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Indigo Girls are an American
folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, a ...
music duo from
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
, Georgia, United States, consisting of
Amy Ray Amy Elizabeth Ray (born April 12, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter and member of the contemporary folk duo Indigo Girls. She also pursues a solo career and has released six albums under her own name, and founded a record company, Daemon Rec ...

Amy Ray
and
Emily Saliers Emily Ann Saliers (born July 22, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and member of the musical duo Indigo Girls. Saliers plays lead guitar as well as banjo, piano, mandolin, ukulele, bouzouki and many other instruments. Early life and education ...
. The two met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in
Decatur, Georgia Decatur is a city in, and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Townsh ...
, part of the
Atlanta metropolitan area Metro Atlanta, designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP). OMB's most prominent functi ...
. They started performing with the name Indigo Girls as students at
Emory University Emory University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two dec ...
, performing weekly at The Dugout, a bar in
Emory Village
Emory Village
. They released a self-produced, full-length record album entitled '' Strange Fire'' in 1987, and contracted with a major record company in 1988. After releasing nine albums with major record labels from 1987 through 2007, they have now resumed self-producing albums with their own IG Recordings company. Outside of working on Indigo Girls–related projects, Ray has released solo albums and founded a
non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...
that promotes independent musicians, while Saliers is an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry as well as a professional author; she also collaborates with her father,
Don Saliers Don E. Saliers (born 1937) is an American theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a s ...
, in performing for special groups and causes. Saliers and Ray are both
lesbians A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or ...
and are active in political and environmental causes.


Recording and touring


Early years

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers first met and got to know each other as students at Laurel Ridge Elementary School in
DeKalb County, Georgia DeKalb County (, , ) is located in the north central portion of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Contine ...
, just outside
Decatur, Georgia Decatur is a city in, and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Townsh ...
, but were not close friends because Saliers was a grade older than Ray. While attending Shamrock High School (now Druid Hills Middle School), they became better acquainted, and started performing together, first as "The B-Band" and then as "Saliers and Ray". Saliers graduated and began attending
Tulane University Tulane University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two d ...
in Louisiana. A year later, Ray graduated high school and began attending
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy or VU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, aft ...
in Tennessee. Homesick, both returned to Georgia and transferred to
Emory University Emory University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two dec ...
in Atlanta (where Saliers' father was a professor). By 1985, they had begun performing together again, this time as Indigo Girls. Saliers stated in a March 2007
National Public Radio National Public Radio (NPR) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washin ...
''
Talk of the Nation ''Talk of the Nation'' (''TOTN'') is an American talk radio Talk radio is a radio format A radio format or programming format (not to be confused with broadcast programming Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing and/or order ...
'' interview, "we needed a name and we went through the dictionary looking for words that struck us and
indigo InterGlobe Aviation Ltd d/b/a IndiGo is an Indian low-cost airline headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. It is the largest List of airlines of India, airline in India by passengers carried and fleet size, with a 57% domestic market shar ...
was one." Their first release in 1985 was a seven-inch single named "Crazy Game", with the
B-side A-side and B-side are terms used to refer to the two sides of phonograph record A phonograph disc record (also known as a gramophone disc record, especially in ), or simply a phonograph record, gramophone record, disc record, long-playin ...
"Everybody's Waiting (for Someone to Come Home)". That same year, the Indigo Girls released a six-track
Extended play An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single Single may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Single (music), a song release Songs * Single (Natasha Bedingfield s ...
album named ''Indigo Girls'', and in 1987 released their first full-length album, '' Strange Fire'', recorded at John Keane Studio in
Athens, Georgia Athens, officially Athens–Clarke County, is a consolidated city–county In local government in the United States, United States local government, a consolidated city-county is formed when one or more city, cities and their surrounding Count ...
, and including "Crazy Game". With this release, they secured the services of Russell Carter, who remains their manager to the present; they had first approached him when the EP album was released, but he told them their songs were "immature" and they were not likely to get a record deal. ''Strange Fire'' apparently changed his opinion.


Epic Records (1988–2006)

The success of
10,000 Maniacs 10,000 Maniacs is an American alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widel ...

10,000 Maniacs
,
Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter. A multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award The Grammy Award (stylized as GRAMMY, originally called Gramophone Award), or just Grammy, is an award presented by the Recor ...

Tracy Chapman
, and
Suzanne Vega Suzanne Nadine Vega (born July 11, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter best known for her Folk music, folk-inspired music. Vega's music career spans almost 40 years. She came to prominence in the mid-1980s, releasing four singles that entere ...

Suzanne Vega
encouraged
Epic Records Epic Records is an American record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. ...

Epic Records
to enlist other folk-based female singer-songwriters; Epic signed the duo in 1988. Their first major-label release, also named ''
Indigo Girls Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duet (music), duo from Atlanta, Georgia, United States, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The two met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in Decatur, Geo ...
'', which scored No. 22 on the album chart, included a new version of "Land of Canaan", which was also on their 1985 EP album and on ''Strange Fire''. Also on the self-titled release was their first hit " Closer to Fine" (a collaboration with Irish band Hothouse Flowers), which scored No. 52 on the popular music record chart, chart and No. 26 on the modern rock chart. They even managed one week on the mainstream rock album-oriented rock music chart at No. 48. In 1990, they won a Grammy Award for Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Contemporary Folk Album. They were also nominated for Grammy Award for Best New Artist, Best New Artist (but lost to Milli Vanilli who eventually had their award revoked). Their second album, ''Nomads Indians Saints'', went gold in December 1991 and included the hit song "Hammer and a Nail", a No. 12 modern rock music track; it was not as successful as their first, which was platinum certification, certified platinum at about the same time. The Indigo Girls followed it with the live ''Back on the Bus, Y'all'' and 1992's album ''Rites of Passage (Indigo Girls album), Rites of Passage'', featuring the song "Galileo (song), Galileo", the duo's first top 10 modern rock music track (#10). During the accompanying tour in December, they invited on a few dates Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees as special guest to sing a couple of songs with them. They then recorded ''Swamp Ophelia'' in 1994, which went platinum in September 1996, and charted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200, ''Billboard'' 200 album record chart, chart. In 1995, the Indigo Girls released a live album, live, double album, double CD, ''1200 Curfews''. ''Shaming of the Sun'' was released in 1997 followed by ''Come on Now Social'' in 1999. ''Shaming of the Sun'' debuted at number seven on the Billboard charts, driven by the duo's contribution to the Lilith Fair music festival tour. The track "Shame on You" received more airplay on adult album alternative, adult alternative, top 40 and adult top 40 radio stations than any of their previous singles, although this seemed to be a peak in their crossover success. ''Retrospective'', a compilation album with two new tracks, was released in 2000 and ''Become You'' followed two years later. Their last Epic Records, Epic studio album was ''All That We Let In'', released in 2004 with an accompanying tour. On June 14, 2005, they released ''Rarities'', a collection of B-sides and rare tracks partially decided by fan (person), fans' input, which fulfilled the album count obligation for their contract with Epic.


Hollywood Records (2006–07)

After departing Epic, the Indigo Girls signed a five-record deal with Hollywood Records. Their first (and only) Hollywood album, ''Despite Our Differences'', produced by Mitchell Froom, was released on September 19, 2006. John Metzger from ''MusicBox Online'' described ''Despite our Differences'' as "the most infectious, pop-infused set that the duo ever has managed to concoct. In fact, its melodies, harmonies, and arrangements are so ingratiating that the album carries the weight of an instant classic." Thom Jurek from ''AllMusic'' wrote: "part of an emotional journey as complete as can be. More relevant than anyone dared expect. It's accessible and moving and true. It's their own brand of rock & roll, hewn from over the years, that bears a signature that is now indelible. A moving, and utterly poetic offering." After releasing ''Despite Our Differences'', the Indigo Girls' contract was terminated by Hollywood Records during their 2007 tour.


Independent work (2007–present)

Following their break with Hollywood Records, the Indigo Girls announced their next record would be released independently. ''Poseidon and the Bitter Bug'' was released on March 24, 2009, from IG Recordings, the Indigo Girls' label, and distributed through Vanguard Records. This album is their first fully independent release since 1987's ''Strange Fire'', and their first two-CD set since 1995's live album ''1200 Curfews''; the first disc has the 10 tracks accompanied by a backing band, and the second includes the same 10 songs with only Ray and Saliers on vocals and acoustic guitars, and an additional track. On June 29, 2010 Indigo Girls' second full-length live album, ''Staring Down the Brilliant Dream'', was released on IG Recordings/Vanguard Records. This was followed on October 12, 2010 with their first holiday album ''Holly Happy Days''. Indigo Girls' thirteenth studio album, ''Beauty Queen Sister'', was released on October 4, 2011, and their fourteenth studio album, ''One Lost Day'', was released on June 2, 2015 (both on IG Recordings/Vanguard Records). Beginning in 2017, the Indigo Girls have toured the United States performing their music arranged for symphony orchestra. After more than fifty performances, in 2018 they released a live double album entitled ''Indigo Girls Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra''. In 2020, they followed this with the studio album ''Look Long''.


Songwriting

Ray and Saliers do not ordinarily collaborate in writing songs. They write separately and work out the arrangements together. There are a few exceptions, mostly unreleased songs from their early, pre-Epic days: "I Don't Know Your Name" and "If You Live Like That." "Blood Quantum", which appears on ''Honor: A Benefit for the Honor the Earth Campaign'' featured Ray's verses and chorus and Saliers's bridge. Finally, "I'll Give You My Skin", which appears both on ''Tame Yourself'' (a benefit album for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and on the Indigo Girls release ''Rarities,'' is a collaborative work by Ray, Saliers, and Michael Stipe which is doubly rare, as Saliers and Ray usually write their songs without outside collaborators. In September 2020, the Indigo Girls released "Long Ride", the first song Ray and Saliers had written together in 30 years.


Touring band

The Indigo Girls have toured as a duo and with a band. In 1990, they toured with Atlanta band the Ellen James Society backing them; they have also toured with side players, with one distinct group from 1991 to 1998, a second from 1999 to 2006, and a third from 2012 onwards. ;First touring band *Budgie (drummer), Budgie - drums (1992) *Gail Ann Dorsey – bass guitar (1994) *Sara Lee (musician), Sara Lee – bass guitar (1991–98) *Jerry Marotta – drums, percussion (1992–98) *Scarlet Rivera – violin (1992) *Jane Scarpantoni – cello (1992) ;Second touring band *Brady Blade – drums (2002–04) *Matt Chamberlain – drums (2006–2009) *Blair Cunningham – drums (2000) *Caroline Dale – cello (1999) *Carol Isaacs – keyboards, accordion (1999–2007 and one show in Brighton) *Clare Kenny – bass guitar (1999–2007) *Caroline Lavelle – cello (2000) *Matt Brubeck - cello, percussion, vocals (2000) *John Reynolds (musician), John Reynolds – drums (1999) *Julie Wolf – keyboards, accordion (2008–present) ;Third touring band *Jaron Pearlman – drums (2012–2016) *Benjamin Ryan Williams – bass (2012–2016) *Lyris Hung – violin (2012–present)


Solo projects

In 1990, Ray founded Daemon Records, which has signed Magnapop, Ellen James Society, New Mongrels, Kristen Hall, Rose Polenzani, Girlyman, Athens Boys Choir, and James Hall (singer), James Hall among others. Ray has put out six solo albums, entitled ''Stag (Amy Ray album), Stag'', ''Prom (album), Prom'', ''Live from Knoxville'', ''Didn't It Feel Kinder'', ''Amy Ray: Live MVP'', ''Lung of Love'', ''Goodnight Tender'' and ''Holler'' through Daemon. She has toured with both The Butchies and her bands The Volunteers and the Amy Ray Band. Saliers also released a solo album, ''Murmuration Nation'', in 2017, and was a founding co-owner of Watershed Restaurant in
Decatur, Georgia Decatur is a city in, and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a Townsh ...
. She sold Watershed in 2018. Saliers was an initial investor in the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2005, Saliers and her father,
Don Saliers Don E. Saliers (born 1937) is an American theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a s ...
, a theology professor at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, released the book ''A Song to Sing, a Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice''. They promoted the release of the book together including several days of speaking and performing together at the Washington National Cathedral College in Washington D.C.


Appearances in other media

Ray and Saliers appeared in the latter half of the feature film ''Boys on the Side'', playing short excerpts from their songs "Joking" and "Southland in the Springtime," as well as singing "Feliz Cumpleaños" (Happy Birthday to You, "Happy Birthday" in Spanish) with the gathered group of friends during the birthday cake scene, and standing on the far side of several shots over the next few scenes. Neither had any spoken lines. The duo also appear in the 2006 documentary ''Wordplay (film), Wordplay'', where they discuss their reaction to appearing in a ''New York Times'' crossword puzzle and then begin to solve one together. Ray and Saliers performed onstage in the 1994 revival of ''Jesus Christ Superstar'' in
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
, titled ''Jesus Christ Superstar: A Resurrection''. Ray played the role of Jesus and Saliers played the role of Mary Magdalene. They later reprised their roles in stagings of the musical in Austin, Texas, Austin, at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, and in Seattle. They made several cameo appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom ''Ellen (TV series), Ellen''. In the episode "Womyn Fest" Ellen and her friends are attending a feminist music festival and catch the end of a performance by the Indigo Girls. They are mentioned multiple times in the 1995 Stephen King novel Rose Madder (novel), ''Rose Madder'' as well as being mentioned in TV shows ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'', ''Will and Grace'', ''South Park'', ''30 Rock'', ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'', ''Squidbillies'', ''The Big Bang Theory'', ''Saturday Night Live'', Tig Notaro's special ''Happy To Be Here'', ''Harley Quinn (TV series), Harley Quinn'' and "Nip\Tuck". In the 1996 slasher film ''Scream (1996 film), Scream'', a poster of the Indigo Girls can be seen on Neve Campbell's character, Sidney Prescott‘s, bedroom wall. Appeared in 2018 onstage with standup comedian Tig Notaro's show "Happy to be Here" at The Heights in Houston, Texas, as a closing bit, performing one song.


Personal lives

Both Ray and Saliers have long identified themselves as lesbians. Because of their engagements for LGBT rights, they are regarded as icons of the movement. Amy Ray currently lives in the foothills of North Georgia. She and her longtime partner, Carrie Schrader, have a daughter, Ozilline Graydon. Saliers married her longtime girlfriend, former Indigo Girls tour manager Tristin Chipman, at New York City Hall in 2013. Chipman, a Canadian, is from Calgary, "but she spent most of her adult life in Toronto," according to Saliers between songs when performing onstage in Vancouver in 2013. The couple already had a daughter, Cleo, born in November 2012.


Political activism

The Indigo Girls have been politically active, championing the causes of and held benefit concerts for environmentalism, the environment, gay rights, the rights of Native Americans, and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. For many years they incorporated a recycling and public outreach program into their road tours by including Greenpeace representative Stephanie Fairbanks in their road crew. They helped Winona LaDuke establish Honor the Earth, an organization dedicated to creating support and education for native environmental issues. After performing on the activist-oriented Spitfire Tour in 1999, Ray and Saliers joined forces with The Spitfire Agency to develop the Honor The Earth Tour, which visits colleges and Native communities, and raises money for their non-profit of the same name. Ray and Saliers have also appeared at the annual SOA Watch rallies, the March for Women's Lives, and several other rallies and protests. In 2006 the Indigo Girls were featured in artist Pink (singer), Pink's album ''I'm Not Dead'' in the song "Dear Mr. President (Pink song), Dear Mr. President", which Pink says is a political confrontation with George W. Bush about war, poverty, LGBT rights, pro-choice, abortion rights, and the No Child Left Behind Act. Returning the favor, Pink performed on the Indigo Girls' "Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate," which is about, among other things, sexism and heterosexism in the music industry. In June 2007 the Indigo Girls were part of the multi-artist True Colors Tour 2007, on the tour's Las Vegas Valley, Las Vegas stop which benefited the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations that provide support to the LGBT community. The Indigo Girls performed again on the True Colors Tour 2008. In April 2013, in response to criticism from transgender activists, the Indigo Girls issued a statement that they would play at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, but would protest the festival's "womyn-born womyn" policy from the stage. In November 2017, the Indigo Girls were nominated to ''Out (magazine), Out'' magazine's "OUT100" for 2017 in recognition of their work and their visibility. The Indigo Girls are also members of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism and have worked with them on awareness campaigns.


Discography


Studio albums


Live albums

*''Perfect World'' was released as a promo CD maxi single on March 1, 2004 together with 3 live tracks.


Compilations


Singles


Other contributions

* ''Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead, Deadicated'' (1991), covering "Uncle John's Band" *''Put On Your Green Shoes'' (1993) – "Wild Wild Party In The Loquat Tree" *Joan Baez – ''Ring Them Bells'' (1995) – "Don't Think Twice" *''Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation'' (1996) – "Free of Hope" *''Burning London: The Clash Tribute'' (1999)  – "Clampdown" *''107.1 KGSR Radio Austin – Broadcasts Vol. 10'' (2002) – "Moment of Forgiveness" *''WYEP Live and Direct: Volume 4 – On Air Performances'' (2002) – "Become You" *Pink (singer), Pink – ''I'm Not Dead'' (2006) – "Dear Mr. President (Pink song), Dear Mr President" *Anne Murray – ''Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends'' (2007) – "A Little Good News" *Brandi Carlile – ''The Story (Brandi Carlile album), The Story'' (2007) – "Cannonball" *''Metro: The Official Bootleg Series, Volume 1'' (2010) * ''Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Tribute to Pete Seeger,'' covering "Letter to Eve" * ''Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne'' (2014) covering "Fountain Of Sorrow" * Joan Baez "75th Birthday Celebration" (2016) "The Water is Wide", "Don't Think Twice"


Live recording circulation

Indigo Girls allow fans to tape their shows, and appropriately gathered recordings can be traded, obtained for free from a number of sources.


Awards and nominations

Pell Awards , - , 2019 , ''Indigo Girls'' , Trinity Repertory Company#Pell Awards, Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts , GLAAD Media Awards , - , 14th GLAAD Media Awards, 2003 , ''Become You'' , Outstanding Music Album , Grammy Awards , - , rowspan="2", 1990 Grammy Awards, 1990 , Themselves , Best New Artist , , - , ''
Indigo Girls Indigo Girls are an American folk rock music duet (music), duo from Atlanta, Georgia, United States, consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The two met in elementary school and began performing together as high school students in Decatur, Geo ...
'' , rowspan="2", Best Contemporary Folk Recording , , - , 1991 Grammy Awards, 1991 , "Hammer and a Nail" , , - , 1992 Grammy Awards, 1992 , ''Back on the Bus, Y'all'' , rowspan="4", Best Contemporary Folk Album , , - , 1993 Grammy Awards, 1993 , ''Rites of Passage (Indigo Girls album), Rites of Passage'' , , - , 1995 Grammy Awards, 1995 , ''Swamp Ophelia'' , , - , 1998 Grammy Awards, 1998 , ''Shaming of the Sun'' , Pollstar Concert Industry Awards !Ref. , - , 1990 , ''Tour'' , Club Tour of the Year , ,


References


External links

* * {{Authority control Indigo Girls, American folk musical groups Epic Records artists Feminist musicians Grammy Award winners Hollywood Records artists Lesbian artists American lesbian musicians LGBT-themed musical groups LGBT singers from the United States LGBT songwriters Musical groups from Atlanta Vanguard Records artists All-female bands Musical groups established in 1985 LGBT culture in Atlanta Rounder Records artists 1985 establishments in Georgia (U.S. state) Female musical duos American musical duos Folk rock duos 20th-century LGBT people 21st-century LGBT people