Country singer and LGBTQ advocate Chely Wright is coming to the area in the days before Christmas to bring a little holiday cheer to her fans with country hits and holiday songs from her new album, “Santa Will Find You!”
Wright admits she’s one of those people who breaks out the Christmas music as soon as humanly possible in anticipation of the holidays.
“Like most people, I love holiday music,” she said. “I start playing it after Halloween. I’m that person.”
Being somewhat in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to Christmas music, we commended her for taking a creative high road for her sonic holiday offerings.
“At the end of the day when I’m dead and gone, I hope people will hear my body of music and say, ‘That made sense,’” she said. “Unfortunately, when it doesn’t make sense, it sticks out like a sore thumb. At this point in my career, I’m trying to protect my catalog and not stink it up in any way. I feel pretty satisfied that this brings more to the table than it takes from the table.”
Wright said that while she was in the studio recording tracks for her Christmas album, she also recorded a new batch of country songs that she plans to release early next year.
Wright became a vocal supporter of LGBTQ causes in 2010, when she became one of the first major country music stars to come out. When we asked about her plans for 2019 on the advocacy front, Wright didn’t hesitate to list the things she intends to focus on.
“I’m championing truth,” she said. “I can’t believe what a post-truth world we are living in. Opinions seem to rank right up there with facts. I continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community and stay in and hold that space. I’ve been out for eight years and maybe five years in, I thought, OK, our work here is done. Marriage equality is the law of the land. How wrong I was. Most of the people I talk to are young people trying to come to terms with their sexual identity. More times than not, it’s spiritual-based bashing that hurts them the most, with parents and their faith community telling them they are not OK. That seems to be the thing that I feel most passionate about.”
We also asked Wright about progress in accepting LGBTQ artists in the world of country music.
“Progress has been made,” she said. “Mainstream artists are finding a little more footing to voice their support of gays and lesbians. Do I wish we had made more progress? Yeah. Am I embarrassed that we haven’t made more progress? Yeah. Progress is just something you can’t keep from happening. That said, I think gay and lesbian artists who are in country music and still in the closet — I get it.”
Wright added that while the country-music industry and demographic are still very conservative, things still are shifting, albeit slowly, in a more positive direction.
“I see a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said about how people’s views are changing. “It used to be 5 percent of country-music fans were OK with gay issues. That’s not the case anymore. It’s probably 30 percent. As the American populace changes, ideology and hearts and minds change. It can’t help but change in country music as well. It just changes a little bit slower and a little bit less.” n
Chely Wright performs 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at Sellersville Theater 1894, 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville. For more information or tickets, call 215-257-5808 or visit www.chely.com.