Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Samantha White
Melissa Ferrick has played the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival before. Many times, in fact. But there was a time she turned down the request to perform due to the festival’s “women-born-women policy,” she says. After discussing the issue with some friends and organizers of the event, and reevaluating the importance of the festival, she made the decision to return this year.
“There are a lot of women out there that only feel safe there,” Ferrick says. “The festival is the only place where some women can hold their girlfriend’s hand. There are some women who go there and aren’t even out yet.”
Ferrick appreciates and revels in the love she receives from the audience at the festival. She says, “It’s the one show I do that I get filled up (with love) to carry me into the fall.”
She encourages her fans to come and say hello at the festival and pick up a copy of her upcoming album, “Still Right Here,” which features 10 original tracks – one with Ani DiFranco, and another with guitar goddess Kaki King. The promo copies at the festival will include cover art not available in the version that’s released Sept. 13.
The title of Ferrick’s upcoming LP was inspired by her best friend who borrowed her car, got into an awful accident and miraculously walked away from it unscathed. It was also born from Ferrick’s rebirth as a label artist, after producing music independently for over a decade. “For me, it has something to do with how I put records out and how I’m seen by other people,” she says.
Ferrick may not have total control over her music as a newly signed artist on MPress Records, which she joined after deciding she finally felt comfortable collaborating with a label, but “I don’t want to do this by myself anymore,” she says.
Ferrick is not only expanding and evolving in business, she’s also growing as a writer. She says that she feels “more alive” than ever.
As a teacher at Berkeley in California she has broadened her writing horizon and finally jumped the hurdle of writer’s block she experienced over the past five years, prior to her upcoming release.
“I’ve been teaching 14 to 18 year olds at Berkeley and writing and re-writing. I’m around other writers and it has catapulted my writing. The kids are forcing me to write stuff and listen to stuff I have never heard of.”
But aside from her kids, she has her fans – who’ve been so loyal, she says, even in times where she was not producing any new music.
“A lot of people knew after ‘Goodbye Youth’ I had writer’s block and I was struggling, and they let me get away with that.”
That struggle is behind her, but she can’t help thinking of what she would’ve told herself: “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” she says. “And I would’ve laughed a lot earlier. I would try to be present.
“I have become a new person over the last three years,” Ferrick adds.
But she’s still here, and not going anywhere.
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival
Aug. 6, Night Stage
(Festival runs through Aug. 7)
For location and other details, visit http://www.michfest.com or call 231-757-4766