Acclaimed Country Singer Comes Out as LesbianChely Wright

Singer/songwriter Chely Wright - a celebrated figure in country music both for her artistry and her performances in front of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan - admits in her memoir, LIKE ME: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer (Pantheon Books), to keeping her sexuality a secret from her family, friends, fellow artists, and fans.

Simultaneously, with her memoir, Chely released her new record, Lifted off the Ground, produced by Rodney Crowell, a very personal album that was five years in the making.

Wright, who was recognized by the Academy of Country Music as the Top New Female Vocalist in 1995 and has been featured in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful list, has sold over one million records in her career and hit #1 on the Billboard Country charts with the song "Single White Female."

"No one like me in country music has ever admitted his or her homosexuality," says Wright. "There are gays in Nashville, but as far as anyone is led to believe, they are not those of us on magazine covers. How could I be gay? Well, I am." chely1

With that Chely Wright sets the fearlessly candid tone that permeates her memoir, becoming the first openly gay country music artist.

LIKE ME follows Chely Wright from her childhood in Kansas, where she prayed to God three times a day to keep her from "sinning," to being cast in Country Music USA's Opryland (her first break), to Nashville and her first record, and finally to the successes that followed.

Her accomplishments came at a price - lies of omission, personal shame, and struggles with integrity - but it was a price she chose to endure in order to live her dream and become a country music star.

This month, with the publication of her no-holds-barred memoir, LIKE ME, and the release of a new album, Lifted off the Ground, Chely Wright is finally living her truth. "I am standing up for myself, because if I don't, I will never be whole. That my story might help others find comfort, safety, and understanding is a beautiful by-product of truth."Chely2

Lifted off the Ground is Chely Wright's seventh studio album and first on Vanguard Records, Produced by Rodney Crowell, the record includes eleven songs all written by Chely except for the song "Heavenly Days," which she co-wrote with Crowell.

Five years in the making, the process for this album began with an unmaking - a breakup leading to what Chely describes as a breakdown on the way to her ultimate breakthrough. Chely3

The result is a remarkable song cycle of a woman climbing inch by inch out of a deep hole into the sunlight, from the one-two gut punch of the opening tandem of "Broken" and "Heavenly Days," through the rocking, wicked-clever black comedy "Notes to the Coroner" the crystalline dreamscape "Snow Globe" and the revelatory "Like Me," to the closing "Shadows of Doubt," which could serve as Wright's credo.

"Those songs and my bicycle saved my life," she says.


Listen to Chely and read more about her at


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