Melissa Etheridge’s Prison Performances Inspired by Johnny Cash

Melissa Etheridge’s Prison Performances Inspired by Johnny Cash

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Melissa Etheridge wants to make a ‘big impact’ like her country idol Johnny Cash.

The Breathe hitmaker, 63 — who we last saw rocking the red carpet — told People that she was inspired by the Ring Of Fire singer to give back to the community by preforming in prisons, like he did in the 1970s.

‘No one in Kansas City saw him. I thought, “Wow, prisons must be a place of fine entertainment.” And this is a goal. I would like to be that someday,’ she recalled from her childhood.

Since, the singer has preformed at correctional facilities near her hometown of Leavenworth and most recently at Topeka Correctional Facility, which is shown in her latest docuseries, Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken.

‘I wasn’t afraid of prisons or of what was going on in there,’ she noted.

‘And so I always knew that I wanted to get back and do that sort of Johnny Cash thing, the performance for people that really need it, who probably haven’t had entertainment in months, years, decades, and just how healing that can be,’ she said. 

Melissa Etheridge’s Prison Performances Inspired by Johnny Cash

Melissa Etheridge was inspired by Johnny Cash to give back to the community by performing in prisons, like he did in the early 1970s; seen on her docuseries I’m Not Broken

The Folsom Prison Blues singer notably preformed in various prisons, even playing at the Leavenworth prison in 1968 for an audience of 1,200; seen in 1969

The Folsom Prison Blues singer notably preformed in various prisons, even playing at the Leavenworth prison in 1968 for an audience of 1,200; seen in 1969

‘I had no idea what it would be like, and it was really beyond what I thought,’ the Kansas musician explained. 

The Folsom Prison Blues singer notably preformed in various prisons, even playing at the Leavenworth prison in 1968 for an audience of 1,200.

Per KC Yesterday, Cash recorded and released his live record At Folsom Prison after meeting with and signing autographs for prisoners.

Etheridge’s Paramount+ docuseries follows the country singer leading up to her performance at the facility and includes clips of her time on stage. 

She sang her latest hit I’m Not Broken, which was written in honor of all incarcerated women. 

‘The whole prison was not what I expected. I left very hopeful because of the people running it and how they feel about the women that were there,’ the singer said. 

‘The minute they walk through the door, they’re working to help them get back into society. It was such a great experience, and I learned so much. I can’t wait for the world to see it,’ she added.

The star also revealed that she had formed meaningful relationships with some incarcerated women via letter, leading up to the show. 

In the docuseries the women opened up about the positive impact the letter exchange had on their lives.

Etheridge's Paramount+ docuseries follows the country singer leading up to her performance at the facility and includes clips of her time on stage

Etheridge’s Paramount+ docuseries follows the country singer leading up to her performance at the facility and includes clips of her time on stage

'I wasn¿t afraid of prisons or of what was going on in there. And so I always knew that I wanted to get back and do that sort of Johnny Cash thing,' she said; Johnny seen in 1994

‘I wasn’t afraid of prisons or of what was going on in there. And so I always knew that I wanted to get back and do that sort of Johnny Cash thing,’ she said; Johnny seen in 1994

She sang her latest hit I'm Not Broken, which was written in honor of all incarcerated women

She sang her latest hit I’m Not Broken, which was written in honor of all incarcerated women

Per KC Yesterday , Cash recorded and released his live record At Folsom Prison after meeting with and signing autographs for prisoners

Per KC Yesterday , Cash recorded and released his live record At Folsom Prison after meeting with and signing autographs for prisoners

Per KC Yesterday , Cash recorded and released his live record At Folsom Prison after meeting with and signing autographs for prisoners

The hitmaker hopes that the docuseries will encourage others to extend grace understand that 'people can change and grow'

The hitmaker hopes that the docuseries will encourage others to extend grace understand that ‘people can change and grow’

According to Etheridge, the prison Warden permitted her to preform any song she wanted for as long as she liked. 

The hitmaker hopes that the docuseries will encourage others to extend grace understand that ‘people can change and grow.’

She has release 17 studio albums to date. 

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