Monday, June 20, 2016

Melissa Etheridge brings heart and soul to Cain Park

Photo by Paul Castro
By choosing one of her own songs for her wedding vows, Melissa Etheridge paid tribute to the two most important things in her life – family and music.

When Etheridge married partner, Linda Wallem, in 2014, she sang the heartfelt “Who Are You Waiting For” as part of the couple’s intimate outdoor ceremony held in Montecito, California. “She knew I would be singing something, but she had never heard the song until the wedding,” says 54-year-old Etheridge. “It was about getting through my last relationship and truly finding the love of my life.”

Etheridge, the Grammy and Academy award winner who visits Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater June 24, talks with us about her latest album, her LGBT activism and her approach to wellness.

Q: Your 2014 album This is M.E. is the first record you’ve put out on your own MLE Music label. How did the process change from your previous albums?
It was an interesting decision. My record company [Island] was happy to have me on the label, but I said thank you very much and did my own record [company], which I now own. The biggest difference was that it allowed me to work with more producers ... people like Jerry Wonda [Fugees] and Jon Levine [Selena Gomez]. I’m so very critical of myself, and the beautiful thing is they helped me not to edit myself.

Q: You have been at the forefront of the LGBT movement. How have things changed for members of the LGBT community in the past few years?
My song “Monster” is about one of my favorite things – self-empowerment. It’s about not being afraid of your own differences. One of the great institutions of our land, the U.S. Supreme Court, said, Yeah, this is about equality. Once you get to that point, the burden is on those who want to limit those rights.

Q: You are a breast cancer survivor. How did that experience change your life?
I am cancer-free for 12 years now. I think people are finally realizing that you can’t do whatever you want with your body and just take a pill when you get sick. We need to find out about what makes our bodies strong and what breaks them down. Even something like drinking water instead of soda can make a difference.

By Barry Goodrich

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