In her new memoir, newly out Chely Wright reveals a moment in her life a decade ago when fellow country music singer John Rich took her aside and flat out asked her if the rumors that she was a lesbian were true. She writes: “[John] said, ‘You’re not gay are you?!’ I said, ‘No, John, I’m not.’
He said, ‘Good, thank God.’ And that began a spiral for me. I had a
meltdown shortly after that.”
“I would never pass judgment on any friend of mine. I feel awful that,
at this time in Chely’s life, my decade old comment — ‘Good, thank God’
— was taken the wrong way. I was clumsily trying to express my relief
that even a country boy like me had a one-in-a-million chance of having
a beer with a woman as talented and attractive as Chely. For years
after that conversation, Chely invited me to perform at charity events.
In all that time, I wish she would have said something directly to me
before the book’s publicity tour, especially since some of the comments
attributed to me in the book are not mine. But I am happy for her and
only wish her the best in her personal and professional life.”
Back in 2007, Rich was involved in a bit of controversy when he had the following to say about marriage equality: “I think if you legalize that, you’ve got to legalize some other things
that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you
tell an aunt that she can’t marry her nephew if they are really in love
and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can’t get married,
but something else that’s unnatural can happen?”
Wright has been making the media rounds and had an interesting thing to tell the LA Times about the intolerance she faces within her industry: "Historically, country music would rather an artist be a drunk — they
even encourage and endorse that one...They would
rather you were a drug addict than be gay. They will forgive you if you
beat your wife, lose your kids to state, get six divorces, make a sex
tape, get labeled as a tramp — any and all of it is better than being
Country singer Chely Wright brought her coming out story to the Today show this morning.
Said Wright: "Well, country music has never had a country music artist in its history acknowledge his or her homosexuality...country music was my dream...I knew that I needed to hide this to achieve my dreams. There had never been an openly gay country music artist. Country music is typically known to be conservative...it's widely known to be about God and country and family and for some reason people don't think that can co-exist with being a homosexual."
Wright also talks about how she almost shot herself because of having to hide who she was.
The editors of Modern Tonic — a free daily email that serves up eclectic pop-culture picks with a homo slant — present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. TODAYS FEATURED RELEASES:
It’s never easy to leave what you love behind — whether it’s a partner or a popular country group. But that’s what Martie Maguire and Emily Robison — two thirds of the Dixie Chicks — have gone and done. While lead singer Natalie Maines raises her children, Maguire and Robison have flown the coop for a side-project as steeped in folk-rock and upbeat pop as their fiddle-scratching roots. Their self-titled debut, Court Yard Hounds, works the confessional tropes of songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin to explore an unpleasant subject: Robison’s divorce. Gentle, finger-picked acoustic opener "Skyline" sets the stage with the plaintive question ‘What am I doing here in such a lonely place?’ But Court Yard Hounds, like the group that spawned them, don’t wallow in darkness. Maguire and Robison set sad tales to some of the most rollicking country-pop since Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning Taking the Long Way.
It’s been 10 years since Toni Braxton’s had a big commercial smash, and Pulse may put an end to the drought. She’s already had a minor hit on the R&B charts with the mid-tempo, piano-heavy "Yesterday." She’s been inspired by Alicia Keys on not only that song but also “Hands Tied” and "Wardrobe" and that’s quite all right. It isn’t often an established artist admits to being influenced by a younger one, with whom — according to Digital Spy — she hopes to duet in the near future. Elsewhere, Braxton lights up the club-burner "Make My Heart," pulls a Beyoncé with the galloping "Lookin’ At Me" and revs up a quiet storm with her trademark ballads, including the empowering "Woman." "Revive it," she sings on the sultry title track, and though you know it’s about holding on to love, it could just as easily be about this stage of her career.
The blogosphere’s a-twitter with country singer Chely Wright’s coming out in the latest People (news of which leaked early). Wright won a Top New Female Vocalist American Country Music award (1994), scored a Country chart Number One with "Single White Female" and had been romantically linked with Brad Paisley. Now she’s the first U.S. country star to burst through the closet door since kd lang in 1992. What’s on the other side of the closet for Wright? Only time will tell, but her memoir’s out today, Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer, along with a new album, Lifted Off the Ground. If you want juicy details about her life, spring for the book. Music lovers will get a more restrained, emotionally nuanced report from the resonant Lifted Off the Ground. "I’m waging war up in my head," she confesses on the soft-rock opener "Broken." The object of "Damn Liar" — a blistering Appalachian foot-stomper — could well be herself after years of hiding. And the finger-picked waltz "Like Me" underscores the tough decision at its center. "Who’s going to end up holding your hand," Wright asks, "a beautiful woman or a tall handsome man?" Thanks to our high-speed press, we all know the gender of her waltzing partner. We look forward to the day when all that matters is her rich, incisive music.
Apple recently bought, then shut down, popular music site Lala.com. Speculation suggests Apple will leverage the site's technology to create an iTunes cloud-based music service. But the music business may not be so happy about this.
The out singer/first-season Pop Idol winner/hottie Will Young releases Leave Right Now, a digital-only EP of eight past U.K. hit singles. The collection is led by the title track, this season’s American Idol exit song.
Broken Social Scene — the rotating Canadian collective that includes Feist, Emily Haines of Metric and others — releases their fourth and best batch of alt-rocking odes, Forgiveness Rock Record.
Husky-voiced San Diegan Greg Laswell — no stranger to soundtracks from Grey’s Anatomy to My Sister’s Keeper — releases Take A Bow, his fourth disc of brutally honest introspection.
Moby releases an EP of mixes of his single "Wait For Me" (the title track of his 2009 ambient album) in support of his forthcoming collection Wait For Me. Remixes! (out May 18), which features livelier versions of last year's album tracks.
Hurts — "Better Than Love" The first single from the Manchester duo’s forthcoming debut is a chilly Ultravox rip with a video straight from the head of Duran Duran. In other words: artsy, impenetrable and très stylish.
The Good Natured — "Your Body Is a Machine" With hair even more awe-inspiring than La Roux’s, U.K.’s The Good Natured (aka Sarah McIntosh) gets all Goth and glittery on this minor-key New Wave rave-up.
Operator Please — "Back and Forth" On this happy little tune, the Aussie popsters make like The Smiths fronted by Betty Boop. Vocalist Amandah Wilkinson leads her quintet on a nautical-themed stage, while girls in blue bathing suits perform synchronized-swimming moves out of water.
Sub Focus — "Splash" (feat. Coco) The spawn of Sting — Coco Sumner — guests on this twitchy tune from drums’n’bass producer Sub Focus (aka Nick Douwma). The clip’s basically a performance in front of a Union Jack, but Coco’s got Daddy’s chops circa Ghost in the Machine.
"Country singer Chely Wright's reasoning was sound. 'There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality,' she tells People. 'I wasn't going to be the first.'
But now Wright is changing her tune. 'Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out,' she says.
Wright, 39, recalls of her youth in the South: 'I don't have a memory in my life that doesn't include the dream of making music.' But during her childhood and rapid ascent to fame in the county world, she also experienced a community in which homosexuality was shunned. 'I hid everything for my music,' says Wright."