Country singer Chely Wright on the effect of coming out: 'My record sales went directly in half'
Image Credit: Howard BragmanWhen Chely Wright came out to much hoopla and controversy last May, the country singer, natch, was promoting a memoir, a new album, and a Today show appearance — and she positively glowed about her public revelation: “Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out.” But in a new interview with website Autostraddle that was posted yesterday, things seem a little less rosy for Wright, and she blames her coming out for poor record sales: “It didn’t help my career,” she says. “My record sales went directly in half.” It’s unclear how she can say that for sure, but it’s what she believes.
Wright discussed the perception from the gay community that coming out helped her career, thanks to all the publicity. “They’re wrong,” Wright says of people who have that perception. “There’s the gay community that now knows my name and it’s a long leap from the new demographic of people who will come to my Facebook page and hit the ‘Like’ button to them buying my record and coming to live shows. It’s a big stretch from those new fans to make up for the fans I lost.” Wright explains: “If it appears from the outside in that it’s helped my career, it could be because I haven’t talked about the negative. You won’t hear me bitching and moaning on my Facebook page about the hate mail I’ve gotten.” But, apparently, you will hear her talk about it now. “My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, ‘I’m through with you Chely Wright, you’re going to hell.'”
Although there’s no excuse for hate mail, Wright seems to have just accepted the negativity as part of the package of being truthful — she claims she knew that she’d take a hit for being publicly honest. “There’s a big difference between press and advocacy and … sometimes people forget that people who sing or make movies, this isn’t just a hobby for us,” she says. “This is how I pay my bills. In coming out, I had a feeling that it would diminish my wage earning, and that feeling was correct. And, I am fine with that.”
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