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Boo! Country Singer Chely Wright Says Coming Out Hurt Album Sales

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chely wright comments on coming out and career

Back in May, country singer Chely Wright made the brave move to come out, making her the first "out" lesbian in the country music world.

Now, during an interview, Chely has commented on how coming out has unfortunately hurt her album sales.

Here's what she had to say about it:

"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."

We're so sad to hear that Chely, but we are SO impressed with the positive attitude you've maintained!

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53 comments to “Boo! Country Singer Chely Wright Says Coming Out Hurt Album Sales”

  1. 1

    Can't say for sure.
    But I do know that Melissa Etheridge did just fine even after coming out.

    Could it be that Chely just doesn't have a hit with any real traction? That happens regardless of sexuality.

  2. 2


  3. 3

    Um - what about KD Lang? Wasn't she a well known lesbian in country music?

  4. 4

    Lang appeared on the cover of the August 1993 issue of Vanity Fair. The cover featured Lang in a barber chair while model Cindy Crawford appeared to shave her face with a straight razor.[13] The issue contained a detailed article about Lang which observed that she had thought that she would be ostracized by the country music industry when she came out as a lesbian. However, Nashville was accepting, and her records continued to sell.

  5. 5


  6. 6

    This isn't surprising since many country music fans are uneducated, right-wing rednecks….

  7. 7

    HA! dis bitch is trippin. How many "records" has she even had? I bet her sales went from 100 to 50 I'm sorry that her stunt didn't work but what did she think was gonna happen? she'd be the lesbian Carrie Underwood?

  8. 8

    could it be that it has nothing to do with your sexuality and that mebbe, just mebbe people don't like your music?

  9. 9

    Agreed with suzieq2, KD Lang? Check your facts, Perez.

  10. 10

    sad to hear, but life will get better. she already made a brave step which was excepting herself.

  11. 11

    Oh please! Didn't she have like 1 hit in the mid 90s? She's not even famous. Her fucking records weren't selling before she came out either. She needs to get a grip. There is no way she can blame her shitty record sales on coming out.

  12. 12

    She needs to leave Country music behind and do pop, then. Ricky Martin, Adam Lambert, Melissa Etheridge…they are all out and successful. Country is only one genre of music. If Taylor Swift can cross over from country, I'm sure that Chelly can, too.

  13. 13

    Or…because her new music is shit… that too….

  14. 14

    And let me say…A LOT of artists lose their "mojo" and it has nothing to do with their sexuality. Maybe her music just sucks…no offense. I would rather my albums not sell b/c my music sucks than because of the fact that I'm gay.

  15. 15

    HA! Sure! It couldn't have been because most country fans had no idea who she was and that she used her "coming out" as a marketing tool that backfired.

  16. 16

    You mean to tell us you and your fellow gays didn't purchase her new music the day it was released. So much for supporting your fellow gays. Hypocrite.

  17. 17

    i think it's because she was in country when it wasn't as popular as it is now (a.k.a. taylor swift who isn't even really true country). therefore, i highly doubt it had anything to do with her coming out. it's probably just an excuse that can help with her disappointment.

  18. 18

    Her music sucks!!! Perhaps if she had an ounce of talent, her albums sales wouldn't be so bad.

  19. 19

    Idk her but she's beautiful and its sad anyone is targeted like that. I love classic country music as a lesbian I love Hank Williams Sr, Johnny Cash Conway twitty Ronnie milsap and many other legends but its no secret a lot of the listeners are closed minded Christians. Sad generalization but it's true. KD Lang did do it and she's a legend and Roy Orbison himself chose her to sing cryin so keep on at it girl ignore those ruthless mother fuckers who can't see love between two women is beautiful! God's finest art work if u ask me!

  20. 20

    Ummm…Yeah…Ok…so lets blame the fact that the lack of album sales on her (publicity stunt of) coming out as a lesbian. It couldn't be the fact that her last "hit" was back in the '90's…or perhaps that her music is no longer current. or relevant.

  21. 21


  22. 22

    Well, I'm a country fan, and I don't care who people are sleeping with as long as their music is good. And honestly, Chely Wright hasn't had a hit since 1999, and I wouldn't have known that if it hadn't been repeated multiple times in all the reports when she came out. Maybe there are idiots who are targeting her, but it wouldn't be such an issue if she had a good song to put out.

  23. 23

    I doubt being gay had anything to do with her album tanking. Her music probably sucks.

  24. 24

    Country music has such a narrow minded audience for mainstream. This is one of the reasons I don't supports movies like "Country Strong" because its target market doesn't support diversity in music. Please support Chely Wright because her music is honest and inspiring.

  25. 25

    C'Mon I like Chely's songs , In fact I spend all Summer hearing them, but What
    she is saying is ridiculous!
    In fact since she come out she is more well-Known. I also know that probably lots of Country music lovers stopped buying her albums but other side she gained more fans!
    At least in Europe and rest of the World. I know it because I'm from Portugal and I didn't knew her until she came out. In fact, one of the reasons that her last album didn't sold so much might be because the sound on it was a little different (more calm and depressing).

    Well, this is just my opinion from what I've been reading online about her, because as I told before I don't live in USA so I can't really say if her album sold less. BUT I still believe that the sold had nothing to do with the fact she's a lesbian Because I keep reading about new-fans who say they didn't know her until she came out.

  26. 26

    The difference is that most people who listen to country are bigots and love peole like Sarah Palin. She should consider her audience's political leanings. There's a reason country music appeals so much to simpletons.

  27. 27

    who is she???

  28. 28

    She claims you won't hear her bitching and moaning about it but that is exactly how it comes across, she's just trying not to be obvious about it. Not everything has to do with being discriminated against, maybe people just don't like the music she's putting out. Seems like she has an nice ego, "it must be because I'm gay it couldn't possibly be my music!".
    Also I used to care about gay rights but I no longer really care anymore, all these stories Perez posts about so-called discrimination that really isn't, yeah gay people have to deal with some shit in their lives but you know what? We all have to deal with shit in our lives, there is always going to be someone who doesn't like you or who doesn't want to accept you, whether you're gay or straight, even if they don't really have any reason for doing so. Just get on with life and stop feeling like a victim all the time.

  29. 29

    Sorry about the drop in sales and salary but everyone in America doesn't agree with the gay life style.

  30. 30

    Of course it hurt her sales. People don't like gays. Deal with it.

  31. 31

    joe schmoe How dare you generalize country fans. Country has been around far longer than even rock and is only generalized by ignorant assholes such as yourself. There are plenty of right wing, ignorant assholes in pop, rock and rap as well. Stop being a douche.

    Chely Wright was NEVER well played even before she came out. She's using it as an excuse. The only reason I'd even seen her face is because she dated Brad Paisley for a time. It's easy to fall back on a cop-out when you just flat out fail. Even women like Jo Dee Messina are having a hard time getting back on radio and she had several hits and was backed up by Tim McGraw on her biggest hit. Unless you're young and blonde right now and make a hell of a music video you're gonna have more trouble with country right now. It's the trend. People languish for years before hitting it big, but blaming who you sleep with is just flat out lame.

  32. 32

    I can't stand to see how many ignorant people just assume most country fans are ignorant, racist, bigots. Even in the early days we had Charlie Pride, who happened to not be white. In an industry so "backward" as so many of you seem to think they are, maybe you should do some research. Look up Lorretta Lynn's lyrics for "The Pill". She is the QUEEN of country and is hardly right wing. Yes, there are some rednecks out there who are ignorant. But I bet you a million dollars you can find JUST as many listening to rock, metal and rap. Generalizations just make you ignorant.

  33. Zoom says – reply to this


    No one has given a crap about this woman BEFORE she came out,why would they now? She has been through 3 or 4 record labels and hasn't had a hit song in 10 to 12 years.I'm glad it flopped because the only reason she came out was to BOOST her sales.Funny it back-fired. As a country music fan,gay or straight,her music sucks.(no pun intended)

    And if she is "fine with that" why is she complaining? Shut up and go away

  34. 34

    Or maybe her album just didn't sell well. Albums tank.

  35. 35

    She should have been honest to herself and her fans right from the get-go. Instead, Chely chose to string Brad Paisley along, and then throw John Rich (of Big & Rich) under the bus for no reason.

  36. 36

    Ummm It didn't help her sales because she's not popular… just as it wouldn't have hurt her sales if she were.

  37. Stepy says – reply to this


    Sorry, but she SUCKS. I didnt like her before she came out…and I still dont like her.

    What hurt her sales is that people got pissed off that she tried to make whatshisface from Big and Rich out to be a homophobe without even discussing it with him first.

    Try to do people dirty to get famous in country music and you lose fans QUICK.

    Idk if shes gay or straight, but I do care if youre a heinous bitch.

  38. Stepy says – reply to this


    Re: joe schmoe – Wow. Stereotype much? Asshole.

  39. 39

    i've never even heard of this person.

  40. 40

    Re: penny1206 – Right on! Gays lap up music by Beth Ditto, Adam Lambert & gay icons such as Cher, Kylie Minogue, etc. Therefore, one can only conclude that it is gays who are prejudiced against country music.

  41. 41

    Re: joe schmoe

    Isn't that a pretty bigoted comment in its own? You're no better than the people that your criticizing.

  42. @v@ says – reply to this


    Poor Chely. Dixie chicked by the religious right. A less homophobic country and she likely would have been fine, but even cut in half the U.S. sales might be better than moving. At least she's living in her own skin.

  43. Ammie says – reply to this


    How much you wanna bet that those who are harrassing her were not even fans in the first place . . . just some idiots. I would say that there is more than one reason sales could be down.

  44. 44

    So what she's saying is her plan of getting publicity for coming out back-fired on her… okay.

  45. 45

    she sang better when she was straight.

  46. 46

    K.D. Lang was the first open Lesbian in country music. ( Second if you consider Randy Travis, LOL) JK. People are OD'img on the gay hype. Just like when everyone got PC. If the media would concentrate on talent, noone would care about who was doing what. Hell, I'm gay and I wonder if there's anymore straight people in the entertainment field.

  47. 47

    Unfortunately Chely society moves forward in tiny babysteps.
    I hope your private life is better for being who you really are.
    Take care.

  48. 48

    Country fans…. they need to ease up on their honky tonk antiquated Jesus ways!!!

  49. 49


    First of all - to all of the ignorant dumbasses who seem to have a certain view of country music fans, you're extremely dumb. Way to make yourselves look absolutely ridiculous. WAY TO GO!

    Second of all - Chely Wright has one big single in the 90's. No one has ever liked her music and she's never been a huge star.

  50. 50

    I thought K.D. Lang who sounds Country to ME was the first to come out. Anyway, it's a shame but progress is slow and it may take many years before the generally conservative Country/Western crowd comes around.

  51. 51

    This is so stupid. I love country people, and consider myself pretty conservative politically. I also support gay marriage and equality. I know my music, and she has not been famous in YEARS. She only came out to try to boost her sales, which is sad IMO. I don't see how her sales could go down from basically nothing…

  52. 52

    Re: joe schmoe – WOW you're so educated! Dbag!

  53. 53