Melissa Ferrick

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Melissa Ferrick
Melissa Ferrick performing on September 10, 2008
Melissa Ferrick performing on September 10, 2008
Background information
Born (1970-09-21) September 21, 1970 (age 50)
OriginIpswich, Massachusetts, United States
InstrumentsGuitar, bass guitar, vocals, percussion, flugelhorn
Years active1991–present
LabelsAtlantic Records
What Are Records?
Right On Records
MPress Records

Melissa Ferrick (born September 21, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter and Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University.

Early life[edit]

Ferrick was raised in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Her father John was a 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.[1] 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 15 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.[citation needed]


Ferrick playing bass guitar in 2006

Ferrick began her career singing and playing in coffeehouses in the East Village, New York City.[2] 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 two albums, Massive Blur, in 1993 and Willing to Wait, in 1995.

In 1996, she—in her words – "bottomed out"[3] After sobering up, she returned to music, signing with the indie label 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.[4] Her 1998 album Everything I Need was nominated for Album of the Year by the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA).[5][6]

In 2000, Ferrick founded her own record label, Right On Records. The first studio album released on her own label was Skinnier Faster Live at the B.P.C..

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.[7] Her fourteenth album, Goodbye Youth, was released September 2008.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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 Ani Difranco. Her song "Drive" from the Freedom album became popularly known as a "lesbian anthem".[11][12]

Her musical inspirations include Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon, Earth Wind and Fire, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Dave Matthews, and Joan Armatrading.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Melissa Ferrick identifies as a gender-nonconforming queer.[14][15][16][17]


  • 1993 – Massive Blur
  • 1995 – Willing to Wait
  • 1996 – Made of Honor
  • 1997 – Melissa Ferrick +1 (live)
  • 1998 – Everything I Need
  • 2000 – Freedom
  • 2001 – Skinnier, Faster, Live at the B.P.C. (live)
  • 2001 – Valentine Heartache
  • 2002 – Listen Hard
  • 2003 – 70 People at 7000 Feet (live)
  • 2004 – The Other Side
  • 2006 – In the Eyes of Strangers
  • 2006 – Decade (video)
  • 2007 – Live at Union Hall (live)
  • 2008 – Goodbye Youth
  • 2010 – Enough About Me
  • 2011 – Still Right Here
  • 2013 – The Truth Is
  • 2015 – Melissa Ferrick


  1. ^ "Behind the Scenes – Melissa Ferrick". Camp Betty Campout 2005. 2005. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  2. ^ Follos, Tim (December 5, 2006). "Today's Top Stop: Melissa Ferrick". Express Night Out. Washington Post. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  3. ^ Robinson, Matthew S. (March 15, 2001). "Interview with Melissa Ferrick". MusicDish Industry e-Journal. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  4. ^ Jess (March 2, 2012). "Melissa Ferrick Is Right Here, Still: The Autostraddle Interview". Autostraddle. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  5. ^ "The Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards: The History". Queer Music Heritage. Archived from the original on September 25, 2003. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Artists & Sound Clips: Melissa Ferrick". Girl Musician Online. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Myers, Chuck (July 27, 2007). "Don't call Melissa Ferrick a folkie – she's a rocker". Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  8. ^ Wootton, Sharon (August 1, 2008). "Melissa Ferrick: Grammy nominee to show talents on Monroe stage". The Daily Herald. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 24, 2010). "Melissa Ferrick has it covered". AfterEllen. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.
  10. ^ Belge, Kathy (2008). "An Interview with Melissa Ferrick". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  11. ^ Foucher, David (July 14, 2006). "Melissa Ferrick Drives On". EDGE Media Network. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Lesbian icon". Rochester Pride Guide: Pride 2011. Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. July 2011. p. 6. Retrieved April 3, 2020. (via issuu)
  13. ^ Harper, Marques G. (September 16, 2006). "Melissa Ferrick to play Pride in the Park". The Roanoke Times. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  14. ^ Hensley, Dennis (June 22, 2004). "Why did Melissa cross the road? Melissa Ferrick talks about taking risks to put out her latest CD, The Other Side". The Advocate. Archived from the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  15. ^ hsmith (July 10, 2008). "America's Most Captivating Couples 2008, Natalia & Melissa". GO. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  16. ^ Shapiro, Gregg (May 27, 2004). "Another Side : An interview with Melissa Ferrick". PrideSource. Archived from the original on June 12, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  17. ^ Robertson, Jessica. "Rockin' Out Interview: Melissa Ferrick". Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2008.

External links[edit]