Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer in the 90’s, 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.”
Chely just completed a new studio album titled I Am The Rain, recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles featuring guest performances by Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and the Milk Carton Kids. Produced by renowned musician and producer Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Loudon Wainwright III, Ani DiFrano, Betty LaVette), the much anticipated album will be released in autumn of 2016.
In 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. Wright has cited among her reasons for coming out a concern with bullying and hate crimes toward LGBT people, particularly LGBT youth, and the damage to her life caused by "hiding".
In the midst of a tumultuous political climate about the civil rights of the LGBT community, the 2011 award-winning documentary “Wish Me Away” was released. The critically acclaimed film chronicles Chely Wright’s journey growing up and then moving to Nashville to become a country singer. It portrays her preparing for the day she comes out publically and then depicts the aftermath of her decision.
Chely Wright’s soul-searching has led to many rewards. The LGBT role model serves as the national spokesperson for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and speaks out against school bullying. Wright founded The LIKEME® Organization, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance, resources and education to LGBT individuals and their family & friends. Wright also founded The LIKEME® Lighthouse, an education and community center for gay youth in Kansas City, MO. The Lighthouse recently celebrated its fourth anniversary with a sold out fundraising gala at the Folly Theater featuring Wanda Sykes, Judy Gold, Wendy Liebman and Steve Grand.
Chely Wright is married to activist and author Lauren Blitzer-Wright, who is currently Director of Marketing for Sony Entertainment. As of 2013, the two became parents to twin boys. In December 2014, Wright performed an original Christmas carol at the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the White House lawn in Washington, DC with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Established in 2009 by drummer, Dave Whitaker, the Pop Rox have become Knoxville's premier cover band! Building on the reputation for replicating spot on 80's covers, over the years the Pop Rox have expanded their catalogue to include various genres and decades to accommodate a vast listening audience. The success of the band can also be attributed to the boundless, no-holds-barred energy and charisma of singer, Valerie Buckner. Besides performing regularly at local venues the Pop Rox have had to pleasure to perform for charity and corporate events, weddings and headline festivals. The Pop Rox are THRILLED to be making their Pridefest debut!!! The Pop Rox: Valerie Buckner: Lead Vocals Jason Day: Keys Justin Haynes: Keys Wes Lunsford: Guitar, Vocals Dave Peeples: Bass, Vocals Dave Whitaker: Drums
Coco Montrese originally from Miami, Florida, she was born in 1992. She performed in many different cities in the USA. Held the title of Miss Gay America 2010. Top 5 of Rupaul's Drag Race Season 5. Now residing in Las Vegas Nevada and being part of such an amazing cast in the "Most Outrageous Female Impersonator Show" Frank Marino's Divas Show in Las Vegas Nevada.
Derrick Barry gained international attention as a Britney Spears impersonator on "America's Got Talent". Growing up in Modesto, CA, Barry knew he was born to entertain. After competing as a gymnast for 7 years, he fell in love with the theater. He performed in every single production in high school & college.
At 19, Barry was ready to see his name in lights. North Hollywood became his home for over a year, while he immersed himself in the entertainment industry. After dressing as Britney Spears for Halloween, not only did he shock Britney on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", he soon had the attention of West Hollywood nightlife, Hollywood movie producers & Las Vegas show producers. Las Vegas has been his home base since the age of 20, when he became the youngest cast member to join "An Evening at La Cage".
Barry has performed on the Las Vegas Strip for over 10 years and been featured on the cover of almost every single Vegas magazine publication. His spot on impersonation even led him to roles in Joseph Kahn's music videos for Katy Perry and Eminem. His most recent cameo includes Olivia Newton-John's #1 hit "You Have To Believe". He's traveled the nation following Britney's "Circus" & "Femme Fatale" tours and performed in over a dozen countries. Barry starred as Britney & Gaga in "Divas Las Vegas" from 2009 - 2015. He now only appears for special occasions due to his tour schedule. Barry even had a two year residency at Share Nightclub, following Britney's "Piece Of Me" show. He was honored to walk the runway for her costume designer in MarcoMarco's Spring Season 2015 Collection 3 runway show for LA Fashion Week.
Barry made his TV acting debut starring as Julie on USA's "DIG" in 2015. More recently, he was cast as Kimberly in his first feature film, "War On Everyone" opposite Alexander Skarsgård, due out 2016. He starred opposite Nick Nolte in "Graves" also out in 2016. Derrick’s latest TV role has him competing on season 8 of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. Barry has his eyes set on film, television (SNL) & Broadway. He's eager to share his journey with the world through Reality TV & Documentaries. Derrick continues to display his facets in many lights. Just like a crystal, he shines in everything he does. He may be known for being Britney, but it's time the world gets to know Derrick Barry.
Derrick’s answer to the #1 question: Have you met Britney Spears?
"The second time I dressed up like Britney Spears was at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on November 17, 2003. Britney was promoting 'In The Zone' as I sat in the audience, not realizing my life was about to change. On a commercial break during her interview segment, production personnel spoke to Jay and Britney about my likeness. Britney was shocked. When she locked eyes with me, I heard her say "Oh My God' as she covered her mouth. By this time, they already had a camera on me ready to record. Jay soon segued into asking her if she would date a guy like me. The camera was recording and the house lights came on. She said, "Yes. He's very into himself." I danced to the "I'm a Slave 4 U" routine in my head. It was my fifteen seconds of fame. Jay quickly replied, "I don't think he's into himself this guy. I think he's into you." She agreed, "Maybe so, maybe so" as she smiled and clapped for me. Jay later told Jim Belushi that he missed the "Britney Spears" in the audience. The camera panned over on me one last time. This was truly one of the most exciting days in my career." - Derrick Barry
god des and she
God Des & She's energy and talent caught the attention of industry and listeners alike after they appeared on the season 3 finale of Showtime series "The L Word" and had a number one video on MTV LOGO with their smash hit "Love You Better" for 15 weeks in a row. They have toured worldwide, performing to packed venues from New York to Sweden and sharing the stage with artists including Lady Gaga, Salt n' Pepa, SIA and many more. Over their 10+ year career, the always outspoken duo has solidified themselves as community advocates with messages of gay rights and equality infused into their genre-defying sound. With their 4th full length album out, an international tour under their belt and enthusiastic fans all over the world, 2014 is set to be their biggest year yet.
Reality, Released 2005 Three, Released 2009
Stand Up, Released 2007 United States of God Des and She, Released 2013
The KGMC strives to give entertaining high-quality performances that appeal to all audiences while shedding a positive light on the GLBT community.
The Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus wishes to be recognized as a quality group of voices not only in the GLBT community, but also the community at large. The KGMC promotes its mission by focusing on the following:
Creating relationships with members, sponsors, and the audience
Promoting equality by actively encouraging participation of all men regardless of age, race, birth sex, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation
Striving for excellence by selecting challenging choral pieces for male mixed voices
Promoting social change and building community in its performances
Didn’t you know Knoxville had an opera company?
We’ve provided cultural enrichment to East Tennessee since 1978 and every year keeps getting better! This season we are bringing you Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, Bizet’s Carmen, and Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
For an unforgettable experience, there’s nothing like opera. It’s the ultimate culmination of the best of all of the arts. Experience the drama and comedy of theatre, the beauty of visual art, the impressive sound of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the absolute magnificence of the human voice! Opera is for everyone – it reflects timeless and universal human conflicts, humor and passions. There’s just nothing like it!
Destroy Your Assumptions – Most people have preconceived notions about what an operatic experience entails. Does any of this sound familiar?
“Opera is only for rich people.”
– Tickets to Knoxville Opera performances start at just $13. Yes, premiere seats at the front of the house may cost you a week’s worth of groceries. But if you’re willing to sacrifice your fantastic view of the performers’ feet, cost-effective seats (especially for students) are available.
“Opera puts you to sleep.”
– Are you bored by murder, betrayal, lust, extravagance, the supernatural or madness? It’s really exciting and a matter of choosing the right operas that won’t have you nodding off and drooling all of those velvet seats. Besides, the Tennessee Theatre has a full bar!
“Opera is a dead art form, so why go?”
– The fastest-growing opera audience in the U.S. now is people in their 20s and 30s and today’s composers are experimenting with opera to find new ways of keeping the art form alive.