14 AUGUST 2, 2002
www.houston voice.com HOUSTON VOICE
dut on the bayou
New Etheridge album due out next year
MELISSA, from Page 13
years into the parenting experience, she
says it's difficult for her to gauge the
progress gay moms and dads are making.
"It's hard to say because, yes. I'm a gay
parent, but I'm also a famous gay parent, and
famous just outdoes everything," Etheridge
explains. "I'm really not the one to talk about
like the real issues of gay parenting because
I get the first table or whatever.. .[because
I'm famous], I'm always the first in line."
She does recognize the influence she
can have as a famous lesbian, and that's
fine by her. "It's a responsibility, and I'll
take it," she says.
As a parent — as in seemingly all aspects
of her life — Etheridge focuses on being open.
"The best thing I can ever do for the
kids is be completely 100 percent honest
with them and explain everything to
them," she adds. "[I] explain that, yes it is
unusual to have two moms...it's special,
but they know others that do. You just are
honest with them about the world.
"You just give them the information so
that they're never surprised by anything."
Sure to be reflected in the next album
is the singer's happiness as inspired by
the love in her life, Michaels, 27, who
played character Nicole Julian on television's WB series, "Popular."
The pair met early last year, and Etheridge
says Michaels still can be surprised by the
singer's characteristic frankness. In an interview for August's Out magazine, Etheridge
reveled that she and Michaels had a platonic
first date, but soon got physical.
"Yeah, Tammy came home a couple days
ago and went, 'You told everyone we slept
together on the second date!'" Etheridge
says. "I went, 'I did? [gasp] Oh I did. Oops.'
"She's holding it over my head for a long
time," she says with a laugh. "She's gonna
get a lot out of that one. That's all right."
Out and open
SINCE COMING OUT NEARLY A DECADE
ago — and later confronting persistent specu
lation about the biological father of her children, and intense scrutiny over the breakup
with Cypher — Etheridge draws almost no
lines between her public and personal lives.
"Nothing's off limits," she says. "I do
limit what I will offer up about the children.
I will talk about my experiences with them,
but they live their own life and I'm trying to
keep as much of that in private as I can.
That's probably where I'm most guarded."
Open, honest and raw in the emotions
she expresses via her music, Etheridge is
similarly forthcoming about her own life.
"It seems crazy, but there's only so much
that the public really does want to know, and
if you give them the basics they'll leave you
.alone," she explains. "I'm from the Midwest.
That sort of sensibility was in me. I've
found that when I was up-front and honest
that was when I was the most successful,
and I was rewarded, and it was easier.
"It's a lot less energy to be up-front.
I've been rewarded for it," she adds.
Laughing, Etheridge notes, "I have been
asked everything — everything."
Not surprisingly, the most-asked question of Etheridge is, "How do you write a
song?" She says if there was a sure-fire
formula for the art, she'd pass it along.
"How do you write a song? Everyone
wants to know," she says. "It starts with
inspiration. That's what's always different. It can be some words, it can be a
musical phrase, it can be an inspiration of
a subject, of a person, of anything.
"You have to start with that and then
you go, what's next? Lyrics? Music? It's
Beyond this fall's new DVD and next
year's new set of tunes, Etheridge has no
concrete plans, but would like to branch
out as an artist.
"I would like to [do] some other things,
outside of music," she muses. "I would like to
try other mediums. I would like to be able to
still be making my music and making songs
that people want to hear and make their own.
"I think that's the most important — I
want to keep doing that."
fP For info
Melissa Etheridge in concert
7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 • Tickets: $83
Smirnoff Music Center * 1818 First Ave
Dallas, Texas 75210 -214-421-1111
7:30 pm. Saturday, Aug. 10 • Tickets: $41 and up
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
2005 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77380 • 281-363-3300
7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 * Tickets: $59 and up
The Backyard • 13101W Hwy 71
Austin, Texas 78738 • 512-263-4146
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