LeAnn Rimes was just a teen when she first burst onto the international music scene in 1996. Her debut album, “Blue,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts, but was just the first hit of many. As she matured, so did her music.
Now 35, she has also been an outspoken ally for LGBT rights in an industry that has been historically inhospitable to openly gay artists, leading her to address LGBT discrimination in her latest single, “LovE is LovE is LovE.”
Rimes kicks off her annual “Today is Christmas” tour on Saturday, Dec. 2 in Fort Lauderdale at the Parker Playhouse, performing her favorite holiday songs, biggest hits and fan favorites.
SFGN spoke with Rimes about her concert, career and crusade in support of the LGBTQ community:
SFGN: Has Christmas always been a special holiday for you?
Rimes: Absolutely! I love Christmas! I love the joy the time of year brings, the time we get to spend with family; it’s the only time of year where everyone puts themselves aside and puts others first. I wish we carried this way of living throughout the year. I love the food, the music, the decorations—what is not to love?
You grew up in the public eye. What’s one thing—or two—that people would never guess about you?
That I am a lot more shy than anyone would ever guess. (I) like life simple. I love cheese!
When you see or hear yourself at 13-years-old singing “Blue,” what thoughts come to your mind?
A very young innocent girl who didn’t know what crazy rollercoaster ride she was getting on and how it would change (her) life; but, also very grateful (for) all of life’s blessings it had brought to me and my family and friends.
Looking back, is there any aspect of your career that you would have changed?
Why bother dwelling on anything in the past too long? Everything shaped me into the person I am today and for that I am thankful.
You’ve been an outspoken advocate of the LGBT community. Why are our issues so important to you?
When I was 11, my uncle died of AIDS and he was gay, and my dad was the only one who came to his funeral. It was at that point I just couldn’t understand how someone could be shunned because of who he is. Since then, I vowed I would use whatever voice I could, to stand up and fight for equality. I hate that it is even still an issue. We have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go.
To the public, the music industry—especially country music—seems to be becoming more open and accepting of the LGBT community and artists. Is that the way you see it?
I think we have come really far, though I still get surprised here and there, wondering if anyone realizes what century we are living in and that any kind of hate and prejudice has no place (anywhere). I am excited to see our progression and I hope it will only continue, because we still have a lot of hate in this world.
Any last words for our readers?
I love my LGBTQ fans. Thank you so much for your love and support over the years! Come out to the show and let’s spread the holiday cheer!
LeAnn Rimes brings her “Today is Christmas” tour to the Parker Playhouse, 707 N.E. 8th St. in Fort Lauderdale, on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $44.50 at ParkerPlayhouse.com.