Chely Wright
American singer
Chely Wright
Richell Rene "Chely" Wright is an American country music artist and gay rights activist. On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music named her Top New Female Vocalist in 1995. Wright's first Top 40 country hit came in 1997 with "Shut Up and Drive". Two years later, her fourth album yielded her first number one single, the title track, "Single White Female".
Biography
Chely Wright's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Chely Wright
Show More Show Less
News
News abour Chely Wright from around the web
Dear Kacey Musgraves, I Have a Big Lesbian Crush on You!
Huffington Post - about 3 years
After realizing that the "live" stream of the Grammys was not a live stream at all but a four-camera view of what wasn't happening onstage (aka a brilliant plot to get people to buy cable), I was left with a harrowing choice: bunny ears or bust. Several crippling neck angles and a dust tornado later, I managed to screw my lopsided antenna into my not-so-HDTV. As miracles would have it, it worked! I tuned in to CBS and sat down to lick envelopes, drink tea, and judge people... and, you know, watch the Grammys. Truth be told, I hadn't even realized they were happening, but sometime around 8:50 p.m. I got the memo via Facebook that some live gay weddings were about to happen. There I was, watching and waiting to see Maklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Madonna, and Queen Latifah make Grammy history by belting out "Same Love" as 33 couples (or 34? Nobody seemed to know!) exchanged vows and rings. But then, out of nowhere, something amazing happened! No, it wasn't Pink's aeri ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Christine Quinn: New York City's Next Mayor
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Christine Quinn is my (and our) only choice for mayor of New York. I have not wanted to get into the on going pissing match about the New York mayoral race, but I have to speak loud and clear. It seems like it's been so easy for critics to blithely and viciously attack a feisty, pragmatic, effective woman -- one who has shown the ability to keep the New York City Council alive and effective, one who has been able to both work with the mayor and oppose him, one who has shown up for us again and again -- while at the same time giving Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner "second chances" and giving all the other hetroprivileged male candidates the benefit of the doubt, adorning them with labels like "the progressive candidate" or supporting a vicious and foolhardy ABC campaign (funded by wealthy realtors!) with no thought as to who that "anyone-other-than" candidate might be. For the past 15 years Christine Quinn has shown up for me for every event, cause and need of my community. And ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Country singer Chely Wright welcomes identical twins with wife
LATimes - almost 4 years
Country singer Chely Wright and her wife Lauren Blitzer Wright have two new additions to their family: The couple welcomed identical twins on Saturday.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Zach Udko: Breaking Through After Coming Out: A Conversation With Spencer Day
Huffington Post - about 4 years
When Frank Ocean came out of the closet in July and nabbed two Grammy awards last month, many declared his triumph as a watershed moment for gay performers. If the hip hop community could embrace an out recording artist, had the queer ceiling finally been shattered for LBGT vocalists? Or, was this only one milestone in an ongoing battle against homophobia for the music industry? It's one thing for stars to come out long after they have already made a name for themselves (Ricky Martin, George Michael, Michael Feinstein, Clay Aiken), but the stakes are far higher for young, emerging singer-songwriters. When it comes to sexuality, genres with a younger fan base tend to be more accepting than others. After announcing that she was a lesbian, for example, country singer Chely Wright speculated that her disclosure might have adversely affected her record sales in 2011. Most other genres have their own chart-topping out stars (pop: Adam Lambert; cabaret: Rufus Wainwright; ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Teen's Pro-Gay 'Day Of Silence' Fight Could Land High School In Court
Huffington Post - about 4 years
A Florida-based teen has reportedly filed legal action against her high school after she was suspended after defying administrators and participating in the national "Day of Silence" in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports that 15-year-old Amber Hatch has sued DeSoto County High School's Principal Shannon Fusco, dean of students and local school board in Fort Myers, Fla. The lawsuit apparently claims that Hatch had asked Fusco for permission to participate in the 2012 "Day of Silence" on April 20, 2012. Fusco is said to have told Hatch, "Peaceful protests are against district policy." After appealing three times to school board hoping to rescind the decision, Hatch was allegedly "warned" by Fusco that if she attended school on April 20 and was quiet, "there would be disciplinary consequences." When she showed up to school anyway wearing a T-shirt that read, "DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh," she was ask ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Chely Wright, Country Singer, Pregnant With Identical Twins
US Magazine - about 4 years
Chely Wright and Lauren Blizter-Wright are going to be parents -- to identical twins! The couple made the exciting announcement Wednesday, Jan. 23 during an interview on Howard Bragman's YouTube series, Gwissues. PHOTOS: Babies of the year "They are due in July, but with identical twins you typically have to deliver a month early," country singer Wright, 42, who is carrying the twins, explained. "So, we're anticipating that I will be as big as a . . . bus or A-frame house by June." PHOTOS: Out and proud Wright married Blitzer, 31, the Director of Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment, in August 2011. "When gay couples have babies it's logistically a little different than when straight people have babies as we all know," Wright, who came out as gay to the public in 2010, explained to Bragman. And Blitzer-Wright added that it's been an "amazing learning experience." PHOTOS: Celebrity LGBT allies "We're excited to be parents," Wright added. "We hope we don't mess it up t ...
Article Link:
US Magazine article
Country singer Chely Wright is pregnant with twins
News Briefs - about 4 years
Country singer Chely Wright and her wife, Sony Music Executive and activist, Lauren Blitzer-Wright announced Wednesday that they are expecting
Article Link:
News Briefs article
Ryan Logan: Sugar, Spice And Everything Nice: The Recipe For Making A Queer Celebrity (VIDEO)
Huffington Post - about 4 years
A recluctant admission: I can be a little too highbrow. My idea of a relaxing afternoon is watching the newest avant-garde sensation starring an inanimate acorn as the heroine who battles the "other." Atonal jazz beebops in the background as a harlequin clown cries invisible tears and releases a red balloon. Needless to say, I bore my friends. When presented with the opportunity to direct Fawzia Mirza's new Web series, Kam Kardashian, chronicling the day-to-day adventures of the long-lost lesbian Kardashian sister, I was less than thrilled. In fact, until working on the show, I took pride in the fact that I couldn't recall any Kardashian's name except for Kim's (whom I identified with a viral sex tape and bus-stop ads for Midori). As we shot the first couple of episodes, questions loomed over us: Why a Kardashian? Why is she a lesbian? Why does this matter? It wasn't until we released the episodes and others started asking me those questions that I formulated an answer. ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Chely Wright: Anderson Cooper's coming out "perfect"
CBS News - over 4 years
Gay country star says Anderson Cooper's now saying he not only supports the LGBT community - he's part of it
Article Link:
CBS News article
Chely Wright headlines the Backlot Bash
Chicago Pride - almost 5 years
Chicago's gay pride weekend draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the nation and beyond to Boystown each year for a weekend of LGBTQ events, parties and fundraisers.
Article Link:
Chicago Pride article
Review: 'Wish Me Away' documents Chely Wright's journey
LATimes - almost 5 years
Even though the sympathetic documentary shows unguarded moments, it is still part of a carefully orchestrated media campaign surrounding Chely Wright's coming out. A behind the scenes look at the process by which country music singer Chely Wright publicly came out as a lesbian to her family, the world and the conservative establishment of the Nashville music industry, "Chely Wright: Wish Me Away" presents a sympathetic, emotional portrait of a life at a pivotal transition.
Article Link:
LATimes article
'Wish Me Away' follows singer Chely Wright's coming-out story
LATimes - almost 5 years
Wright's challenging journey is examined in the documentary "Chely Wright: Wish Me Away," which opens in L.A. on Friday. The film is also currently available on video-on-demand and for rental on iTunes.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Movie Review: ‘Chely Wright: Wish Me Away,’ a Documentary
NYTimes - almost 5 years
The documentary “Chely Wright: Wish Me Away” chronicles the steps to Ms. Wright’s announcement of her homosexuality.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Chely Wright: From Nashville Star To Outcast Activist
NPR - almost 5 years
As a child, the country singer prayed to God to take away her homosexuality. She moved to Nashville to pursue a music career, and became a star. A new documentary, Wish Me Away, follows Wright's struggle to accept her sexuality and the fallout after she publicly announced that she's gay. » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
Article Link:
NPR article
Chely Wright's country life is peaceful, not easy
Yahoo News - almost 5 years
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two years after becoming the first country star to come out as gay, Chely Wright is now at peace, living honestly and married to another woman, but she feels somewhat cut off by the country music world to which she has devoted her life. Gay artists have long struggled with the impact that coming out might have on their careers, but Wright thinks the time has never been better to be open despite her struggles depicted in a new film documentary, "Wish Me Away," in U.S. theaters June 1. ...
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Real Gay
The Portland Mercury - almost 5 years
True stories of the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. by Jamie S. Rich GAY ACTIVIST Vito Russo's earliest organizing efforts involved getting his community together to watch old movies—Russo, the author of The Celluloid Closet, believed cinema was an art form that unified generations. So it's fitting that Vito, Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary about Russo, will close the sixth annual Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival. Vito nicely caps a selection of true-life stories that showcase both the diversity and shared experience of gay expression. Creativity and art are a commonality in a lot of the features: The opening-night film, Wish Me Away, is a moving chronicle of country singer Chely Wright's decision to come out as a lesbian in an industry not exactly known for being gay friendly. When contrasted with Jobriath A.D., Wright's story demonstrates how far American society has progressed—and how little some of it has really ...
Article Link:
The Portland Mercury article
Programming notes
First Read- MSNBC - almost 5 years
*** Thursday’s “Jansing & Company”: Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA); The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne; USA Today’s Susan Page; Daily Variety’s Ted Johnson; journalist Phil Bronstein; NBCLatino Contributor Paul Reyes; Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart; attorney Hampton Dellinger; & personal finance analyst Carmen Wong Ulrich. *** Thursday’s “MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts” lineup: MSNBC’S Thomas Roberts talks with Meghan Mccain, Jonathan Capehart, Karen Finney, Pop Star Cyndi Lauper, Country Singer & LGBT Activist Chely Wright, Actor Wilson Cruz, and WE DO campaign Executive Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. *** Thursday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” lineup: Luke Russert fills in for Andrea. Guests: The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Newark , NJ Mayor Cory Booker, College Republican National Committee Chairman Alex Schriver, Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA), National Journal’s Reid Wilson and The Atlantic’s Molly Ball. *** Thursday’s News Nation with Tamron Hall: Freedom to Marry ...
Article Link:
First Read- MSNBC article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Chely Wright
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    Age 45
    Wright's eighth album, I Am the Rain, was released on September 9, 2016 by MRI/Sony and was produced by Joe Henry.
    More Details Hide Details Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Wright grew up in a musical family in Wellsville, Kansas, a town with a population of less than 2,000. According to her autobiography, Like Me, she wanted to be a country music performer since the age of four, and realized at age eight that she was gay. As a young child, Wright took piano lessons, and began professional singing appearances by age 11, including playing "Taps" on bugle at the funerals of veterans at the local American Legion. A Christian, Wright harbored the belief that her sexual orientation was immoral, that her secret would kill her career hopes. From early childhood, she resolved to never confide her orientation to anyone or to pursue romantic relationships with women.
    In July 2016, Wright announced the release of her eighth studio album, I Am the Rain.
    More Details Hide Details The album, which has roots in Americana, was produced by Joe Henry. It will feature collaborations with Emmylou Harris and The Milk Carton Kids. The album has drawn comparisons to Carole King's Tapestry. The album was released on September 9, 2016 through the Painted Red Music Group and RED Distribution. A U.S. tour is planned for 2017.
  • 2015
    Age 44
    It raised $250,000, which will allow Wright to record and promote the album and to produce a music video to be released in 2015.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2014
    Age 43
    In October 2014 Wright's Kickstarter campaign to fund her eighth studio album became the sixth most successful Kickstarter music campaign and the number one campaign in country music.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2013
    Age 42
    Wright gave birth to George Samuel and Everett Joseph on May 18, 2013.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2012
    Age 41
    After U.S President Barack Obama announced his support for LGBT rights, Wright endorsed his re-election campaign in 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Wright is the founder of the charity Reading, Writing and Rhythm (RW&R), which is devoted to musical education in America's schools and helps supply musical instruments and equipment. It holds a fundraiser each June in Nashville, just before CMA Music Festival. In 2002 Wright received the MENC's "FAME Award" in honor of the accomplishments of RW&R.
  • 2011
    Age 40
    A documentary film about Wright's extended coming out, entitled Wish Me Away, was released in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details
    On April 6, 2011, Wright announced her engagement to LGBT rights advocate Lauren Blitzer. The couple married on August 20, 2011, in a private ceremony on a country estate in Connecticut officiated by both a rabbi and a reverend.
    More Details Hide Details On January 23, 2013, the couple announced that Chely was expecting identical twins.
  • THIRTIES
  • 2010
    Age 39
    Metro Source New York Magazine named her as one of the 20 people We Love in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details Studio albums Compilation albums Extended plays Wright made her acting debut in the Disney film, Max Keeble's Big Move. She plays Mrs. Styles, Max's homeroom teacher.
    In 2010, Wright was named the National Spokesperson for the organization GLSEN.
    More Details Hide Details Wright was named one of Out magazine's annual 100 People of the Year.
    In 2010 Wright founded her second charity, The Like Me Organization.
    More Details Hide Details Wright brought together friends, family, fans, and supporters of the LGBT community to build an organization to provide assistance, resources, and education to LGBT individuals and their family and friends. Wright will serve as spokesperson for the Like Me Organization, which will work to prevent LGBT bullying and teen suicide. In 2001, Wright was given the "Stand Up For Music Award" MENC: The National Association for Music Education. In 2003, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the American Legion Auxiliary and "Kansan of the Year" for her career achievements, her charity work and her support of the U.S. armed forces.
    The film shares its title with one of the tracks on her 2010 album, Lifted Off the Ground.
    More Details Hide Details The film premiered at the 35th annual Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on June 22, 2011. It was filmed over three years.
    On May 3, 2010, People Magazine reported her coming out.
    More Details Hide Details Wright became one of the first members of the country music community to come out as gay; country artist k.d. lang came out in 1992 (though she later abandoned the country music genre), and Kristen Hall, formerly of Sugarland, was openly gay while working with that band.
    She released her seventh studio album, Lifted Off the Ground, on May 4, 2010, produced by Grammy Award winner Rodney Crowell.
    More Details Hide Details
    On May 4, 2010, Wright simultaneously released her memoir, Like Me, and her first album of new songs since 2005, Lifted Off the Ground.
    More Details Hide Details
    In May 2010, Wright became one of the first major country music performers to publicly come out as lesbian.
    More Details Hide Details In television appearances and an autobiography, she cited among her reasons for publicizing her homosexuality a concern with bullying and hate crimes toward gays, particularly gay teenagers, and the damage to her life caused by "lying and hiding". She has written songs that have been recorded by Brad Paisley, Richard Marx, Indigo Girls, Mindy Smith and Clay Walker, among them Walker's top ten hit, "I Can't Sleep" that won her a BMI award.
    As of May 2010, Wright's previous eight albums and 19 singles released had sold over 1,500,000 copies in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2008
    Age 37
    Wright signed to Vanguard Records in 2008.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2005
    Age 34
    Wright's sixth album, The Metropolitan Hotel, was released in February 2005 on Dualtone.
    More Details Hide Details The album debuted at No. 18 on Billboard's Top Country chart and reached No. 7 on the Top Independent Albums chart.
  • 2004
    Age 33
    She wrote and released a single, "Bumper of My S.U.V.," in late 2004, mostly through the Internet and various radio stations, in response to an altercation with an irate woman who noticed the United States Marine Corps bumper sticker on the back of Wright's car.
    More Details Hide Details The success of "Bumper of My SUV", released on Wright's own Painted Red Music Group, was followed by the release of an EP, Everything. The record was made exclusively available through Wright's website, but its success led to a deal with Dualtone Records.
    Wright split with Vivaton in June 2004.
    More Details Hide Details
    In January 2004, she signed with a new independent label, Vivaton, and began preparation for a new album.
    More Details Hide Details Although a music video was released for a song entitled "The Back of the Bottom Drawer," the album never materialized.
  • 2003
    Age 32
    In 2003, Wright parted ways with MCA Nashville after "Never Love You Enough" failed to meet sales expectations.
    More Details Hide Details
    She also cowrote Clay Walker's 2003 top 10 single "I Can't Sleep".
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2001
    Age 30
    In these peak years of her popularity, Wright was named to People Magazines annual "50 Most Beautiful People" list in 2001 and ranked No. 93 among FHM's "100 Sexiest Women of 2002". and later that year was ranked No. 18 of "The 20 Hottest Women in Music 2002"
    More Details Hide Details
    Wright's fifth studio album, Never Love You Enough, was originally scheduled to be released on September 11, 2001 but due to the World Trade Center attack, the release date was postponed to September 25.
    More Details Hide Details Never Love You Enough debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.
    Wright also joined Diamond Rio for a song on their One More Day album, as well as Paisley's Part II album, both released in 2001.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 2000
    Age 29
    In the last months of 2000, Wright began an affair with country singer Brad Paisley.
    More Details Hide Details Even though Wright and her female lover had moved in together earlier that year, and Wright admitted she felt no sexual attraction to Paisley, she recounted that "he's wickedly smart, which is one of the reasons why I made the decision to spend time with him. I loved Brad. I never had the capacity to fall in love with him, but I figured if I’m gonna live a less than satisfied life, this is the guy I could live my life with. If I’m gonna be with a boy, this is the boy." She held him in high esteem and great affection in every way other than sexual attraction. In her autobiography she expressed remorse for how she treated him, and told Oprah Winfrey that "I have a lot of regret for how that relationship began and had a middle and ended. I had no business being in a relationship with him".
    In 2000, while touring with singer Brad Paisley, Wright and Paisley cowrote the duet "Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife", which they performed in their joint shows and at the Grand Ole Opry's 75th anniversary, televised by CBS.
    More Details Hide Details The Opry performance was later nominated for Vocal Event of the Year at the 35th Annual CMA Awards.
  • 1999
    Age 28
    In 1999, her fourth album, Single White Female, produced several hit songs and her first gold album certification.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1997
    Age 26
    After releasing two unsuccessful albums through Mercury/Polygram, Wright asked to be released from her contract and signed with MCA Nashville. There, she had her first top twenty country hit in 1997 with the song "Shut Up and Drive," off her third album, Let Me In.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1994
    Age 23
    On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) named her Top New Female Vocalist in 1995.
    More Details Hide Details Wright's first Top 40 country hit came in 1997 with "Shut Up and Drive". Two years later, her fourth album yielded a number one single, the title track, "Single White Female". Overall, Wright has released seven studio albums on various labels, and has charted more than fifteen singles on the country charts.
  • 1993
    Age 22
    From 1993 to about 2004, Wright maintained a committed relationship with a woman she described as "the love of my life", a woman she met shortly after winning her first recording contract.
    More Details Hide Details The era of their relationship overlaps Wright's rise to chart-topping stardom. They maintained their union even though her partner subsequently married a man, and even while both women briefly had heterosexual relationships. During their final five years they lived together, the relationship suffered numerous breakups and reconciliations due to the strain of being closeted, the fact that "neither one of us thought it was acceptable to be in a gay relationship", and Wright's prolonged absences while performing on tour nationally and internationally.
    In 1993, Harold Shedd signed her to Mercury/Polygram, and her first album was released in 1994 on the Polydor label.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1989
    Age 18
    The summer before her senior year of high school, she worked as a performing musician at the Ozark Jubilee, a long-running country music show in Branson, Missouri. In 1989, immediately after high school, she landed a position in a musical production at Opryland USA, a now-defunct theme park in Nashville, Tennessee.
    More Details Hide Details She lived permanently in Nashville until 2008.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1970
    Born
    Born on October 25, 1970.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)