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Melissa Etheridge stormed onto the American rock scene in 1988 with the release of her critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, which led to an appearance on the 1989 Grammy Awards show. For several years, her popularity grew around such memorable classics as “Bring Me Some Water,” “No Souvenirs,” and “Ain’t It Heavy,” for which she won a Grammy® in 1992. Etheridge hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am (1993). The collection featured the massive hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought Etheridge her second Grammy® Award for Best Female Rock Performance. In 1995, Etheridge issued her highest-charting album, Your Little Secret, which was distinguished by the hit single “I Want to Come Over.” Her astounding success that year led to Etheridge receiving the Songwriter of the Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards in 1996.
Known for her confessional lyrics and raspy, smoky vocals, Etheridge has remained one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters for more than two decades. In February 2007, Melissa Etheridge celebrated a career milestone with a victory in the “Best Song” category at the Academy® Awards for “I Need to Wake Up,” written for the Al Gore documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. As a performer and songwriter, Etheridge has shown herself to be an artist who has never allowed “inconvenient truths” to keep her down. Earlier in her recording career, Etheridge acknowledged her sexual orientation when it was considered less than prudent to do so. In October 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer, a health battle that, with her typical tenacity, she won. Despite losing her hair from chemotherapy, Etheridge appeared on the 2005 Grammy® telecast to sing “Piece of My Heart” in tribute to Janis Joplin. By doing so, she gave hope to many women afflicted with the disease.
In 2016, Melissa Etheridge released Memphis Rock & Soul, her first album since 2014’s critically lauded This Is M.E., recorded at Royal Studios in Memphis. The album received stellar reviews from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Parade, Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, and more. She followed that up with the release of The Medicine Show in April 2019. For The Medicine Show, Melissa reunited with celebrated producer John Shanks and sounds as rousing as ever, bringing a new level of artistry to her 15th studio recording. The Medicine Show deals with universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion, and, most profoundly, healing.
In 2020, Etheridge successfully launched her own live-streaming subscription and single-ticket concert platform, Etheridge TVand in 2021, Melissa released a new album called One Way Out. The 9-track album is a collection of songs Etheridge wrote in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
October 2022 saw Melissa’s return to the theatre with her one-woman show, My Window – A Journey Through Life. The critically acclaimed, sold-out run premiered at New World Stages and is coming to Broadway next month.
Rick French is chairman and chief executive officer of French/West/Vaughan (FWV), a public relations, public affairs, advertising, and digital media agency with offices in Raleigh, New York City, Boston, Detroit, Tampa, and L.A. FWV is a 30x National Agency of the Year recipient that was also named the 2022, 2019 and 2017 Global PR Agency of the Year by a selection committee representing some of the world’s leading media outlets. Three times Rick has been named one of the “World’s 300 Most Influential Communicators” and he is an inductee of the prestigious NC Media & Journalism Hall of Fame.
In addition to chairing the board of directors of the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation, Rick is a longtime member of the board of trustees of the internationally-renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland, Ohio; and he serves on the board of directors and leads the national advisory council of Teen Cancer America. He is also a member of the board of advisors of the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association.
His film and television production company, Prix Productions, recently produced the survival drama NOT WITHOUT HOPE starring Zachary Levi and Josh Duhamel, which will be in theatres in 2024; and he and Dwayne Johnson are producing the documentary FOUR DOWN in partnership with Oscar-nominated director Steven Cantor. He is executive producer of a documentary on the late 1950s rocker Eddie Cochran, which is currently in production; and his much-anticipated feature film, CLEAR LAKE, about the early days of rock ‘n’ roll and the untimely death of Buddy Holly, will begin filming later this year.
Rick is also co-owner of the Daytona Tortugas, a minor affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds. He holds private equity stakes in three NBA franchises.