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Melissa Ferrick performs at Reel Pride LGBT Film Series

Melissa Ferrick — musician, songwriter, singer and, now, college professor — will perform the first concert to be included in New Port Richey Library's Reel Pride LGBT Film Series.

Associate director and outreach librarian Ann Scott knew Ferrick would be a good fit to close out the film series.

"Melissa Ferrick, an open lesbian, chronicles her life with her music, her work reflecting the highs and lows of life and love," Scott said. "She is inspirationally true to herself, surviving the industry, struggling with her own personal demons and blazing through with a brand new album titled The Truth Is."

The 42-year-old singer's career began in 1993, when she was signed to Atlantic Records.

The advent of female musicians performing alternative rock produced artists such as Liz Phair and PJ Harvey, and Ferrick was right there with them.

Her career highlights include touring with British singer Morrissey, penning more than 16 albums on which she played most of the instruments herself, and at one point, founding her own record label.

Now represented by MPress Records, Ferrick is gearing up to release her first self-produced album since 2004. The Truth Is, set to release June 4, chronicles the end of a relationship and the beginning of a new one.

The new album showcases Ferrick's musical growth.

This spring, she began teaching as an assistant professor in the songwriting department at Boston's Berklee College of Music, a post Ferrick has said makes her a more well-rounded musician.

As Ferrick makes her way to play her first concert in New Port Richey, she answered some questions for the Pasco Times via email.

What made you want to participate in the Reel Pride LGBT Film Series?

Well, first off I was just flattered to be asked, and the concept of playing in the library was really cool and unique to me.

What is the importance of being outspoken about your sexuality?

I don't feel like I need to be outspoken about it. I feel like I am honest about who I am, how and who I love.

It doesn't ever feel like an act of "work" to me, it just feels natural. I have been publicly "out" for a long time — with my family and friends since I was 16 — so my sexual orientation is not something I think about at all on a daily basis.

I do think it's important for me to live an open and honest life because otherwise I would feel like I was living a lie and that wouldn't feel good.

I do think being out is helpful to young queers, to lay some ground for them to feel like they are not walking alone.

How would you describe your body of work?

Expansive.

This is my 11th original album, and I have six other releases.

I think my song writing has improved drastically over the last seven years particularly, starting with In the Eyes of Strangers which came out in 2006.

I describe myself sometimes as a combination of the first two records I ever bought, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Elvis in Concert (1977).

Samantha Fuchs can be reached at sfuchs@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6235.

Melissa Ferrick performs at Reel Pride LGBT Film Series 05/28/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:26pm]

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