Kristen Ethridge Biography & Facts
Melissa Lou Etheridge (born May 29, 1961) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and activist. Her self-titled debut album Melissa Etheridge was released in 1988 and became an underground success. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single, "Bring Me Some Water", garnered Etheridge her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. In 1993, Etheridge won her first Grammy award for her single "Ain't It Heavy" from her third album, Never Enough. Later that year, she released what would become her mainstream breakthrough album, Yes I Am. Its tracks "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" both reached the top 30 in the United States, and the latter earned Etheridge her second Grammy award. Yes I Am peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, and spent 138 weeks on the chart, earning an RIAA certification of 6× Platinum, her largest selling album to date.
In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she made a return to the stage, performing a tribute to Janis Joplin with Joss Stone. Stone began the performance with "Cry Baby" and Etheridge, bald from chemotherapy, joined her to perform the song "Piece of My Heart". Their performance was widely acclaimed and India.Arie wrote "I Am Not My Hair" about Etheridge. Later that year, Etheridge released her first compilation album, Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled. The album was a success, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, and going Gold almost immediately. Her latest studio album is The Medicine Show (2019).
Etheridge is known for music with a mixture of "confessional lyrics, pop-based folk-rock, and raspy, smoky vocals." She has been a gay and lesbian activist since her public coming out in January 1993. She has received fifteen Grammy Award nominations throughout her career, winning two, in 1993 and 1995. In 2007, she won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "I Need to Wake Up" from the film An Inconvenient Truth. In September 2011, Etheridge received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Early life and career
Etheridge was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, the younger of two daughters of Elizabeth (Williamson), a computer consultant, and John Etheridge, an American Constitution teacher at her alma mater, Leavenworth High School. John Etheridge died in August 1991.Etheridge began to play in local country music groups in her teenage years and graduated from high school in 1979. While attending college at Berklee College of Music, Etheridge played the club circuit around Boston. After three semesters, Etheridge decided to drop out of Berklee and move to Los Angeles to attempt a career in music.
1982–1992: Road to rock stardom
Etheridge was discovered at Vermie's, a bar in Pasadena, California. She had made some friends on a women's soccer team, and those new friends came to see her play. One of the women was Karla Leopold, whose husband, Bill Leopold, was a manager in the music business. Karla convinced Bill to see Etheridge perform live. He was impressed, and became a pivotal part of Etheridge's career. This, in addition to her gigs in lesbian bars around Los Angeles, led to her discovery by Island Records chief Chris Blackwell. She signed a publishing deal to write songs for films including the 1986 movie Weeds.After an unreleased first effort that was rejected by Island Records as being too polished and glossy, she completed her stripped-down, self-titled debut in just four days. Her eponymous debut album Melissa Etheridge (1988), was an underground hit, and the single "Bring Me Some Water" performed well on radio and was nominated for a Grammy Award.At the time of the album's release, it was not generally known that Etheridge was a lesbian. While on the road promoting the album, she paused in Memphis, Tennessee, to be interviewed for the syndicated radio program Pulsebeat—Voice of the Heartland, explaining the intensity of her music by saying: "People think I'm really sad—or really angry. But my songs are written about the conflicts I have...I have no anger toward anyone else." She invited the radio syndication producer to attend her concert that night. He did and was surprised to find himself one of the few men in attendance.Etheridge's second album, Brave and Crazy, was released in 1989. Brave and Crazy followed the same musical formula as her eponymous debut; it also garnered a Grammy nomination. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard charts (equal to her first album). Etheridge then went on the road, like one of her musical influences, Bruce Springsteen, and built a loyal fan base.In 1992, Etheridge released her third album, Never Enough. Similar to her prior two albums, Never Enough didn't reach the top of the charts peaking at #21 but gave Etheridge her first Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for her single "Ain't It Heavy". Never Enough was considered a more personal and mature album from Etheridge at that time. With rumors circulating around her sexuality (Etheridge was not out yet at this point), the album seemed to inadvertently address these rumors.In 1992, Etheridge established a performing arts scholarship at Leavenworth High School in honor of her recently deceased father. According to Etheridge, her father purchased her first guitar and "would come with me to bars in the area when I played because I was underage".
1993–1995: Yes I Am
In January 1993, Etheridge came out publicly as a lesbian. On September 21, 1993, she released Yes I Am, which became her mainstream breakthrough album. Co-produced with Hugh Padgham, Yes I Am spent 138 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts and peaked at No. 15. It scored two mainstream hits: "Come to My Window" and her only Billboard Top 10 single, "I'm the Only One", which also hit #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Yes I Am earned a RIAA certification of 6× platinum.Etheridge earned her second Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for her single "Come to My Window", based on an unsettling scene in the Pavarotti film, "Yes, Giorgio". She also garnered two additional nominations in the Best Rock Song category for "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window", losing to Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia".In 1993, Etheridge boycotted playing shows in Colorado over its passage of Amendment 2.Also in 1994, she was honored by VH-1 for her work with the AIDS organization L.A. Shanti. During the televised occasion, she highlighted the appearance with a performance of "I'm the Only One" and a duet with Sammy Hagar covering The Rolling Stones' song, "Honky Tonk Woman."The album's fifth single, "If I Wanted To", debuted in February 1995 on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 25, the highest debut for a single in 1995.
The success of Yes I Am helped increase sales of Etheridge's earlier albums. In 1995, Melissa Etheridge earned a RIAA certification of 2× platinum, while Never Enough earn.... Discover the Kristen Ethridge popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Kristen Ethridge books.