Very Personal Greatest Hits

Public expressions of a life and love that is Melissa Etheridge’s private sphere

“It’s about a searching and a longing,” she said. “I’m not home yet but I’m going to be there.”

Etheridge has been open about her lesbianism since the beginning of her career, and her private life, her children, and 12-year relationship with Julie Cypher became very much part of the public domain. When the two split up, Etheridge’s album “Skin” served as a billboard expression of her private grief. It was heartening, then, to see her find love with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels in 2001. The album “Lucky” came out of that love, and the happiness in her life was reflected in her music.

On her new album, Etheridge reaches out to Michaels with the song “This is Not Goodbye.”

She wrote it while recuperating from chemotherapy for breast cancer. Etheridge said she wanted to write a song to let Michaels know that no matter how far away she would go, she’d always come back. “This is Not Goodbye” speaks to the pain of loss, and the power of hope. Etheridge channels this again in the album’s final song, “I Run for Life,” which she wrote as both an anthem of her own fight against breast cancer and a song of hope and awareness for other women’s struggles.

“I run for your mother, your sister, your wife, I run for you and me my friend, I run for life,” she sings.

This song is sure to be embraced by the millions of people impacted by breast cancer.

After nearly two decades in the public eye, Etheridge is still one of the most genuine, down-to-earth celebrities we have, sharing her experiences and pain so that we can grow with her. She has weathered a changing political climate, the fight for gay marriage, and breast cancer, all with her head held high. Whether you follow her politics or her music, “The Road Less Traveled” is the perfect soundtrack for the trip.

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