Melissa Etheridge, the iconic lesbian musician, released “One Way Out” in late May, which is the first single off her upcoming album of the same name, set to be released on September 17, 2021. The album is a collection of music written by Melissa in the late 80s and early 90s, which never made the cut.
k.d. lang and Melissa Etheridge, who came out as lesbian around the same time – k.d. in 1992 and Melissa in 1993 – reached peak gay harmony in their performance of Melissa’s “You Can Sleep” in 1994. Long before Madonna and Britney startled audiences with a smooch on stage in 2003, actual lesbians, k.d. and Melissa, finished their electrifying, goosebump-inducing performance for The Beat Goes On with one of their own.
The Time is Right
This bold stand against widespread homophobia came after years in the closet. One of the reasons some songs that made it to the retrospective 2021 album weren’t right for the time or albums Melissa was creating in the late 80s was because she wasn’t out yet. She didn’t feel comfortable releasing them while still in the closet. She came out on her own terms and had k.d.’s support, inspiration, and understanding.
New breath was put into the old tracks when Melissa met up with her old bandmates almost a decade ago. “In 2013, the singer found herself back at Henson Studios in Los Angeles with her original band (Fritz Lewak, John Shanks, Kevin McCormick) and [gave] these songs a new life,” according to ThatEricAlper.com.
The songs were set aside when Melissa began working on new material but, in 2020, she rediscovered them while finding material for EtheridgeTV’s Friday Night Time Machine show. Friday Night Time Machine is a platform where “Melissa hosts her own live-u-mentary. She shares videos of her performances from the early days in the bars to big arenas all over the world, behind the scenes footage and her own homemade photo montage videos narrating her career and going through never before seen archives from past to present,” via paid subscription.
What tracks can we look forward to listening to on Melissa Etheridge’s One Way Out retrospective box set? Besides the first track with the same name, there is also “As Cool As You Try,” “I’m No Angel Myself,” “For The Last Time,” “Save Myself,” “That Would Be Me,” “Wild Wild Wild,” “You Have No Idea (Live),” and “Life Goes On (Live).” Melissa is also touring the U.S. during the second half of 2021, with future concert dates ranging from August 7th to November 10th.
Motherhood and Tragedy
Melissa has had a rough time over the last couple of years, beyond the pandemic. On May 13th, 2020, Melissa announced that her son, Beckett Cypher, passed away from complications surrounding his opioid addiction. “Today I joined the hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction,” Melissa posted on Twitter. “My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today. He will be missed by those who loved him, his family, and friends. My heart is broken. I am grateful for those who have reached out with condolences and I feel their love and sincere grief. We struggle with what else we could have done to save him, and in the end we know he is out of the pain now. I will sing again, soon. It has always healed me.”
Beckett was one of two children Melissa and her former partner, Julie Cypher, shared together. Melissa and Julie also had a daughter, Bailey, who was born in 1997. Both were conceived using artificial insemination and a sperm donation from singer David Crosby. The couple separated in 2000. Melissa then went on to have a set of twins, Miller and Johnnie Rose, with Tammy Lynn Michaels in 2006, through artificial insemination and an anonymous sperm donor.
Melissa and Tammy bought out the rest of the donor’s sperm to avoid the twins having more half-siblings than what already existed. “I think they have four half-siblings we don’t know anything about,” Melissa said to Parents.com. “But they gave me the opportunity to buy the rest of [the sperm donor] out. I was financially able to do that so that they wouldn’t have 20-30 half-siblings. So he’s off the market now. There are no more half-siblings. To me, it was a protection. We take this fearful sort of stance that they’re going to want something from you.”
After the tragedy surrounding Beckett’s death, Melissa is making a comeback. She engages with her supporters by actively displaying what she’s up to on social media. Her instagram features footage of past and present concerts, interviews, and home performances, as well as posting her political views, tour announcements, and photo shoots. After the death of her son, Melissa’s making a huge comeback. Lesbians are here for the release of these woman-loving tracks she’s been sitting on for 30 years!