Catching Up with Melissa Etheridge
By Dustin Fitzharris
Melissa Etheridge is eating a scrambled egg sandwich as we talk and politely says, 'Hold on, honey, I have to chew.' It's cute to hear this tough rocker chick be so formal. Her voice is sweet, but it does have her trademark edge. Still, it's nothing compared to the aggressiveness she uses to drive home her lyrics on her tenth album, Fearless Love.
And love is what has put Etheridge back in the headlines recently. A few weeks ago she announced she and her partner of nearly nine years, Tammy Lynn Michaels, have separated. When Out talked with Etheridge last month about her album, she told us she was still searching for happiness and has finally realized she can only find it in herself. This revealing answer prompted us to ask if the rumors that her relationship was in troubled were true. She responded, 'Well, I will have to answer right now that I can't comment on that. Yeah. I'm sorry.'
Out reached out to Etheridge's publicist for a follow-up comment, and we were given the statement Etheridge continues to give to all media, 'We ask for consideration and respect for our family as we go through this difficult period.'
But in this turbulent time, it's an opportunity for Etheridge, Oscar and two-time Grammy winner, to pick up the pieces and live by the lyrics in Fearless Love that declare "I need a fearless love, I won't settle for anything less." Although she remained quiet on her love life, she wasn't hesitant to tell us how she feels about Sarah Palin, Adam Lambert, and fame.
Out: The last time we talked you said, 'I'm falling back in love with rock 'n' roll," adding, "People are aching for rock 'n' roll again. We got poppy. We got sugar with Britney and the boy bands, now we're ready to rock.' How and why did you fall back in love with rock again?
Melissa Etheridge: Because rock 'n' roll is a spirit. It's a spirit that can be in any kind of music and you know when you see it, and you know when you feel it. It's the spirit of rebellion and nonconformity. I just feel that we're all about to wake up and go, 'What are we doing playing that game?' I think music inspires that in people.
But did you ever really leave rock 'n' roll?
Maybe I'm feeling it more fully. Maybe I'm embodying it and doing it fearlessly.
Is there another album in your career that you can compare this one to?
I wonder. It's so big. It would be more like Yes I Am or the first album.
What is fearless love?
It's a place inside yourself where you understand that any other choice you have at any time in your love other than love only brings you down and takes you back. I'm going to love myself enough that every choice I make is going to come from that, which can be full of fear in our society because there is that conformity thing again. It's such a huge thing where you have to be like this. You have to be like that. You have to sound like this or you're not cool.
"I am what I am afraid of' is a line in 'Fearless Love.' What are you afraid of?
If I had chosen [to say], 'I'm just not going to talk about my sexuality' because I was afraid to speak my truth, then I become a person who is afraid. What you resist persists. You see it all the time.