Chely Wright dishes on her new album and LGBT non-profit, Like Me

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over five years since country singer Chely Wright came out in People magazine. So much has changed since then for the LGBT community. Marriage is now a right for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. DOMA is dead, as is Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We still have a way to go, but there’s no denying that the last five years have signaled a change for many of us, including Chely.

10th Annual Family Equality Council Night At The Pier

Chely has been making a new path for herself since her much publicized coming out, becoming an activist, author and advocate for the LGBT community. She’s also a mother of twin boys and wife to LGBT activist Lauren Blitzer. In 2010, Chely penned the memoir Like Me, which detailed her life as a popular country music singer who lived her life very much in the closet. She also came out with her first album as an openly gay woman, Lifted Off the Ground. The documentary Wish Me Away followed Chely as she prepared to come out publicly, played at many film festivals and secured a spot on Showtime.

Lauren and ChelyFamily Equality Council 9th Annual Night At The Pier

She’s currently working on her new album, thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign. 

“It was such a great success and it was, again, one of those moments where it just hits you like, ‘This is why I do what I do,'” Chely said. “Making records and hearing from fans that have supported me for 20 years that were like, ‘Yeah, I’ll chip in.’ That was really exciting,” Chely says. “We are mixing right now. Joe Henry—the amazing Grammy Award-winning producer—he produced this record. I was in LA for 12 days as we tracked it in September and right now we are in the mixing process and it will be out, I’m guessing, mid-2016, depending on what the label’s schedule of release looks like.”

Chely has really stretched her wings on this new album, which should be exciting for longtime and new fans. “It is definitely unlike anything I’ve ever done,” she said, “and it’s the record I wanted and needed to make.”

In addition to her creative pursuits, Chely has spend the last few years trying to make the world a better and safer place for the LGBT community in her home city of Kansas City, MO. She created the Like Me organization and the Like Me Lighthouse, which, according to their website, was established “to provide a safe and welcoming space where LGBT individuals and their families, friends, and straight allies can come for education, resources and to build a cohesive LGBT community in the Midwest.”


The center provides counseling, educational resources as well as a community for those who need it. For the last four years, Chely has spearheaded a benefit comedy event to raise funds for the center and past performers have included Margaret Cho and Wanda Sykes, to name a few. This year, Michael Ian Black and Fortune Feimster are among the headliners, and a special honor will be presented to actor and activist Wilson Cruz. Chely will be there (although not performing this year) and the event is bound to be a fantastic time.

“It will be a really, really fun night,” Chely said. “We always have a great crowd that turns out and inevitably we end up having people who come to the event to see the talent that didn’t even know about the Like Me Lighthouse. Believe it or not, even after being there for four years, we still have some ground to cover about letting people know that we are there. On the other hand, we’ve grown leaps and bounds in community awareness in the past four years. I saw a lady in the airport with a Like Me T-shirt on.”

T-shirts are just one of the ways that you can help the Like Me organization. You can donate, volunteer and even simply spread the word.

“They could share the link,” Chely says. “They could share the story, they could send it to their friends in the Midwest and say, ‘Hey, you should like this page.’ Social media really matters as we all know, that would be the best way,” Chely said. “Of course we’ll always take the money because we are fully non-profit, fully volunteer run. But just awareness. Tell people you know in Kansas City, ‘Hey you guys, this is there and this event will be there.’ And even if you can’t make it to the event, put it on your page. Hit the ‘like’ button, retweet something. All of that stuff matters.”

And of course, if you are in Kansas City or the surrounding areas, you can attend the Like Me Lighthouse Benefit Concert on November 13th at the Folly Theater.