Billie Myers: Out, Proud and Risen Like a Phoenixbillie myers

by Lori Hahn

On October 11, 2009, Billie Myers provided her soulful rendition of “America, the Beautiful” accompanied by the saxophone of Dave Koz at the Equality March on Washington shouting, “I stand here as a very proud member of the LGBT community. I will not be defined by anyone else!”

Billie Myers’ discovery is one of legend. She was a patron dancing on the dance floor of a nightclub in London when legendary producer Peter Q. Harris asked if she also sang. Soon thereafter, Universal Records signed her and her first CD, Growing Pains, with its smash hit “Kiss the Rain,” which shot up the charts in 1997. Her follow-up effort, Vertigo, released in 2000, met with critical acclaim, but didn’t perform well enough for Universal to keep her on.

After a long hiatus and rising from the ashes of her depression, this year she released Tea & Sympathy under her own label Fruit Loop Records. Outword was recently able to talk to her about her new CD and her fight with depression.

Your legendary discovery is amazing! And then you released, “Kiss the Rain.” After its success, it was just gone.

Yeah, it was really a hard time. During the time of “Kiss the Rain” it was kind of like a fairy tale. You have a degree of success and it’s kind of addictive. Then there’s no follow up to that, and then you start looking at yourself like, “One hit wonder, what a failure.”

You’ve obviously had some success in working through depression. It sounds like you’re looking at things from a really healthy perspective.

I live with depression. I’ve probably had some depression all of my life. I have great friends around me. I have good days and I have bad days. I made a decision with this record. I knew everyone would ask me what I’ve been doing since 2002. It wasn’t like I could say I was doing charity work or something. I didn’t want to concoct some story. I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell the truth.

What are you doing with the Jed Foundation?

The founder’s son committed suicide. In his memory, he started the foundation. I’m doing a little PSA and putting a bit of a face on depression. I’m going to do my little bit and talk to some college kids. And more importantly, to therapists and parents and friends on what it feels like and what is or isn’t constructive and what to be aware of. The truth is that if I were to fall into a deep depression next week, I’d be the last one to know.

I hope your single is a big hit – the entire disc is just dripping with emotion, every single track. It just seems you are an incredible romantic.

It’s interesting that you say that. Because I think I am. People who know me don’t agree with me. I may be disappointed but maybe that is because my bar is the perfect romance and romanticism of what life should be. Don’t say that to my friends because they’d roll their eyes at that and say, “Have you heard her songs?”

You know, you love and you lose, and it wouldn’t hit you like that, you couldn’t write lyrics like that unless you were a romantic because there would be no scale.

I’m giving your phone number to my friends.

You can listen to tracks form Billie’s new album at www.billiemyers.com.

 

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