Interview with Rock Artist Melissa Ferrick


DSC_7975Melissa Ferrick is a singer/songwriter who hit the music scene hard in the 90’s after opening for Morrissey. Ferrick found early commercial success and won over a large fanbase. The loyalty of her fans allowed her to move successfully to indie labels and eventually start her own label, Rock on Records. Ferrick has been an out lesbian throughout her entire career, often speaking candidly about her love life in interviews and in her lyrics. She’s also performed with many queer rock/folk ladies, including Tegan & Sara, k.d. Lang, The Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco, to name a few.

Ferrick has released 12 studio albums and now she’s back with another- her eponymous album was release on July 31st, and the vinyl is set to be released this month. Ferrick, who is known for her rigorous tour schedule, is already back on the road promoting her album. But luckily, we got to sit down with her for a few moments to discuss her latest musical outing.

Melissa, how did you discover music was your passion and how did you decide to pursue it as a full-time career? 

I’ve been studying music since I was 5 (first on violin) and so it feels a lot like music chose me. There was a time in 1996, after Atlantic Records had dropped me, that I did make a decision to do this music thing. I was 26 and it felt like a really big and real commitment to my innermost self at the time. Probably more so than being 20 and getting signed to a major label.

DSC_7671This record was completely a solo effort- why did you decide to go that route? 

The songs and the budget demanded it. My fans partially funded this album and the overwhelming response was to have me record it myself at home. My fans generally tend to prefer me on my own, without filter and without a lot of production. So since this group of songs was more subtle and personal, I agreed that the recording process should be as well.

How did you motivate yourself? 

Ha, deadlines….deadlines …deadlines. I have always worked well under pressure, I find it energizing I really like having goal’s set this helps me A. Get there and B. Keeps me focused on the way.

This record has been discussed as a ‘new beginning.’ How does Melissa Ferrick (the album) represent a new beginning for you? 

It’s a starting over putting records out independently on my own label; it’s back to basics in the recording process, no click tracks, old school 16 track machine, and analog outboard gear. One takes on everything. It’s a real performance record. That is how I got started and what I excel at – performance, the immediate, the moment and the moving on from that.

What is the tone of Melissa Ferrick? What themes run through it and what message do you want your fans to take away from it? 

The tone is immediacy, introspection and a peace with where I am. The theme that runs through it is probably “coming to understanding.” As far as a message I want people to take form it? Hmm, I’m not sure, I don’t really think too much about what other people should take from things, I leave that to them.

You’ve been in the music industry for a long time and have toured with amazing artists, such as Ani DiFranco, Tegan & Sara, k.d. Lang and the Indigo Girls, tell me your craziest “tour story.”

Having diner with k.d.Lang was pretty awesome and watching her run a sound check was literally one of the most mesmerizing things I’ve ever seen musically. She is a pro. She is in her own league. I believe k.d.Lang is one of the greatest singers alive and will stand the test of time to be revealed as one of the “Great’s.” It was a complete honor to stand on stage before her.


What’s the best thing a fan has ever mailed/thrown on stage at you? 

When I started on the Morrissey tour when I was 20, his fan’s would throw flowers onto the stage at him, as the tour continued and his fan’s started cheering me on I would occasionally get thrown a flower and this certainly made me feel loved and appreciated. It’s usually preferred if the flowers are thrown near me though not AT me

What advice would you give to aspiring singer-songwriters? 

Give it your all for five years. If more people are coming to see you play after five years than in the first two years and you’re still enjoying the performances then go for a another five years. This is job, take it seriously but enjoy your responsibilities. Show up on time, play our heart out, be kind to the folks you meet, and don’t complain on stage. This job takes effort, tenacity, and guts – it’s not for the weary.

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