Melissa Ferrick performing on September 10, 2008
|Born||September 21, 1970|
|Origin||Massachusetts, United States|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass guitar, vocals, percussion, flugelhorn|
W.A.R.? - What Are Records?
Right On Records
Melissa Ferrick (born 1970) is an American singer-songwriter.
Ferrick was raised in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Her father John was a well-liked public school teacher who managed several free-jazz bands on the side. As a child, Ferrick would often accompany her father to clubs on Boston's North Shore to watch the bands play. She began taking classical violin lessons at the age of five, and then moved on to the piano. In elementary and junior high school, she learned the trumpet and bass. Altogether, she received 12 years of formal music training, including two years each at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. Ferrick taught herself to play the acoustic guitar at Berklee, and dropped out after two years to pursue her music career.
Ferrick began her career singing and playing in coffeehouses in the East Village, New York City. She received a great deal of publicity in 1991 when she replaced, at the last minute, the opening act for the singer Morrissey on tour. She was subsequently signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records and released her first studio album, Massive Blur, in 1993.
In 1996, she--in her words -- "bottomed out", drinking and "taking a bunch of pills". After sobering up, she returned to music, signing with the indie label W.A.R.? - What Are Records?. Ferrick released three albums on the label; Made of Honor, Everything I Need, and Freedom, the latter inspired by Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope.
In 2000, Ferrick founded her own record label, Right On Records. The first studio album released on her own label was Valentine Heartache. Since her departure from Atlantic, the rise in her popularity has been driven by her fan-base, by reviews in the independent and alternative press, and by word-of-mouth.
In the Eyes of Strangers, released in October 2006, was the sixth album released on her own label. Ferrick partially financed the recording costs for In The Eyes of Strangers with digital downloads of acoustic versions of select songs which fans could purchase directly via her website. Her fourteenth album, Goodbye Youth, was released September 2008. In Spring 2010, she released an album of cover songs called Enough About Me, and announced plans to release an album of original material later that same year.
During live performances, Ferrick mostly accompanies herself on a Collings OM3 SB acoustic guitar. She has also experimented with loop pedals and a range of accompaniments, including, in particular, brass instruments.
Ferrick's rigorous touring schedule generally includes more than 150 shows per year. She plays solo gigs in small to medium-sized clubs and numerous festivals, as well as larger venues accompanied by a band. In 2007, she performed at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and opened for Indigo Girls and Ani Difranco.
Her musical inspirations include Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson,Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, Earth Wind and Fire, The Beatles, Tori Amos, Coldplay, Radiohead, Dave Matthews, Ryan Adams, and Ani DiFranco.
Melissa Ferrick is openly gay, and some of her lyrics deal with gay themes. Her album Everything I Need was named 1999 Album of the Year by the Gay and Lesbian American Music Association, and she has received positive reviews in the queer publication The Advocate. In interviews and articles she speaks openly not only about her sexuality, but also about her love life, and her personal life in general.