Singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge took time from her busy touring schedule to give rockbandreviews an exclusive interview in advance of her performance slated for November 28th at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. Here is the interview in it's entirety...
Q: As a kid, did you know that you wanted to be an entertainer?
A: I did. I grew up in the sixties and I was surrounded by the music of the Beatles, watched Ed Sullivan. I didn't have anyone musical in my family, but I had some crazy dream that I could do it.
Q: You mentioned the Beatles. Who were some of the artists you listened to at that time that may have helped to shape your musical style?
A: The bands that really thrilled me were the rock n' roll artists. Everyone from Elvis Presley to Janis Joplin, to the writers... Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon. Any music that has some good, honest, truthful soul in it, I love!
Q: If you were not as successful as you are, being a singer/songwriter, what do you think you might be doing to earn a living otherwise?
A: My father was a teacher, so I think that is something that I would like to do.
Q: It is exciting to announce that you have a new album titled "This Is ME" , which is a great play on words because ME could simply mean "Me", or it could stand for Melissa Etheridge, which is really cool I think. What can you tell me about the music on this album?
A: The Music is... "Alive". The music is a gathering of all of the influences in my life. Because this album is my first independent album, I am in complete control of it. I really went out and gathered some musicians and producers from all over the musical spectrum. The end result can be heard on the album.
Q: You just mentioned that this album is your first "Independent" album. How terrifying was it to leave the comfort of your record label, producers, and management to go on your own?
A: It was completely terrifying! That was when I knew I was doing the right thing. I have to get out of my comfort zone every now and then. I felt that my music, my career had flatlined and I did not want that, so I had to take it up a notch and I love what I have achieved.
Q: The best thing, I gather, is that you now own all of the rights to everything you do from this point on?
A: Yes... That is the up-side to making my own music.
Q: As a cancer survivor, you are an advocate for the legalization of Medial Marijuana, as it was a great treatment factor for you in your recovery. Our state of Florida votes in November, so we are hoping that it passes here (Unfortunately, it did not. Florida voters did not reach the required 60% majority of votes to win the ballot to legalize Medical Marijuana, but did win the overall vote). Tell us about your cannibus-infused wine that you are producing.
A: A few years ago, I came up with the idea for the wine. It has so much potential for growth. The benefits that could come from a product like this... I sure hope that Florida passes because it is a state that could surely benefit from Medical Marijuana. Especially with the large senior-citizen population. This could help with so many ailments that the elderly suffer with on a daily basis. At the end of the day, I believe it is a personal, warranted choice.
My wine is unlike any other wine out there. There are wines out there that pour a mixture of cannibus in the wine, while others put a few leaves in. My wine is infused with the finest herb and you get the full effect and the medicine that cannibus has to offer.
Q: I am sure that your average senior-citizen doesn't really want to light up in public, but this way, they can be with friends, go to dinner, and enjoy a great tasting wine while gleaning the benefits.
A: (Happily answering) And no one will know any better.
Q: You could actually take it a step further by marketing Viagra-infused wine. After dinner, a man could order dessert and a glass of wine and by the time he gets home... He is ready to go.
A: (Laughing wildly) I will have to think about that.
Q: One final question. With all of the experience you have gathered throughout your experience, what advice do you have for those looking to do what you do?
A: I would say... Know that music is in your soul and that there is no limit to it. Do it because you love and not for any other reason. If you have the drive and the desire, you will have the success that you want.
For more information about Melissa Etheridge and her up-coming concert dates, log on to her website at: www.melissaetheridge.com
Many thanks go out to Emily Clay for making this interview possible.