How Johnny Cash Inspired Melissa Etheridge To Finally Make This Career Move
(Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for Paramount+)

How Johnny Cash Inspired Melissa Etheridge To Finally Make This Career Move

Not everyone can follow in Johnny Cash's footsteps. Musically, it's not even remotely comparable to put people in his stratosphere. But it's also remarkable that he would step in prisons and inspire countless people locked in the penitentiary. Most people might worry about the optics or perhaps stress about their safety. Johnny didn't have these concerns. Thanks to him, Melissa Etheridge doesn't either.

Recently, the country crooner speaks with PEOPLE magazine to promote her newest docuseries, 'Melissa Etheridge: I'm Not Broken.' In this, she explains how Johnny Cash's prison concerts leave a profound impact on her early on, oozing into the present day.

Particularly, she recalls when Johnny performs at a Kansas prison in 1970. 9 years old at the time, she marvels in awe at Cash. ""No one in Kansas City saw him. I thought, 'Wow, prisons must be a place of fine entertainment,'" Melissa explains. "And this is a goal. I would like to be that someday."

Moreover, Johnny Cash's courage ensures Melissa that there is nothing to worry about when going to perform at a prison in Kansas herself. "I wasn't afraid of prisons or of what was going on in there," Etheridge emphasizes. "And so I always knew that I wanted to get back and do that sort of Johnny Cash thing, the performance for people that really need it, who probably haven't had entertainment in months, years, decades, and just how healing that can be. I had no idea what it would be like, and it was really beyond what I thought."

Melissa Etheridge Details Her Experience Performing at a Prison For The First Time

Melissa leaves her performance with deep gratification. "The whole prison was not what I expected. I left very hopeful because of the people running it and how they feel about the women that were there. The minute they walk through the door, they're working to help them get back into society," Etheridge expresses. "It was such a great experience, and I learned so much. I can't wait for the world to see it."

Additionally, she thought there would be tons of restrictions. For instance, Melissa walks in uneasy that she won't be able to perform certain records or she would work under tight time restrictions. However, the warden assures her it's not the case. Now, Etheridge is eager to share the docuseries with the rest of the world on Paramount+.