Fast Facts

  • Began playing guitar at age 8.
  • At age 11, sang a song that she'd written ("Lonely as a Child") in a talent contest.
  • Was seen in concert at a bar in Long Island, CA, by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell in 1986. He was so taken with her that he signed her on the spot.
  • Publicly came out as a lesbian at the Triangle Ball, the first gay-and-lesbian inauguration party (for President Bill Clinton) in 1993.  
  • Achieved a personal dream when her musical hero, Bruce Springsteen, joined her to sing "Thunder Road" on her MTV Unplugged appearance in 1995.
  • Was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and underwent chemotherapy for two months.
  • While still bald from the chemo, she appeared on a Janis Joplin tribute during the 2005 Grammy Awards and performed "Piece of My Heart."
  • Appeared as a panelist in 2010's 1 a Minute, a theatrical documentary featuring cancer-survival stories.
  • Shares a birthday with partner Linda Wallem.


  • 2006, Oscar — Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): Winner
  • 1992, Grammy — Best Female Rock Vocal Performance: Winner
  • 1994, Grammy — Best Female Rock Vocal Performance: Winner
  • 2007, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Song: Nominee


  • Bailey Jean Cypher — Daughter
  • Linda Wallem — Wife
  • Elizabeth Etheridge — Mother
  • John Etheridge — Father
  • Tammy Lynn Michaels — Ex-fiancée
  • Beckett — Son
  • Julie Cypher — Ex-significant Other
  • Jennifer Etheridge — Sister
  • Johnnie Rose — Daughter
  • Miller Steven — Son


  • Attended Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, United States(1980)


  • Birth Place: Leavenworth, Kansas, United States
  • Profession: Singer, Songwriter

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