We recently caught up with out country music singer Chely Wright to talk about her collaboration with acclaimed producer and musician Linda Perry, why Stephanie Miller nominated her to be her “coming out coach,” and how many toes she would give up to work with Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.
AfterEllen.com: Since we’re here to talk about the Linda Perry collaboration, I’ll begin with the obvious: Do you remember where you were the first time you heard the 4 Non-Blondes’ song “What’s Up”?
I was so into Randy Travis and The Judds, really straight ahead country. I remember I was ambivalent about the song, but I was more taken with my brother’s obsession. I didn’t know if it was a guy or a girl singing. I said, “What’s the name of this band?” and he said, “4 Non-Blondes. It’s a bunch of chicks. Aren’t they awesome?” He was just obsessed with them.
Recently I was talking to my brother and [told him I was in LA writing]. He said, “I thought you didn’t co-write anymore?” I said, “Well, I’m co-writing with someone that you don’t pass up the chance to write with: Linda Perry.” He said, “Holy crap! Linda Perry?” He about lost his mind and I remembered, oh my God, he liked her. When I told [Linda] that, she just laughed and said, “Oh, yeah, those jarheads love me.”
AE: How did you and Linda Perry begin working together?
CW: I didn’t know they were dating because I’m just super duper not up on anything. I’m so behind I didn’t even know that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman had broken up. [Laughs] I just don’t get these things. Linda sat at the table and we didn’t visit much because Cybill was sitting between us and Cybill and I hit it off. I mean, we had a great time. She was wonderful. So Cybill and I we were just having this good talk and I was thinking back to when I was a kid and—do you know that show Moonlighting?
AE: When I first came out to my mom she said, “But when you were young you were so obsessed with Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing,” and I had to explain to her that it was really Jennifer Grey that had my heart.
AE: OK, so you’re talking to Cybill and—?
I got up to play and sing and I got back to the table and Linda leaned over and said, “You need to come out to LA. Let’s write a song.” I said, “Pardon?” She said, “Come out to LA. I have a great studio. Come out and we’ll write a song.” I said, “Don’t tease me like that. That’s not very nice to do.” And she said, “I’m not.”
Clementine looked at me and said, “She doesn’t do that. She’s not teasing. She really liked your performance.” Linda had a quick talk with me about the song. She said, “Of course I know who you are, I’ve been watching the press lately and heard some stuff. I think I know a bit about your past records. Let’s do something.” She grabbed her nametag off the table, wrote down her number, handed it to me and said, “Call me.”