In 2002, Melissa Etheridge released her autobiography called The Truth is: My Life in Love and Music. The singer announced in 2004 that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. But early detection allowed for recovery, and she gave hope to those afflicted with the disease when she delivered a powerful performance at the 47th Annual Grammys. Etheridge sang Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Hart.” That September she released Greatest Hits: The Road Less Traveled, a compilation of career highlights and new material. Her Greatest Hits album featured a cover of Tom Petty’s “Refugee” as well as “Piece of My Heart.” The musician also dedicated a song to breast cancer survivors. In 2007, Etheridge released The Awakening, her first studio album of new material in three years. She followed that album up with a holiday record called A New Thought for Christmas in 2008.
Born May 29, 1961, in Leavenworth, Kansas, Etheridge first picked up the guitar at the age of eight and started writing her own songs shortly thereafter. Get Melissa Etheridge tickets and see her perform her greatest hits live. After playing with local bands throughout her teens, the musician attended the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. The up-and-coming singer/songwriter and guitarist dropped out of college and headed to Los Angeles in the early ’80s to pursue a career in music. Etheridge’s music at this point was more bluesy than her renowned folk-pop style. The artist’s music caught the attention of Bill Leopold, who signed on as Etheridge’s manager. Soon after, steady gigs began coming her way, including a five-night-a-week residency at the Executive Suite in Long Beach. It was here that five major record labels fought to sign the talented musician (Capital, EMI, Warner Brothers, A&M, and Island Records). Etheridge decided to go with Island.
The singer’s self-titled debut was issued in 1998. That album quickly drew comparisons to such heavyweights as Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. “Bring Me Some Water” emerged as a single hit from that album and earned gold certification. Etheridge performed at the Grammy Awards the following year and contributed vocals to Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence.” The singer’s second album, Brave and Crazy, also earned a gold certification. It would be nearly three years before Etheridge’s next studio album appeared, and in 1992, the guitarist released Never Enough, which was an album that proved to be more musically varied. But it was Etheridge’s fourth release album, Yes I AM, that would prove to be her massive commercial breakthrough.
The singer was tired of questions regarding her sexuality, so she decided to put the speculation to rest once and for all with Yes I Am. That album spawned two major MTV/radio hits with “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One” (the former featured a video with movie actress Juliette Lewis). Yes I Am sold a whopping six million copies in the U.S. in one year and earned a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocalist. Although 1995’s Your Little Secret, 1999’s Breakdown and 2001’s Skin were not nearly as successful as Yes I Am, Etheridge solidified herself as one of the most popular recording artists of the ’90s due to her mixture of confessional lyrics, and raspy, pop-based folk-rock vocals.
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