Last April, People promised to reveal a country star's big gay secret on Cinco de Mayo. All the pop culture blogs played the guessing game.
That star turned out to be Chely Wright, who wasn't really known to people outside of pop country fans. But after the front-page coming out story, Chely went on to appear on Oprah, Ellen, and hundreds of other media outlets, which should have bumped up sales for her recent album. She says that it most definitely did not.
Queer lady blog Autostraddle has a new interview with the woman who was supposed to be the gay queen of country by now. In it, she tells of the backlash from certain fans she's faced since the People feature eight months ago.
Autostraddle: There's a perception within the gay community that coming out has helped your career, since you have all this exposure. Is that true?
Chely: They're wrong. 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. It didn't help my career. My record sales went directly in half. 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 about the hate mail I've gotten. My life has been threatened. I get nasty letters every day, "I'm through with you Chely Wright, you're going to hell." 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. 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.
Of course, the music business is fickle, and there's no legit way to tell how much those damn BitTorrenters or other factors might have to do with Chely's decline in sales, but the hate mail is real. The full interview is here.