Melissa Ferrick

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

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 53)
OriginIpswich, Massachusetts, United States
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1991–present
LabelsAtlantic Records
What Are Records?
Right On Records
MPress Records

Melissa Ferrick (born September 21, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter. She is a music professor at Northeastern University and at Berklee College of Music.

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 at Berklee College of Music. She dropped out to pursue a music career.[2]


Ferrick playing bass guitar in 2006

Ferrick began their career singing and playing in coffeehouses in the East Village, New York City.[3] They received a great deal of publicity in 1991 when they replaced, at the last minute, the opening act for the singer Morrissey on tour. They were subsequently signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records and released their first two albums, Massive Blur, in 1993 and Willing to Wait, in 1995.

In 1996, they—in their words–"bottomed out" on alcohol.[4] After sobering up, they 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.[5] Their 1998 album Everything I Need was nominated for Album of the Year by the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA).[6][7]

In 2000, Ferrick founded their own record label, Right On Records. The first studio album released on their 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 Right On Records. Ferrick partially financed the recording costs with song sales via their website.[8] Their fourteenth album, Goodbye Youth, was released September 2008.[9] In Spring 2010, they released an album of cover songs called Enough About Me.[10] In 2011, she released the album Still Right Here featuring original songs.[11]

During live performances, Ferrick mostly self-accompanies on a Collings OM3 SB acoustic guitar. They have 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.[12] They play solo gigs in small to medium-sized clubs and numerous festivals, as well as larger venues accompanied by a band. In 2007, they performed at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, and opened for Ani Difranco. Their song "Drive" from the Freedom album became popularly known as a "lesbian anthem".[13][14]

In 2017, Spotify settled a class action lawsuit initiated by Ferrick and David Lowery who had alleged the company failed to pay proper royalties to musicians whose songs were streamed on the service. Spotify set aside US$43 million to compensate musicians, songwriters and publishers.[15]

Their musical inspirations include Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Simon, Earth Wind and Fire, Tori Amos, Radiohead, Dave Matthews, and Joan Armatrading.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Melissa Ferrick identifies as queer and gender-nonconforming.[17][18][19][20][21]

Ferrick uses she/they pronouns.[22]


  • 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. ^ "Melissa Ferrick's learned a lot at Berklee — as student and professor". December 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Follos, Tim (December 5, 2006). "Today's Top Stop: Melissa Ferrick". Express Night Out. Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  4. ^ Robinson, Matthew S. (March 15, 2001). "Interview with Melissa Ferrick". MusicDish Industry e-Journal. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "The Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards: The History". Queer Music Heritage. Archived from the original on September 25, 2003. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "Artists & Sound Clips: Melissa Ferrick". Girl Musician Online. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  8. ^ Myers, Chuck (July 27, 2007). "Don't call Melissa Ferrick a folkie – she's a rocker". Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  9. ^ Wootton, Sharon (August 1, 2008). "Melissa Ferrick: Grammy nominee to show talents on Monroe stage". The Daily Herald. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  10. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 24, 2010). "Melissa Ferrick has it covered". AfterEllen. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.
  11. ^ "Melissa Ferrick: Still Right Here". September 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Belge, Kathy (2008). "An Interview with Melissa Ferrick". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  13. ^ Foucher, David (July 14, 2006). "Melissa Ferrick Drives On". EDGE Media Network. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  14. ^ "Lesbian icon". Rochester Pride Guide: Pride 2011. Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. July 2011. p. 6. Retrieved April 3, 2020. (via issuu)
  15. ^ Levin, Robert (May 26, 2017). "Spotify Settles Class Action Lawsuits Filed By David Lowery And Melissa Ferrick With $43.4 Million Fund". Stereogum. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ hsmith (July 10, 2008). "America's Most Captivating Couples 2008, Natalia & Melissa". GO. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Robertson, Jessica. "Rockin' Out Interview: Melissa Ferrick". Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  21. ^ "Melissa Ferrick Comes Out to Provincetown". The Provincetown Independent. October 6, 2021. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  22. ^ "Melissa Ferrick (@melissaferrick) • Instagram photos and videos".

External links[edit]