Two hot summer nights are coming up, and we’re not just talking about the weather. On the last two days of this month, iconic singer-songwriter and musician Melissa Etheridge will join the San Francisco Symphony for a pair of unforgettable performances. Some entertainers give 100 percent. Etheridge gives even more than that. Like a sexy lover, she leaves you very satisfied, but forever craving the ephemeral high of the experience.
The SF Bay Times is proud to be a media sponsor of the performances, which will include classic hits like “Come to My Window” and “I’m the Only One,” alongside new songs from her latest studio album. The album is set for release on September 30.
Recorded in New York and Los Angeles, the album features 11 new songs all written or co-written by Melissa Etheridge with writers such as Jon Levine (Andy Grammer), Jerrod Bettis (Birdy, Adele), Jerry Wonda and Roccstar. It includes tracks produced by Levine, Bettis and Mark Batson (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals).
“I am excited to be putting out an album that is exactly what I want it to be,” Etheridge says. “I had some amazing collaborators who really helped craft songs and an album that is truly representative of where I am in my life at this moment.”
The breast cancer survivor is definitely in a good place now, we found out after she recently granted an exclusive interview with the SF Bay Times while she was on a well-deserved vacation. On May 31, two days after her 53rd birthday, she married Linda Wallem, who shares Etheridge’s birthday. All four of Etheridge’s children, aged 17–7, participated in the nuptials.
The sync between the two women extends to show biz, as Wallem is a well-known producer who has helped to create popular shows such as Nurse Jackie, Cybill, That 70’s Show, and The Comeback. She is currently developing a Broadway show with Etheridge, who is writing new songs for it. Etheridge says Wallem was her “best friend for nine years” before the relationship evolved and the two tied the knot.
As for Etheridge’s bio, well, how much time have you got? Her recording career began with the 1988 release of her critically acclaimed eponymous RIAA double-platinum debut album. For several years, Etheridge’s popularity built around such memorable songs as “Bring Me Some Water” (from her debut), “No Souvenirs” (from Brave And Crazy) and “Ain’t It Heavy” (from Never Enough), for which she won her first Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal.
She hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am, featuring the massive and aforementioned hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought her second Best Female Rock Grammy. The album went six times platinum and spent more than two and a half years on the album chart.
Her highest charting album to date, Your Little Secret (#6 on the Billboard Top 200), included the hit single, “I Want to Come Over.” Her astounding success led Etheridge to receive the Songwriter of the Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards. She has also been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Her latest single, just released last month and available on iTunes, is “Take My Number.” The song was co-written by Etheridge and Jerrod Bettis and produced by Bettis and Jon Levine. We couldn’t resist opening up our interview with Etheridge with a question about the new song’s thought-provoking lyrics.
SF Bay Times: We love your new song! It includes the lines, “What did we ever know at 23?” “Everybody’s got a fire that’s always going to burn…” For those of us who are over 23, what advice do you have for keeping that fire alive while still benefitting from past learned lessons?
Melissa Etheridge: One thing I have learned in my years is you better do what you love and love what you do. Stress is the first thing that will kill you. This is your life, no one else’s. Find your dream and go get it!
SF Bay Times: We are really looking forward to your upcoming performance in San Francisco. What are some of your favorite things to do, places to go in San Francisco?
Melissa Etheridge: San Fran has some of the finest restaurants in the world and I love going out to eat there whenever I can. And then there’s nothing like the gorgeous views; it’s a very romantic city.
SF Bay Times: What’s it like to perform backed by a symphony?! Any thoughts about your upcoming performance with the San Francisco Symphony?
Melissa Etheridge: Performing with the symphony is like singing with a gorgeous wave behind you. The musicians are so talented and focused. The music just soars and I just ride it all the way.
SF Bay Times: Congratulations on your wedding! We read that you sang a new song for Linda during the ceremony. Will that song be on your new album? Can you share any information about it?
Melissa Etheridge: The song “Who Are You Waiting For” is the song I wrote and sang to Linda during our wedding ceremony. She had never heard it until that moment. I had never had the experience of singing and looking directly into someone’s eyes. I will never forget it, or the immense love I felt. Yes, it is on the new album.
SF Bay Times: We have come so far with LGBT rights over the past several years, but what political issues affecting our community do you think still need our attention?
Melissa Etheridge: I think the biggest issues facing the LBGT community are the ones we have with ourselves. Understanding the transgender community, reaching across all racial and economic boundaries to understand our own diversity…that will make us stronger.
SF Bay Times: Anything else that you’d like our readers to know?
Melissa Etheridge: I’m looking forward to performing with the symphony. What a thrill. San Fran, I love you!
“Melissa Etheridge with the San Francisco Symphony” happens Wednesday, July 30, and Thursday, July 31, at Davies Symphony Hall. For tickets and additional information, please visit www.sfsymphony.org/Buy-Tickets/2013-2014/SATS-Melissa-Etheridge-and-the-SFS.aspx