Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer, having released eight studio albums selling more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music named Chely Top New Female Vocalist of 1995. Her first hit came in 1997 with “Shut Up and Drive” followed two years later by her first number one single, “Single White Female” and in 2005, the zeitgeist – capturing hit “The Bumper of My S.U.V.” She was also named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” and FHM’s “Sexiest Women in Music.”
On May 4, 2010, Chely Wright released her eighth album, “Lifted Off the Ground” produced by Rodney Crowell, revealing a dramatic artistic transformation and emerging as a singer songwriter of the first order. The album would never have come to be were it not for an equally dramatic personal transformation which she candidly and painstakingly documented in a memoir entitled “Like Me” published by Random House the same day. Chely made history by being the first country music star to come out publicly as gay.
In her book, television appearances and interviews, Chely cited among her reasons for coming out a concern for victims of the hate crimes and bullying, particularly LGBT Youth, and the personal damage she suffered growing up having to hide truths about herself from everyone. The album and memoir made national headlines and Chely was invited to appear on Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, The View, Larry King Live and NBC’s Today Show.
Chely Wright is an LGBT activist and appears often on national television forums to discuss and debate relevant issues in the news. She is a national spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which creates support groups of students and teachers in K-12 schools to promote personal values and respect for everyone regardless of a sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. In March, 2011 Chely launched the LIKE ME foundation, a nonprofit organization serving the LGBT community by providing support, resources and education to individuals, families and friends. The first LIKE ME Lighthouse was opened in Kansas City, Missouri – a facility that provides staff, counseling and in house resources addressing issues including coming out, bullying, harassment and gender identity.
Chely Wright is married to activist and author Lauren Blitzer-Wright, who is currently Director of Marketing for Sony Entertainment. Never content to rest on her laurels, Chely is currently hard at work conceiving and writing an original screenplay and music for a film. As of 2013, Chely and Lauren became parents to twin boys.