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.
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