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Melissa Etheridge          

Grammy Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter, LGBTQ+ Activist & Breast Cancer Survivor

Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, LGBTQ+ activist and breast cancer survivor. Etheridge, who came out as lesbian in 1993, is known for having a raspy voice and confessional lyrics in her folk-rock music.

Her self-titled debut album "Melissa Etheridge" was released in 1988 and became an underground success. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single, "Bring Me Some Water", garnered Etheridge her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female. In 1993, Etheridge won her first Grammy award for her single "Ain't It Heavy" from her third album, "Never Enough."

Later that year, she released what would become her mainstream breakthrough album, "Yes I Am." Its tracks "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window" both reached the top 30 in the United States, and the latter earned Etheridge her second Grammy award. "Yes I Am" peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, and spent 138 weeks on the chart, earning a RIAA certification of 6× Platinum.

In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she made a return to the stage and, while bald from chemotherapy, performed a tribute to Janis Joplin with the song "Piece of My Heart". Etheridge's performance, which was widely lauded, inspired India.Arie to write "I Am Not My Hair.”

Etheridge has advocated for cannabis legalization (with common-sense regulations in place), due to her experiences using it while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

In 2011, Etheridge received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2019, Etheridge released her fourteenth studio album, The Medicine Show. The first single from that album was "Faded by Design."

In May of 2020, Etheridge announced that her son Beckett had tragically died at the young age of 21 from causes related to his opioid addiction.

Speech Topics

The Creative Process

Personal Battle with Breast Cancer

Diversity & LGBT Issues

Women's Empowerment


Melissa Etheridge Shares How Music Helped Her Cope with Son's ...
"There's something about singing, something about opening the soul, it's got me through everything," the Grammy Award-winning singer told Good Morning ...
Melissa Etheridge says son Beckett Cypher, 21, dead from opioid ...
Beckett Cypher, Melissa Etheridge's son with her former partner Julie Cypher, has died at 21 after battling an addiction to opioids, the singer said.
Opinion: Melissa Etheridge: Pot got me through -
Melissa Etheridge says medical marijuana saved her from the excruciating side effects of chemo. She says let's make it legal, with common-sense controls.
Melissa Etheridge to Marry After Gay-Marriage Rulings | Music News ...
Melissa Etheridgeplans to marry her girlfriend followingyesterday's Supreme Court rulingsthat struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared a pa.

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