Melissa Etheridge Recalls Performing at Prisons as a 12-Year-Old in ‘I’m Not Broken’ Clip

Melissa Etheridge is documenting her special concert to uplift the incarcerated women at Topeka Correctional Facility in a new two-part series, Melissa Etheridge: I’m Not Broken.

In a preview clip shared exclusively with Billboard, the country superstar recalls performing at prisons as a child. “When I was 12 years old, I had just played the guitar and I had been writing folk songs. It’s 1973, and we played the VA Center, which was interesting,” she revealed. “Then, we had been asked to do the show at the federal penitentiary. When I sang, that audience made me feel like a female Johnny Cash. It was electric. Then, I played the state penitentiary, then I played the women’s penitentiary. It’s so funny to come here to prison and say, ‘This is my favorite prison and I had such a great experience here.’ But it really was.”

She continued, “Going inside those walls as a 12 year old was informative to me as a child.”

Premiering July 9 on Paramount+, the docuseries will follow Etheridge as she plans to bring happiness to the Topeka Correctional Facility after receiving letters from some of its residents. Eventually, Etheridge writes an original song in their honor and performs it for them at the facility, which is located in her hometown in Kansas. The show will also touch on how many of the residents struggle with substance abuse issues, something Etheridge has a personal connection to. The “I’m the Only One” singer lost her son Beckett to an opioid addiction in 2020, when he was just 21 years old.

Watch the clip from I’m Not Broken exclusively via Billboard below.

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