Chely Wright

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Chely Wright
Chely Wright Broadway.jpg

Image result for chely  wright DISCOGRAPHY

Image result for chely  wright DISCOGRAPHY

Image result for chely  wright DISCOGRAPHY

Image result for chely  wright DISCOGRAPHY

Image result for chely  wright DISCOGRAPHY

Image result for chely  wright

Image result for chely  wright

Image result for chely  wright

Image result for chely  wright

Wright at the premiere of Promises, Promises (c.2010)
Background information
Birth name Richell Renee Wright
Born (1970-10-25) October 25, 1970 (age 47)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Origin Nashville, Tennessee
Genres Country, Folk, Americana
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, author, producer, activist
Years active 1994–present
Labels Polydor, A&M, MCA Nashville, Painted Red, Vanguard
Associated acts Rascal Flatts, Diamond Rio, Brad Paisley, Richard Marx, Rodney Crowell
Website Official Website

Richell Rene Wright[1] (/ˈʃɛli ˈrt/; born October 25, 1970) is an American country music singer and activist. On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) named her Top New Female Vocalist in 1995. Wright’s first Top 40 country hit came in 1997 with “Shut Up and Drive“. Two years later, her fourth album yielded a number one single, the title track, “Single White Female“. Overall, Wright has released seven studio albums on various labels, and has charted more than fifteen singles on the country charts. As of May 2010, Wright’s previous eight albums and 19 singles released had sold over 1,500,000 copies in the United States.[1] In May 2010, Wright became one of the first major country music performers to publicly come out as lesbian. In television appearances and an autobiography, she cited among her reasons for publicizing her homosexuality a concern with bullying and hate crimes toward gays, particularly gay teenagers, and the damage to her life caused by “lying and hiding”.

She has written songs that have been recorded by Brad Paisley, Richard Marx, Indigo Girls, Mindy Smith and Clay Walker, among them Walker’s top ten hit, “I Can’t Sleep” that won her a BMI award. On May 4, 2010, Wright simultaneously released her memoir, Like Me, and her first album of new songs since 2005, Lifted Off the Ground.

Wright’s eighth album, I Am the Rain, was released on September 9, 2016, by MRI/Sony and was produced by Joe Henry. It entered the Billboard country chart at 13, the second highest debut of her career. It was also her first appearance on the Americana album chart, where it reached number 9.

Early years[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Wright grew up in a musical family in Wellsville, Kansas, a town with a population of less than 2,000. According to her autobiography, Like Me, she wanted to be a country music performer since the age of four, and realized at age eight that she was gay.

As a young child, Wright took piano lessons,[2] and began professional singing appearances by age 11,[3] including playing “Taps” on bugle at the funerals of veterans at the local American Legion.[4]

A Christian,[5] Wright harbored the belief that her sexual orientation was immoral, that her secret would kill her career hopes. From early childhood, she resolved to never confide her orientation to anyone or to pursue romantic relationships with women.[6]

The summer before her senior year of high school, she worked as a performing musician at the Ozark Jubilee, a long-running country music show in Branson, Missouri. In 1989, immediately after high school, she landed a position in a musical production at Opryland USA, a now-defunct theme park in Nashville, Tennessee. She lived permanently in Nashville until 2008. In 1993, Harold Shedd signed her to Mercury/Polygram, and her first album was released in 1994 on the Polydor label.[7]

Recording career[edit]

As a commercial artist[edit]

After releasing two unsuccessful albums through Mercury/Polygram, Wright asked to be released from her contract and signed with MCA Nashville. There, she had her first top twenty country hit in 1997 with the song “Shut Up and Drive,” off her third album, Let Me In. In 1999, her fourth album, Single White Female, produced several hit songs and her first gold album certification.[8] In 2000, while touring with singer Brad Paisley, Wright and Paisley cowrote the duet “Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife”, which they performed in their joint shows and at the Grand Ole Opry‘s 75th anniversary, televised by CBS. The Opry performance was later nominated for Vocal Event of the Year at the 35th Annual CMA Awards.[9] Wright also joined Diamond Rio for a song on their One More Day album, as well as Paisley’s Part II album, both released in 2001.

Wright’s fifth studio album, Never Love You Enough, was originally scheduled to be released on September 11, 2001 but due to the World Trade Center attack, the release date was postponed to September 25. Never Love You Enough debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. In these peak years of her popularity, Wright was named to People Magazine’s annual “50 Most Beautiful People” list in 2001[10] and ranked No. 93 among FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women of 2002”.[11] and later that year was ranked No. 18 of “The 20 Hottest Women in Music 2002”[12]

She also cowrote Clay Walker‘s 2003 top 10 single “I Can’t Sleep“.[13]

As an independent artist[edit]

Wright in 2009

In 2003, Wright parted ways with MCA Nashville after “Never Love You Enough” failed to meet sales expectations. In January 2004, she signed with a new independent label, Vivaton, and began preparation for a new album.[14] Although a music video was released for a song entitled “The Back of the Bottom Drawer,” the album never materialized. Wright split with Vivaton in June 2004.[15] She wrote and released a single, “The Bumper of My SUV” in late 2004, mostly through the Internet and various radio stations, in response to an altercation with an irate woman who noticed the United States Marine Corps bumper sticker on the back of Wright’s car.

The success of “The Bumper of My SUV”, released on Wright’s own Painted Red Music Group, was followed by the release of an EP, Everything. The record was made exclusively available through Wright’s website, but its success led to a deal with Dualtone Records.[16]

Wright’s sixth album, The Metropolitan Hotel, was released in February 2005 on Dualtone. The album debuted at No. 18 on Billboard’s Top Country chart and reached No. 7 on the Top Independent Albums chart. Wright signed to Vanguard Records in 2008. She released her seventh studio album, Lifted Off the Ground, on May 4, 2010, produced by Grammy Award winner Rodney Crowell. In October 2014 Wright’s Kickstarter campaign to fund her eighth studio album became the sixth most successful Kickstarter music campaign and the number one campaign in country music. It raised $250,000, which will allow Wright to record and promote the album and to produce a music video to be released in 2015.

In July 2016, Wright announced the release of her eighth studio album, I Am the Rain.[17] The album, which has roots in Americana, was produced by Joe Henry. It features collaborations with Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and The Milk Carton Kids and[18] the album has drawn comparisons to Carole King‘s Tapestry.[19] The album was released on September 9, 2016 through the Painted Red Music Group and RED Distribution. A U.S. tour is planned for 2017.

Personal life[edit]

There’s the gay community that now knows my name and it’s a long leap from the new demographic of people who will come to my Facebook page and hit the ‘Like’ button to them buying my record and coming to live shows. It’s a big stretch from those new fans to make up for the fans I lost. It didn’t help my career. My record sales went directly in half. If it appears from the outside in that it’s helped my career, it could be because I haven’t talked about the negative. You won’t hear me bitching and moaning on my Facebook about the hate mail I’ve gotten. My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, ‘I’m through with you Chely Wright, you’re going to hell’. There’s a big difference between press and advocacy and sometimes people forget that people who sing or make movies, this isn’t just a hobby for us. This is how I pay my bills. In coming out I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct. And, I am fine with that”.

—Wright commenting on career after coming out[20]

Despite her resolution against having sex with women, Wright disclosed in her memoir that, by her early thirties, she had had sexual relationships with two women. She had her first same-sex experience at age 19 — “it was the first time I’d ever had a girl’s body pressed against mine”[21]—and the affair lasted the better part of a year. From 1993 to about 2004, Wright maintained a committed relationship with a woman she described as “the love of my life”, a woman she met shortly after winning her first recording contract. The era of their relationship overlaps Wright’s rise to chart-topping stardom. They maintained their relationship even though her partner subsequently married a man, and even while both women briefly had heterosexual relationships. During their final five years they lived together, the relationship suffered numerous breakups and reconciliations due to the strain of being closeted,[22] the fact that “neither one of us thought it was acceptable to be in a gay relationship”,[23] and Wright’s prolonged absences while performing on tour nationally and internationally.

In the last months of 2000, Wright began a relationship with country singer Brad Paisley.[24][25][26] Even though Wright and her female lover had moved in together earlier that year, and Wright admitted she felt no sexual attraction to Paisley,[27][28] she recounted that “he’s wickedly smart, which is one of the reasons why I made the decision to spend time with him. I loved Brad. I never had the capacity to fall in love with him, but I figured if I’m gonna live a less than satisfied life, this is the guy I could live my life with. If I’m gonna be with a boy, this is the boy.”[29] She held him in high esteem and great affection in every way other than sexual attraction.[27][30] In her autobiography she expressed remorse for how she treated him,[31] and told Oprah Winfrey that “I have a lot of regret for how that [relationship] began and had a middle and ended. I had no business being in a relationship with him”.[32]

Wright eventually abandoned the belief that being lesbian is immoral and deviant:

I hear the word “tolerance”—that some people are trying to teach people to be tolerant of gays. I’m not satisfied with that word. I am gay, and I am not seeking to be “tolerated”. One tolerates a toothache, rush-hour traffic, an annoying neighbor with a cluttered yard. I am not a negative to be tolerated.[33]

Between 2004 and 2006, Wright came out to members of her immediate family and to a few of her close friends. It was not until 2007 that she decided to come out publicly, but spent the next three years writing her autobiography. She stated that she wanted to come out to free herself from the burdens of living a lie, to lend support to gay children and teenagers, and to counter the belief that gays are wicked and defective. On May 3, 2010, People Magazine reported her coming out.[34][35] Wright became one of the first [25][26][36][37][38] members of the country music community to come out as gay; country artist k.d. lang came out in 1992 (though she later abandoned the country music genre), and Kristen Hall, formerly of Sugarland, was openly gay while working with that band.[39][40]

On April 6, 2011, Wright announced her engagement to LGBT rights advocate Lauren Blitzer. The couple married on August 20, 2011, in a private ceremony on a country estate in Connecticut officiated by both a rabbi and a reverend.[41][42] On January 23, 2013, the couple announced that Chely was expecting identical twins.[43] Wright gave birth to George Samuel and Everett Joseph on May 18, 2013.

A documentary film about Wright’s extended coming out, entitled Wish Me Away, was released in 2011. The film shares its title with one of the tracks on her 2010 album, Lifted Off the Ground. The film premiered at the 35th annual Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on June 22, 2011.[44] It was filmed over three years.[44]

After U.S President Barack Obama announced his support for LGBT rights, Wright endorsed his re-election campaign in 2012.[45]


Wright is the founder of the charity Reading, Writing and Rhythm (RW&R),[46] which is devoted to musical education in America’s schools and helps supply musical instruments and equipment. It holds a fundraiser each June in Nashville, just before CMA Music Festival. In 2002 Wright received the MENC’s “FAME Award” in honor of the accomplishments of RW&R.[47]

Miscellaneous recognition[edit]

Wright signs an autograph for a wounded Marine

In 2001, Wright was given the “Stand Up For Music Award” MENC: The National Association for Music Education.[10]

In 2003, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the American Legion Auxiliary and “Kansan of the Year” for her career achievements, her charity work and her support of the U.S. armed forces.[citation needed]

In 2010, Wright was named the National Spokesperson for the organization GLSEN. Wright was named one of Out magazine’s annual 100 People of the Year. Metro Source New York Magazine named her as one of the 20 people We Love in 2010.[citation needed]


Studio albums
Compilation albums
Extended plays
  • 2004: Everything (EP)
  • 2005: Live EP (Digital EP)
  • 2011: Damn Liar – The Dance Remix (EP)


Wright made her acting debut in the Disney film Max Keeble’s Big Move. She plays Mrs. Styles, Max’s homeroom teacher.[48]


Year Awards Award Outcome
1995 Academy of Country Music Top New Female Vocalist Won
1996 TNN/Music City News Awards Star of Tomorrow Nominated
Jukebox Awards Best New Artist Nominated
1999 Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist Nominated
Best Music Video — “Single White Female” Nominated
Country Music Television Female Video of the Year — “Single White Female” Nominated
Country Weekly Awards Fast Track Artist Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Horizon Award Nominated
2000 Horizon Award Nominated
2001 Country Weekly Awards Vocal Collaboration (with Brad Paisley) — “Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife” Nominated
MENC Stand Up for Music Award Won
Country Music Association Awards Vocal Event of the Year (with Brad Paisley) — “Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife” Nominated
2002 CMT Flameworthy Awards Video Fashion Plate — “Jezebel” Won
People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful People Won
International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year (with Ralph Stanley and various artists)Clinch Mountain Sweethearts Won
2003 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Won
2005 Country Weekly Awards Star with Biggest Heart Nominated
Best Patriotic Song — “The Bumper of My SUV” Nominated
2006 Star with Biggest Heart Nominated
2010 Black Tie Dinner Media Award Won
OUTmusic Awards Vanguard Award Won
2011 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Inducted Won
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Musical Artist Nominated
Lambda Literary Awards Best Biography-Like Me Nominated
Documentary Channel Audience Award-Nashville Film Festival Best Documentary-Wish Me Away Won
Los Angeles Film Festival Best Documentary-Wish Me Away Won
New York LGBT Community Center’s Annual Center Women’s Event Woman of the Year Won
2012 Seattle LGBT Festival Audience Award, Favorite Documentary Film Won
San Francisco International LGBT Festival, Outstanding Documentary Feature Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary Won
Melbourne Australia LGBT Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary Won
Seattle LGBT Festival Audience Award, Favorite Documentary Film Won
Philadelphia Q Fest Jury Award, Best Documentary Won
Tallgrass Film Festival, Kansas Golden Strand Award, Best Documentary Won
Pittsburgh LGBT Festival Best Documentary Won
Fresno Real Pride Film Festival Audience Award, Best Documentary Won
Atlanta Out on Film Festival Jury Award, Best Documentary Won
Newfest Film Festival, New York City CENTERPIECE Won
2013 GLAAD Media Award Best Doc Nominated
Emmy Awards Outstanding Informational Programming—Long-Form Nominated
2014 Family Equality Council Outstanding Work as LGBT Activist Won
Actress (1 credit)
 2001 Max Keeble’s Big Move
Mrs. Styles

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Chely Wright discography
Country singer Chely Wright.jpg

Chely Wright in concert, 2009.
Studio albums 8
Compilation albums 3
Video albums 1
Music videos 19
EPs 2
Singles 23
Other appearances 8

American country artist Chely Wright has released seven studio albums, three compilation albums, one video album, two extended plays, 23 singles, 19 music videos, and appeared on eight albums. Wright first issued two unsuccessful studio albums under Polydor Records: Woman in the Moon (1994) and Right in the Middle of It (1996). Both albums were critically acclaimed despite their lack of success.[1] Her third studio album Let Me In (1997) reached number 25 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and spawned the hit single “Shut Up and Drive“.[2][3] It was Wright’s fourth studio album that brought forth her biggest success, Single White Female.[4] Released in May 1999, it reached number 15 on the country albums chart, number 124 on the Billboard 200, and certified gold from the Recording Industry Association of America.[5][6] The title track reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1999 and was followed by the top 20 hit “It Was“.[1][5]

Wright’s fifth studio record Never Love You Enough (2001) reached the top 10 of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Both the title track and “Jezebel” were top 30 hit singles on the country songs chart.[1] After releasing an extended play, Wright launched her sixth studio album in February 2005, The Metropolitan Hotel.[7] She took a five-year hiatus between the latter and her seventh studio album Lifted Off the Ground (2010).[1] Spending 13 weeks on the country albums chart, it peaked at number 32 and also charted within the Billboard 200.[2][8] Chely Wright has sold over one million records according to Nielsen Soundscan.[9]


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions, certifications, and other relevant details
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
US Country
US Indie
US Folk CAN Country
UK Country
Woman in the Moon
Right in the Middle of It
  • Released: January 9, 1996
  • Label: Polydor
  • Formats: Cassette, CD, music download
Let Me In
  • Released: September 9, 1997
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: Cassette, CD, music download
25 171 23 7
Single White Female
  • Released: May 18, 1999
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: Cassette, CD, music download
15 124 16 8
Never Love You Enough
  • Released: September 25, 2001
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: Cassette, CD, music download
4 62 7
The Metropolitan Hotel
  • Released: February 22, 2005
  • Label: Dualtone/Painted Red
  • Formats: CD, music download
18 96 7 3
Lifted Off the Ground
  • Released: May 4, 2010
  • Label: EMI/Vanguard
  • Formats: CD, music download
32 200 35 8
I Am the Rain
  • Released: September 9, 2016
  • Label: MRI/Sony/Painted Red
  • Formats: CD, music download
13 181 17 9
“—” denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

List of compilation albums, showing relevant details
Title Album details
20th Century Masters –
The Millennium Collection
  • Released: September 23, 2003
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: CD, music download
The Definitive Collection
  • Released: March 13, 2007
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: CD, music download
The Ultimate Collection
  • Released: October 6, 2008
  • Label: Humphead
  • Formats: CD

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, showing relevant details
Title Album details
  • Released: October 26, 2004
  • Label: Painted Red
  • Formats: CD
Chely Wright Live
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: Dualtone
  • Formats: CD
Damn Liar – The Dance Remix
  • Released: March 25, 2011
  • Label: Vanguard
  • Formats: Music download


As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions and other relevant details
Title Year Peak chart positions Album


“He’s a Good Ole Boy” 1994 58 55 Woman in the Moon
“Till I Was Loved By You” 48 66
“Sea of Cowboy Hats” 1995 56 74
“Listening to the Radio” 66 84 Right in the Middle of It
“The Love That We Lost” 1996 41 51
“The Love He Left Behind”[19]
Shut Up and Drive 1997 14 [A] 21 Let Me In
Just Another Heartache 39 51
I Already Do 1998 36 59
Single White Female 1999 1 36 1 Single White Female
It Was 11 64 37
“She Went Out for Cigarettes” 2000 49 84
Never Love You Enough 2001 26 Never Love You Enough
Jezebel 23
“Back of the Bottom Drawer” 2004 40 Everything
The Bumper of My SUV 54 The Metropolitan Hotel
“The Bumper of My SUV” (re-release) 2005 35
C’est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)[20]
“Broken” 2010 Lifted Off the Ground
“Damn Liar” (dance remix) 2011 N/A
“What About Your Heart” 2016 I Am The Rain
“—” denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As a featured artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions and other relevant details
Title Year Peak

“Scary Old World”[B]
(with Radney Foster)
2003 52 Another Way to Go

Other charted songs[edit]

List of songs, with selected chart positions and other relevant details
Title Year Peak

“Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife”
(with Brad Paisley)
2000 68 Grand Ole Opry 75th Anniversary, Vol. 2


Video albums[edit]

List of video albums, showing relevant details
Title Album details
20th Century Masters – The Best of Chely Wright
  • Released: April 20, 2004
  • Label: MCA Nashville
  • Formats: DVD

Music videos[edit]

List of music videos, showing year released and director
Title Year Director(s)
“He’s a Good Ole Boy”[21] 1994 Mary Newman-Said
“Till I Was Loved By You”[22] Bill Young
“Sea of Cowboy Hats”[23] 1995
“Listening to the Radio”[24] Steven Goldmann
“The Love That We Lost” 1996 N/A
“The Love He Left Behind”[25] Allen Coulter
“Shut Up and Drive”[25] 1997 Charley Randazzo
“Just Another Heartache”[25] Steven Goldmann
“I Already Do”[25] 1998 Gerry Wenner
“Single White Female”[25] 1999 Deaton-Flanigen
“It Was”[25]
“She Went Out for Cigarettes”[25] 2000
“Never Love You Enough”[26] 2001 Trey Fanjoy
“Back of the Bottom Drawer”[28] 2004
“The Bumper of My SUV”[25] N/A
“The River”[25] 2005 Brent Hedgecock
“Sex and Gasoline”[29]
(with Rodney Crowell)
2008 Rodney Crowell
“Sister, Oh Sister”[30]
(Rosanne Cash featuring Chely Wright)
2012 Devereux Milburn

Other appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
“Hard to Be a Husband, Hard to Be a Wife”[31] 2000 Brad Paisley Grand Ole Opry 7th Anniversary, Vol. 2
Part of Your World[32] N/A The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
“The Edge of Forever”[33] Richard Marx Days in Avalon
“Angel Band”[34] 2001 Ralph Stanley Clinch Mountain Sweethearts
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow![35] N/A Christmas Cookies
“I’m Trying”[36] Diamond Rio One More Day
“Scary Old World”[37] 2002 Radney Foster Another Way to Go
“Sister, Oh Sister”[38] 2012 Rosanne Cash Kin: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell

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