In this Sunday's finale episode Who Do You Think You Are? singer Melissa Etheridge, 53, uncovers stories of her ancestors and reflects on her own personal legacy. Check out Melissa's exclusive Q&A with 'Closer Weekly' about her experience on the hit TLC show below.
I had no idea what to expect. I knew a lot about my mother’s family but my father kept it really quiet. I’m glad they took my father’s side of the family that I knew nothing about. All of a sudden it’s like someone pulls back a back a curtain and you see into this rich pat and I think wait a minute, no I can’t define myself like that anymore look at this.
What’s so funny is just the night before when we were alone driving back to the hotel I said phew at least we don’t have slavery and then the next day boom and I went oh no.
Melissa on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'(Photo Credit: TLC)
There are so many stories and we could have gone through so many different lines. The beautiful thing about the show is that they do all this research and then they give it to you, and they only use one of the lines. At the end of it all when I get all the research I will have lines back through Simone Beauvoir. They could trace her French lineage and you know that goes all the way back. There was all these other people that came after - you know the second or third removed.
No my mother didn’t do that timeline - that piece of paper. My mother didn’t do that until after my dad had died. So it was just right before that. It was the one place my father came out of the country to see me. My first album was huge in Quebec and so I said dad I’m playing in Montreal and Quebec. So they flew up there and it was the first time they’ve been out of the country and saw my shows. I remember the show in Quebec City was huge. It was the first big outdoor thing I’ve every played. We went and were tourists and walked around and little did he know.
It sort of gives me clarity on some things I get all wound up as a parent. You start thinking that you have to do it for your children or that you have to make something happen for them to ensure their life or something. Yet when you look at everyone’s path in a family as they go out and make their life. This is what it is all about. It’s almost like I stopped worrying. My children are going to make their own path. You know they are going jump into canoe and go down to the new world. They are going to go where life calls them, and they may make money or lose money. Let everyones story be what it is.
I don’t know. I spent so much time thinking about the past and I think wow what if they were plucked out 200 years later. How crazy life must seem that we all look at these little electronic things in our hands. We talk to each other and send messages it’s just crazy.
No mostly just in how I think about it. It was very much an inside job about thinking yeah my family-a certain line of my family had slaves and that’s something you wish you were really far away from. Yet it can’t reflect on me. I certainly would not make that choice and so when I think about my great grand children I know they are going to be able to look up every word I said which is crazy. When all we really have is church records and stuff. That was one thing that surprised me that the Catholic Church was so huge but I guess everybody has that in their past that came from that sort of lineage.
I actually think about that. You know there’s my children then there’s my children’s children and then there is their children. They are going to say oh my great grandmother was- and then what’s the story? That’s all that is left is your story and then to be able to tell that story that story lives on and that is immortality. It’s beautiful and I hope I inspire them to go out there and live their lives truthfully and change the world. Change themselves.
Watch a clip of Melissa's appearance on 'Who Do You Think You Are' - which airs Sunday, April 26 at 10/9c on TLC - in the video below.
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