The Untold Truth Of The Indigo Girls

amy ray and emily sailiers comprise the musical duo known as the indigo girls a folk act who were openly gay at a time when few people were out of the closet over their decades-long career they've become icons who've inspired a generation of queer musicians amy ray and emily sailiers go back a long way they first met at laurel ridge elementary school in dekob county georgia although it wasn't until they were in the choir together at shamrock high school that they began singing together inspired by the likes of english writer virginia woolf and american poet frank stanford the pair honed their skills by learning cover tunes while writing their own songs while they were in high school rey and sailors first called themselves the b band after graduating they both attended emory university in atlanta rey was experiencing confusion within her soul and she found solace by making music with sailors she later explained to npr as soon as i felt the way our voices sounded together i was inconsolable except by the music we would make it was surely an amazing time as both young ladies came to realize that they weren't quite like other girls growing up in the south as a bar band that's what we're used to and that's what we like being gay in the 1980s was no easy feat just two decades earlier homosexuals were at risk of being jailed ostracized by friends and family losing their jobs and being defined as mentally ill although the lgbt rights movement was well underway the aids epidemic was casting a shadow over the community as marches on washington pleaded for compassion luckily for emily sailiers she was raised by liberal parents who encouraged her to be in touch with the social and political issues of the time amy ray's family was more conservative but she locked out by having two older siblings who were also gay over time sailors and rey have come to hope that being labeled a lesbian duo would be seen as a mostly positive thing as rey told the huffington post in 2016 what we hope for is a day where that distinction doesn't matter and doesn't carry weight however she was still waiting for a time when being known as a lesbian singer-songwriter wasn't a derogatory insult but an indication towards appreciating diversity nowadays the band's website includes an entire section on activism with support for everything from human rights to native and environmental causes and women's health it's worth noting at this point that although amy ray and emily sailiers are lifelong musical partners they are not and never have been romantic partners the truth is that both of the indigo girls are in long-term relationships just not with each other rey has been with her partner carrie schrader since 2006 and in 2018 schroeder gave birth to a daughter as rey told the atlanta journal constitution that year i've wanted motherhood for a long long time so it was time as for sailors in august 2013 she married her partner of 10 years former indigo girls tour manager tristan chipman they had welcomed a baby daughter together the previous november the two married in new york state since gay marriage was illegal in georgia at the time regardless of the indigo girl's relationship status they're happy to live as their true selves as rey told the huffington post in 2016 we're proud of who we are and what our identity is there are no hidden meanings behind the name indigo girls amy ray simply stumbled upon the word indigo and thought that it sounded cool with this new moniker rey and sailors continued playing local clubs with their favorite cover songs by popular artists of the day but they were also writing their own songs which led them to create their own record label in 1985.

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They called it j ellis records after an english teacher they both had a crush on one gig in particular proved to be pivotal for the indigo girls at the little five points pub in atlanta in 1986 the ladies held their first benefit show entitled songs for shelter the performance increased the band's popularity as well as their support of social justice causes in 1987 they self-produced their first full-length album strange fire the lp fueled the indigo girl's career further but it was also a stressful period signing with epic records in 1988 helped to relieve some of that strain amy ray and emily sailiers are both prolific songwriters in their own rights but who are their influences as it turns out their inspirations are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow in 2009 sailors mentioned to american songwriter the totally unsurprising revelation that she is a big fan of joni mitchell meanwhile her less obvious selections included the likes of beyonce jackson brown stevie wonder and even public enemy ray's list was a little more obscure as she cited the clashes joe strummer the crush and washington state musician danielle howell the indigo girls also draw inspiration from the social issues of the day when making their music their 2020 song muster for example addressed the 2018 marjory stoneman douglas high school shooting in parkland florida as ray told kcrw i just felt like we really screwed up the adult right now and we need to make it up to these kids naturally enough the duo also write about their queer identity their 2020 song country radio for example touches upon how growing up gay can be a lonely road to travel when the music you're listening to is targeted primarily to straight people i think what we are always trying to capture is like the core of what is important about us rey and sailors aren't just talented musicians they also have strong heads for business when they signed on with epic records in 1988 they made sure to retain artistic control nine albums later they switched over to hollywood records which is owned by disney hollywood dropped them in 2007 but ultimately that wasn't a problem for the indigo girls as rey told the spartanburg herald journal it definitely didn't feel like a bummer it felt like okay good now we can just sort of do our own thing and do our own kind of marketing and that's exactly what they did without missing a b the indigo girls soon had their own label ig recordings and they found it quite liberating to once again be independent and it sounds like they would love if other artists could have the same sort of freedom as sailors told arts atlanta in 2020 i have resentment for big labels that now are making all of the money off of streaming while so many artists who are struggling aren't seeing anything from that it's the same as it ever was you know big corporations see profit as the guiding force of business the indigo girls are a dynamic duo but sometimes rey and sailors go their own ways as they both have plenty of other projects to keep them busy when they aren't working together we just do so many separate things that indigo girls remains interesting to us and we support each other's individual endeavors rey has her demon record label which launched in 1990 and sailors will surely never forget the time that she and her father theologian don sailors promoted their book a song to sing a life to live reflections on music as spiritual practice at a united methodist women's convention some church members called for the event to be canceled because of emily's orientation but instead she said no way as she declared the crowd i want to hang with the methodists and after she performed an anti-war song her father joined her in singing psalm 139 to the crowd rey has also produced her own projects including nine solo albums between 2001 and 2020 as for sailors in 2017 she produced her own first solo album murmuration nation rey had nothing but praise for the effort telling the daily progress it's quite an accomplishment it's kind of alternative folk it's got beats meanwhile while working together the indigo girls are proud to be the only duo to have placed in the top 40 charts every decade from the 1980s to the 2010s unsurprisingly the indigo girls have fueled support for gay rights throughout their careers they came out just a year after their 1987 debut album and as amy ray would later admit to the anchorage daily news we were scared in the 80s we were scared to talk about it we were young and trying to figure it out despite that initial hesitancy before long everyone knew that the indigo girls were lesbians and they were willing to help people going through the same experiences but that effort didn't necessarily come easy there was one time in 1998 for example when they were banned from playing local high schools after parents complained as sailors told mother jones in 2000 first your feelings get hurt and then you get pissed the biggest and best weapon the indigo girls have is their voices both in their songs and in interviews in 2012 rey saluted president barack obama's support for gay marriage in an interview with out front magazine as she noted it helps when you have such a strong visionary that even when he is not effective in some ways he's effective in the way that we think about ourselves the indigo girls website cites their dedication to numerous causes including the environment independent media native american rights voter education women's health and of course queer rights as far back as 1990 amy ray was telling the baltimore sun there are so many problems that we don't feel like we can do enough one notable moment of political activism happened in 1998 when the girls publicly criticized then-texas governor george w bush for refusing convicted killer carla faye tucker's plea for mercy before she became the first woman executed in texas since the civil war one of the most notable aspects of their activism is their connections with the places they visit for example after they met native american activist winona leduc they then came to support indigenous activism as sailors explained to mother jones the focus of traditional indian peoples has always been respect everything in balance and considering future generations it's a paradigm of life that will be the only thing to save us in the end today the indigo girls continue to support fundraising and political causes and that approach has also been an essential factor in how they go about booking their tours as sailors told npr when we realized how easy it was to organize a benefit we also realized how much more gratifying organizing benefits were than just playing regular shows we're the indigo girls and we're looking out for aunt trees and thousands of other children whose lives have been torn apart by war as of may 2020 the indigo girls have performed 320 live concerts it's one thing to sound great on an album but it's quite another to sound great live truly great bands like the indigo girls can do both and early reviews of their shows reflect that when colorado writer and photographer tim van schmidt saw them in 1989 he declared their straight to the heart harmonies and impassioned delivery exhibited rare sincerity and when van schmidt saw amy ray backstage she kindly chatted with him before he was ousted by security here's another factoid about the indigo girls live shows that might surprise you in 2006 their website stated outright that fans were welcome to tape their shows although just the audio only then in 2020 rey and sailors adopted their live playing to the pandemic era when they performed before a coveted cautious sold out drive-in crowd in atlanta in october although as ray joked to the atlanta journal constitution this is not the way we thought we'd see ameris bank amphitheater it seems like nothing can stop this dynamic pair as they're planning more live shows beginning april 2021 as 1911 established described them recently decades into their career the indigo girls still amaze conventional pundits with their ability to grow and thrive no matter what the state of the music industry is at any given point simply put over the course of 30 years together rey and sailors haven't compromised either their musical or personal integrity check out one of our newest videos right here plus even more grunge videos about your favorite musicians are coming soon subscribe to our youtube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one

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