Today in KC’s Music History: “Yes I Am,” by Melissa Etheridge

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After three albums that were modestly successful, Melissa Etheridge broke into the mainstream with her fourth album, released on Sept. 21, 1993.

Yes I Am contains two of her best-known songs, The Only One and Come to My Window.  The Only One was a Top 10 hit, and although Come to My Window peaked at No. 25, it won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance and is probably her best-known song.

Interestingly, in her autobiography The Truth Is … My Life in Love and Music, Etheridge says the song is her most misunderstood. Rather than being a love song, it’s about the troubles she was having with Julie Cypher, her partner at the time.

“I just don’t get it because this is a very veiled song. It’s all about the troubles I was having at home … It was toward the end of my tour and I kept reminding Julie to hang in there. I’d be coming home soon and we would work everything out between us. It’s a harshly truthful song that got misconstrued as a love song.”

Etheridge was born and grew up in Leavenworth, Kan. During high school, she performed across the state of Kansas on weekends. After high school graduation, she spent three semesters attending the Berklee College of Music before dropping out and returning to the Midwest.

She lived in Kansas City for about nine months in 1981-82, during which she performed at the old Granada Royale, located on 43rd Street between two KC’s major entertainment districts, the Plaza and Westport. (The property is now an Embassy Suites.)

She moved to Los Angeles after she saved enough money from that gig. Her first album was released six years later.

By almost any measure, Etheridge has had a significant career, with 11 albums, 15 Grammy nominations, two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and more than 27 million album sales worldwide.

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Melissa Etheridge
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