LA Times Previews Chely Wright Doc


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This week's Scene features a look at LGBT life in Nashville, and includes an interview with country artist Chely Wright. Wright's experience coming out as the first openly gay country star is chronicled in the documentary Wish Me Away, which opens in Los Angeles tomorrow. (It's also now available on demand, and at iTunes and Amazon.)

Over at the Los Angeles Times, Gary Goldstein has a preview of the film. Here's an excerpt about Wright's experience with the Nashville country music industry:

And what a story it was, with one of its most pivotal strands demanding a close-up on Nashville, where Wright was once a hugely popular fixture and where she lived for 19 years until moving to New York in 2008.

But ever since she unveiled her true self in May 2010 with a one-two punch in People magazine and on the “Today” show, the singer-songwriter says she has been largely rejected by the tight-knit country music capital — and the country music machine in general.

“They just got really silent on me,” remarked Wright.

According to Wright, her record sales fell to around one-third of their previous level, invitations to major country music events dried up, and she has received hate mail and threatening letters. Perhaps most notably, Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry, where Wright performed more than 100 times, has yet to ask her back.

Wright’s last album, “Lifted Off the Ground,” released in 2010 in sync with her revelatory media blitz, was greeted by mixed reviews, virtually no airplay on mainstream country radio and weak business.

In addition, since she came out, hardly any of Wright’s country music contemporaries have publicly supported her. “On a human level,” said Wright, “I wonder why they can’t see the value that I told my biggest secret — particularly when you think it might get you excommunicated from your house of worship, your social circles and your industry.”


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