"I feel like I'm two weeks old."
May 21, 2010 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Country music star Chely Wright talks to Oprah about coming out, prior relationships, and her career. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Via.

Sorry no transcript link -- Oprah does sell them... for $20 for a .pdf download.
posted by hippybear (14 comments total)
...and it takes them 2-5 days to send you the link to download the PDF. WTF?

posted by yiftach at 1:24 PM on May 21, 2010

Country music star Chely Wright talks to Oprah about coming out

oprah finally came out? what about gayle?
posted by nathancaswell at 1:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Never heard of her before she came out. Good for her and her career, though.
posted by fixedgear at 1:30 PM on May 21, 2010

Here's video of Chely Wright performing an amusing song that didn't quite make the cut for the album.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 3:27 PM on May 21, 2010

The "first." So... K.D. Lang doesn't count? Of course, Lang didn't come out, since she was never in. So I guess we could draw a distinction between the first to come out and the first to just be out. And when she did make it, she was still semi-frozen out of country music proper with the result that (you could maybe argue) she was more of an adult contemporary/alt star.
posted by Clay201 at 3:48 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I write about queer theory and country music/rural culture. I think that Wright is really good at figuring out professional narratives--she released Single White Female at the time of Shania, and Bumper of my SUV at the time of Bush's biggest war mongering. Her melodramatic arc here is really interesting, because it allows a conservative, female gendered language to mouth ideas that are fairly radical...If and when she releases tracks about her sexuality, it could be a lot like Dolly and her poverty, or Loretta, but everything sound so rote...

all of that said, try finding her song The River, it's pretty haunting.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:02 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

She took a (male) friend of mine to prom 12 years ago. It was pretty much the biggest thing that ever happened in my home town.
posted by miagaille at 5:47 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

try finding her song The River, it's pretty haunting

No kidding. It starts off like something you've heard before and then... The River.
posted by grounded at 6:01 PM on May 21, 2010

Well, you know, you can hate the music and you can dismiss the artist, but I suspect that if you're sitting in a liberal east or west coast bastion and you're a pop or indie music consumer it's more of a reach to understand that this coming out was really ground-breaking and courageous within "the culture of country music."

On the Oprah interview, Wright says at one point "Young people in every corner of America are being told by their churches and their parents that they are damaged goods. And they are not."

That's particularly true where country music has the biggest audiences. It's nice that there's finally a role model within that, and frankly I think it's a huge bonus that she's a really, really palatable one - she has genuine industry credibility, she looks like the girl next door, she has unimpeachable patriotism, and she's pretty much country through and through.

I think she deserves a lot a credit for doing this. I hope this doesn't torpedo her career, but mostly I hope she's happier in her personal life.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:21 AM on May 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

During our invasion of Iraq I vaguely remember claims that she had her peeps call radio stations all over the country and they would tell the DJs falsely that their spouse or loved one was in Iraq and really liked that SUV song and would the station play it in support of the troops. Basically an attempt to use yahoo patriotism and the war to sell records and if I remember that correctly I have no use for her.
posted by wrapper at 9:21 AM on May 22, 2010

I don't know much about Wright's music or the scandal you cite, but after a bit of research, I did find this article which pretty much states that it was the actions of her Fan Club, which prompted Wright to promptly fire the president of said group.

I'm not sure how that scandal affects the importance of her coming out. Or perhaps you think this is yet another grab for publicity under false pretenses?
posted by hippybear at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2010

I don't doubt she's a lesbian, and I know from personal experience that coming out under those circumstances in that geography is absurdly difficult, and i am so glad that a queer person who has had mainstream success has come out (though kd lang, mary gauthier, heather bishop, woody simmons, alex dobin, and the members of ranch romance have all come out before her) .

The narrative reinforces itself, the same story in the same way, in the same words, over and over become the only story, and though i am over joyed that her daddy was kind, and her mama understood, and overjoyed that she came out, however late. i wish she came out in a way that was more complicated, that did not reinforce the status quo. I mean her mentioning brad paisley so often, is a key to this, it suggests she still has one ear on the market--and this makes sense, the market in nashville is cruel, and it depends on people much more then the market in la or ny. that nashville has moved to la and ny is an indicaiton of how nasty the music biz will be in a few years.

what will be interesting is how that status quo handles her--what if the nashville establishment hangs her out to dry (like they hung kt olsin out to dry, plus the days of people having careers that last decades and dozens of albums, the fan culture of second tier is slowly dissipating). I am also interested that, because she made her career on USO tours and military base runs, if she will still be able to do that, but she has those self same concerns
posted by PinkMoose at 10:11 AM on May 22, 2010

try finding her song The River, it's pretty haunting

No kidding. It starts off like something you've heard before and then... The River.

Huh? Embarrassing treacle.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 4:29 PM on May 22, 2010

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