Melissa Etheridge is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist from Kansas who is known for, among many others, songs like “Come to my Window” and “I’m the Only One.” She boasts a 14-album career with five platinum releases and will unleash her vocal power at the Wellmont in Montclair on Nov. 25 for a Christmas concert.
The tour is “Merry Christmas Baby,” and while not quite traditional nor filled with “religiosity,” there will be some seasonal music sprinkled in.
When asked what she grew up listening to, Etheridge harkened back to a time when kids listened to the radio. Back in the ’60s she listened to WHB radio, that played anything from Tammy Wynette to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin. Later, KY102 took her through the Allman Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Armatrading and more.
Etheridge always knew she wanted to be a musician. She said early on it was a crazy dream that no one understood.
Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up” won best original song for Al Gore’s, “An Inconvenient Truth,” a 2006 documentary about global warming.
This was right around a time in her life when she faced some personal challenges including a breast cancer diagnosis.
“The same way I look at my own challenges I look at our national challenges,” said the singer. “The people will rise up and say never again.”
She stressed the importance of looking at the foundational rules on which we as a society share the planet.
Referring still to “An Inconvenient Truth,” Etheridge added, “I think the state of the Earth was one symptom of us as a human race realizing our challenge is to find a way to exist… and to get over the belief that it’s us and them.”
Asked about comments she made on Reddit a few years back about “women on the music front” Etheridge reiterated her positive opinion about Miley Cyrus, for example, saying, “She’s incredibly talented, her voice and her love of music…” Among others Etheridge mentioned were Katy Perry and Taylor Swift as great current artists.
While Etheridge has been by and large, a solo artist, in recent years she has collaborated with several musicians and producers. She is currently working on a new album, however, that is not a collaboration.
“This last album I just started now is a total Melissa Etheridge project that’s just me, and it’s all me,” she explained.
She wasn’t quite sure what the new album will be entitled but said she has been using the hashtag “woke,” a word she feels fond of.
When asked what makes her most proud and happy Etheridge responded, “I have four gorgeous children. My family is pretty much the foundation of my life.”
Referring to her wife, Linda Wallen, she added, “I am very grateful that I came to the point that I realized that is the kind of love and relationship I want to be in….”
Adding to the core of her joy, Etheridge said she is also grateful to still be playing music in her 50s.
Inviting fans to the show, she said it was a holiday show and much more.
“Just really looking forward to coming to New Jersey… We are definitely going to rock all night long!”