It looks like George Michael was one of the only people that everybody loved. His untimely passing shocked the world and many fans as well as celebrities rushed to pay their respects to the musical legend. People Magazine even had a commemorative edition dedicated to him called George Michael: A Pop Star Life in which Melissa Etheridge spoke about the wonderful memories she had with the late Wham! singer.
When asked whether or not she remembers their first meeting, Etheridge knew exactly when and how it happened.
“Yeah, we did a photo shoot in 2000 for The Advocate. We did the Millennium March on Washington’s Equality Rocks concert at the RFK Stadium. It was George and myself and Garth Brooks and Chaka Khan . . . a really big, fun thing to do. It was just after he had come out, and he was really into it. There’s a wild freedom when you first come out. He was really in that space.”
The interviewer wondered if the LGBTQ community loved him so much even before coming out.
“Oh, completely. We enjoyed him for so long. There are some people you just know are [gay]. You think, ‘I wish you would come out! He’s making the music we love. He was that handsome gay man we love!’ So of course when he finally did, you were just sorry it was so messy.”
What was he like?
“He was a tiny bit guarded. He was very kind. He was musically really brilliant. I think people would be surprised at how musical he was. To be so talented and to look so beautiful, you know? Sometimes the beauty gets in the way, and they don’t realize how talented you are. He was English, so he had that reserve about him. [But] he was very warm.”
What about his music – does Melissa enjoy his art as much as he admires the human behind it?
“In the Wham! years, not so much. I was a little ‘Oooh, that was too bubblegum. That’s a bit too much sugar.” The shorts [he wore] were too short. I was all lesbian with my hairy armpits and mullet. I think I was at the club Rage in Hollywood when ‘I Want Your Sex’ came on, and it was like, ‘What is that?!’ I was like ‘Okay, I’m a fan.’ The Faith album was ridiculous. ‘Father Figure,’ ‘Faith,’ ‘I Want Your Sex’ … You couldn’t get any bigger. And then Listen Without Prejudice.”
Finally, perhaps the most pregnant question from the interview, now that the singer is no longer with us is about his legacy – “What do you think of his impact on pop culture?”
“I think his beautiful voice and his beautiful face and his beautiful moves and his beautiful music were such a gift. It was such a beautiful androgyny and a different type of masculinity that was huge in the ’80s and the ’90s. It really opened up a lot of doors for LGBT people to feel confident about themselves. And when he finally did come out, it was like, this is you! He represented this sort of artistic female-ish side. He was a beautiful mix of man and woman. The male and female, that gorgeous sort of yummy thing.”