Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-01-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC Cris Williamson talks music, love and the industry
by John Stadelman
2018-09-17

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Cris Williamson—the legendary singer-songwriter, feminist, activist and trailblazer for women in the music industry—received the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept. 12 from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, alongside longtime friend and Olivia Records co-founder Judy Dlugacz.

Williamson's career has spanned over thirty albums in fifty years. The success of her 1975 independent release, The Changer and the Changed, brought Olivia Records into the limelight. She's just kicked off her Reunion Tour with Olivia Records veterans Barbara Higbie and Teresa Trull.

Windy City Times: So you're starting your reunion tour with Teresa and Barbara. How does that feel?

Cris Williamson: Oh, it's just the best because they're two of my very best friends. They're soloists as well, so when you put three soloists together you got a pretty good orchestra there. It's everything from R&B to jazz to folk to whatever it is that I do, whatever we want to call that!

WCT: You've had a pretty long career spanning over 50 years, and you've released a plethora of albums. I'm curious what your experiences have been in that time.

CW: So glad to be working, period. We had to invent ourselves. First, we had to invent the delivery system because it didn't exist.

There were, of course, and always have been gay men in the arts industry that did not use that as their platform. They were mostly desperate to fit in and not be discovered because it was dangerous. Somebody like Rock Hudson: everybody knew, rumors abounded, but still he kept [secret] until the very end and there was a lot of his life that, like many gay artists, had to be left behind, or had to be cloaked in this kind of quasi-normality that was defined by somebody else.

So we defined our own normal. Just be yourself, love who you want to love. … The only reason I think we're here is to love one another.

WCT: Have you seen Olivia Records as a catalyst for giving a platform to gay and lesbian musicians?

CW: Oh, yeah—absolutely. It just wasn't there. We invented it, and there's of course the technology changes to where nobody needs a label now. You can just put everything on a thumb-drive and hand it to your public. None of that existed. Technology-wise, [it's] not so long ago, but how fast things change—changed the delivery system.

So we were that platform for many artists: a place to grow, a place where we had women who would show up if you put a flier on their windshield. At least for me, the music I make is for the human condition. There's not so much gender in there as it is philosophy, as how to exist and live in this world as a good human being. We need to be looked at as part of the human race, and not as these separate people who are ghettoized—although once you're in the ghetto you can make amazing music, we know that, that the obstacles in life can become gateways.

WCT: Could you talk a little more about, looking at when you first started out back in the 1960s and '70s, the differences and similarities that you see today for gay and lesbian artists?

CW: I do see that the past is there now pretty strongly and artists can take it as they wish. They don't have to fear the same things that we did in our time, [although] in some cases I guess you do because violence is violence and hatred is hatred and that increased. Sometimes I think freedom is an illusion and we have to take it every day, to be a free as we are. You can't assume that everything is free, because it still has to be made for everybody. If I want it for myself then I have to say, "I want it for you, too." Because do you have the luxury to only care for a certain amount of people, or do you work really hard on loving everybody? Having that be a real thing, [to] become the change you wish to see in the world.

And that's my goal. I want this world to get along… I think art is necessary, I think music is necessary in the world and so in that respect I have the greatest job in the world.

WCT: What advice would you give to young LGBT musicians who are just starting out?

CW: Probably first thing is: Don't expect to be on the big stage right away. Play for everything. That's the way I did it. Come up the hard way. It's honest. … Take the journey and take a long time, sing everywhere, perform everywhere for everyone. It's easy to preach to the converted, it's difficult to play a bar, or an eating establishment where you're just background noise and you don't feel like a star. Well you're not there yet!

I was born almost solely pledged. I knew how to do it but I chose the hard, honest path and I haven't ever regretted that. Get good at your work, get good at your art, practice, practice, practice.

And practice relating to people when you're up there. There's a lot of smoke and mirrors that goes on where you dress in costume or you appear in ways kind of like drag. They clothe themselves in the form of somebody else, which doesn't interest me as much. What I'm interested in is when people appear as themselves.

WCT: And that goes back to the honesty?

CW: That's right. I'm just not good at it! [Laughs] I have no ability to wear costumes, because I like who I am so much. That's my other piece of advice: You've gotta be well to do this. Because there's great sickness in the world. Music is the best there is—a song can turn a heart.

See Cris Williamson with Barbara Higbie and Teresa Trull at the Unitarian Church of Evanston on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., with tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3612727 .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Times Square site of WorldPride Closing Ceremony, Melissa Etheridge to perform 2019-01-15 - NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY 15, 2019 — NYC Pride, the official host of WorldPride 2019 and Stonewall 50, is thrilled to announce further ...


Gay News

LPAC endorses Lori Lightfoot for Mayor 2019-01-15 - Washington, DC ( January 15, 2019 ) — LPAC, the only organization devoted to building the political power of LGBTQ women, announced the ...


Gay News

Midwest Action; Guided by Voices 2019-01-13 - Concert-wise, 2018 ended with a shriek while 2019 started with a jolly howl. On Dec. 29, local entrepreneurs and life partners Alyssa Welch ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky players wed 2019-01-09 - Chicago Sky teammates Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley got married in Seattle Dec. 27, according to the women's basketball website SwishAppeal.com. Seattle is ...


Gay News

Women & Children First bookstore events include Shout Your Abortion 2019-01-09 - Women & Children First Loves Chicago Books to Women in Prison Donation Drive January 2 through February 14 We're kicking off the new ...


Gay News

'San Antonio Four' have records cleared 2019-01-09 - Four Texas women who were imprisoned almost 15 years after being wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting two young girls have finally had their ...


Gay News

Annual Burning Bowl Jan. 12 at Morgan Park 2019-01-09 - Affinity Community Services is hosting its annual kick-off event, Burning Bowl, on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, 1-4 p.m., at Morgan Park UMC at ...


Gay News

Camper van Beethoven members on coming out, performing 2019-01-09 - Alternative rock band Camper Van Beethoven broke into the music scene with "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and enjoyed major success with a cover ...


Gay News

Novelist's fascination with history comes alive on stage 2019-01-09 - Novelist Emma Donoghue has had a long and rewarding relationship with Regency historical figure Anne Lister. Lister created a series of coded ...


Gay News

Sinfonietta's MLK concerts Jan. 20-21 2019-01-09 - Chicago Sinfonietta will present its signature annual MLK Tribute Concert—featuring the conducting talents of Chicago Sinfonietta Assistant Conductor Kedrick Armstrong and Charleston Symphony ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.