff songwriter for A&M records. Many of her songs were recorded by mainstream artists. In 1985, Olivia Records rejected Etheridge, a rejection letter Etheridge had framed. In 1986, Island Records signed Etheridge and debuted her first self-titled debut album in 1988. The album went platinum.
Etheridge followed this album with “Yes I Am” in 1993 and “Your Little Secret” in 1995. These albums along with the album “Melissa Etheridge” went multi-platinum. Her other two albums went platinum and two more were gold.
Etheridge was on top of the world. She married partner Julie Cypher in which the couple had two children from sperm donor David Crosby. By 2000, Cypher and Etheridge announced they were separating. In 2001, Etheridge documented their breakup in her book “The Truth Is…My Life in Love and Music.” The book talks about Etheridge’s childhood and Cypher’s affair with singer k.d. Lang.
Three years later, in October of 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer. During the 2005 Grammy Awards, Etheridge performed bald from chemotherapy, singing Janis Joplin’s song “Piece of My Heart.” Etheridge then took some time to raise support for victims of Hurricane Katrina through the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and America’s Second Harvest.
In 2005 she appeared on the Tonight Show to perform and speak about her breast cancer. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she also appeared on Dateline NBC and spoke about the value of using medical marijuana. The following year, in 2006, Etheridge announced she was marrying girlfriend Tammy Lynn Michaels. That year, the couple also announced Michaels was pregnant with twins via an anonymous sperm donor. Michaels gave birth to twins – a son, Miller Steven and a daughter Johnnie Rose.
Etheridge continued to write songs for various organizations or documentaries, including “An Inconvenient Truth.” Her song “I Need To Wake Up” won Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006. The song was released on the enhanced version of her greatest hits album “The Road Less Traveled.”
In 2009, Etheridge started working on her album “Songs of Love and Fear”. According to Etheridge, “Everything is either fear or love,”…”as I started writing, the working title of the album was Songs of Love and Fear because each song had an ingredient of love and fear, and the battle between the two.” Etheridge adds that her four kids were also influences on the album. When trying to name the album, her daughter said the title was too long. After brainstorming, it was decided to call it “Fearless Love”. The album will be released April 27, 2010. On April 15, 2010, Etheridge also announced she and Tammy Lynn Michaels were separating.
Jeff Bachmeier is owner of 977music.com, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit http://www.977music.com.julie cypher, melissa etheridge, tammy lynn michaels