Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge has been rocking the music industry for 25 years now and she has no plans of slowing down.
Embarking on another tour this spring and summer, Etheridge is doing it differently this time around. The “This Is ME Solo Tour” will be a more intimate experience, with just the singer on stage playing her hits, some previous album cuts and a couple of new songs from her soon-to-be-released album titled, “This Is Me.” The tour will make a stop at the Seneca Allegany Casino Events Center on Sunday, June 22 at 5pm as part of Seneca’s Summer Rush Concert Series. The singer played the same venue almost 3 years ago to a standing room only crowd.
Earning two Grammys, an Oscar, an American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) Songwriter of the Year Honor and the ASCAP Founders Award, Etheridge has made her mark as a singer and a songwriter.
Speaking with the singer by phone, we talked about the tour, the new album and her health. Etheridge is a survivor of breast cancer and offered insight on her health today and how she has figured it all out. We also lighten the conversation up by talking about the time she got to sing with her idol and the hilarious story of why a “take 2” was needed.
The one thing that was very evident during our conversation is that Etheridge is pumped about the tour and even more so about the new album. In her own words: “I’m just saying … here I come!”
A CONVERSATION WITH MELISSA
HULICK: You’re returning to Seneca Allegany Casino! You were here almost 3 years ago, and the show was incredible.
ETHERIDGE: Thank you! Yes! I’m looking forward to it!
HULICK: This time around the show is going to be a little different.
ETHERIDGE: Yes, it’s a solo show. It’s just me on stage, but there’s a lot happening because I play a lot of different things and I use some technology to create loops and create more layers of music. It’s one of my favorite shows I’ve done and it’s been quite successful.
HULICK: You’ve been cancer free for 10 years now.
ETHERIDGE: 10 years!!! (we both shout) Yea!!!!
HULICK: Are you still feeling good … everything’s good?
ETHERIDGE: I’m healthier than ever. I have figured this out … health equals what I eat and the amount of stress I have in my life. If I can keep those things in the healthy boundaries, we’re good.
HULICK: You have a new album coming out soon titled, “This Is Me.”
ETHERIDGE: Yes! I’m very excited about this. It’s my first album that I have not been with a major record label. I’ve been with Island Records for 25 years and I decided to go independently this year. It’s a big jump, but it’s really possible nowadays. I’m going to own my own record!
HULICK: That’s exciting! What I’ve read about the album so far is that the critics are giving it a thumbs-up.
ETHERIDGE: I really hope I don’t let them down. It’s like I took the momentum of the past 25 years of albums that I’ve made and taken everything I’ve learned, and taken everything I’ve learned on the stage, and packed it into this one album. I’m really excited about it.
HULICK: Do you know what the first single is going to be?
ETHERIDGE: It’s called “Take My Number,” and I decided that this morning in fact.
HULICK: You’ve had quite a year so far Melissa. Honestly! You were a special guest with the Women of Soul in Performance at the White House.
ETHERIDGE: Isn’t that cool?
HULICK: It’s awesome! You shared the stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and Jill Scott to name just a few.
ETHERIDGE: I was so honored to be on stage with those women and to be considered a Woman of Soul … it just brings me such happiness.
HULICK: You and your family got to meet the Dalai Lama this year as well.
ETHERIDGE: Oh my gosh … I know … it’s crazy!
HULICK: It’s insane Melissa! It’s only coming up on June and look at your year so far! (laughs)
ETHERIDGE: (laughs) I know! Oh Lord! That was really something. To meet someone who practices love and peace every moment … that’s a pretty amazing vibration to be around.
HULICK: When we spoke three years ago you told me about your idol, Bruce Springsteen, and how you got a chance to perform with him and what happened. I did watch the video on YouTube and it is funny. Could you tell our Summer Local readers the story?
ETHRIDGE: (laughs) Well I was doing MTV Unplugged and they asked me if I wanted to sing with anyone and I said I really wanted to sing with Bruce Springsteen. I’ll be damned he said yes! It just blew my mind! It was like a dream coming true. I was going to sing “Thunder Road” anyways as a tribute to my inspiration [Springsteen]. So we worked on the song and I said, “Let me sing ‘so Mary climb in’ … the last line of the last verse.” I just want to sing that last line. So we got through the whole song and we got to that line and I’m just staring at him thinking, “This is the coolest thing ever” … and I blow my line! I didn’t come in! Now he’s just looking at me and I’m just thinking, “Great! I just did that in front of the entire audience.” So we had to do the song again. So we do it one more time and if you watch the video on YouTube you’ll see that I just barely come in because I’m staring at him again! He looks at me and backs up and the camera catches him, and when I finally sing the line he bends down and smiles and laughs. You can see him laughing because I almost blew it again! (laughs)
HULICK: (laughs) I love that story! Can you describe for me your perfect day? If you could do anything you wanted what would your day be like and who would it be spent with?
ETHERIDGE: Oh gosh … that is so difficult. I have many different versions of the perfect day. Let’s see … my perfect day would be spent with my beloved Linda (Wallem), most definitely … and probably my whole family … it depends on how they are acting that day. (laughs) It would be a day just spending time in my house. I love my house. I’m on the road so much that my idea of a vacation is being in my house. So it would be here at my house with my family doing whatever we like.
HULICK: What’s the best thing about being Melissa Etheridge?
ETHERIDGE: (laughs) Wow … another tough one. The best thing about being Melissa Etheridge is that I don’t have anything to hide.