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What Melissa Etheridge Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Chelsea Lauren

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and electric toothbrush. We asked Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician Melissa Etheridge —  who just published her memoir, Talking to My Angels — about the tissues she always keeps on hand, the wireless earbuds that helped her get through a trip to Dave & Buster’s, and her favorite gold lighter.

At this point, I can only get it imported from France, which is really annoying. It’s called Karité. I’ve used it for over ten years. I try to use as little ingredients as possible — in anything that I put on my skin or inside my mouth. And that’s always been the best. It’s pure shea butter and nothing else, so it moisturizes and that’s it. I am the keeper of the balm. I have at least five around here, because my children also love it. We have dogs, and evidently it tastes pretty good — they like to eat them, so there.

The BIC pen is for when I’m writing. I like to have one just in case, for airplanes or in case I need to write something. It’s a gel tip, the tiny click. It moves easily against the paper. My handwriting is really horrid, and I like to move around the paper really fast, so the gel tips are really good. They don’t drag. I do a lot of [writing lyrics] on voice memo, or Notes on my phone, but sometimes you’ve just got to write it down.

The Sharpie pen is just in case anybody recognizes me and wants an autograph. Nowadays a selfie goes a long way. But sometimes people want things signed, and a Sharpie will sign anything, so that’s the best thing. There are more people wanting me to sign their skin nowadays, because they get it tattooed. I had to draw a line of where, but I’ll sign arms and legs. People come back and go, “I got your tattoo!”

Tissues — preferably in the little plastic wrap, the little packets of them. That’s the best kind, because otherwise, your bag gets all fuzzy. I remember my mother always had tissues, and I was like, “Ugh, that’s such a mother thing.” And now, I just got tissues all the time. You can use them for anything. They can clean up messes, they can wipe away stuff. If all of a sudden you’re crying, there you go. I’ve lived long enough, and I think being on the road is what really trained me. I’ve been on the road for 40 years. You know what you need and you know what serves and what works, and you just know. Tissues are absolutely part of it.

I’ve got your classic Bose earbuds. They’re not my favorite, but you never know when you get on an airplane and you’re in the noisy section, you know? Or anywhere. I remember I took my son to Dave & Buster’s. It was his birthday, he’s off with his friends, and I’m sitting there like, “Oh, God. Earbuds, take me away.” You’ve got to put them in. I’m an earphone person myself; I’d rather have big earphones, but you can’t put those in a fanny pack. I go everywhere, from pop music of today to rock classics. I listen to a lot of inspirational speaking; I listen to a lot of Abraham-Hicks. When I don’t have the internet, I listen to my playlists that I’ve had for years and years and years.

They’re Foster Grant — real smarty-looking, not very attractive. I just last year got LASIK finally. For many years, I had progressive lenses, where on top I could see far away and the bottom was for reading. Now I can see far away, but the only thing that’s sometimes not clear is the really up close, so I keep the reading glasses. I only need a 2.0 magnification. They’re the ones you buy at Rite Aid, so I have a million around. I wouldn’t use the word style at all. They’re very functional. They’re the only ones available at the drugstore.

I’m not a cigarette smoker. I never have been a cigarette smoker. It’s just good to have a lighter, and I’ve found that even little regular lighters, when you’re outside, can be really hard when you want light a joint. So those little butane torch lighters are the best. They work in wind, rain, whatever. I like to impress people when I pull my gold one out. It’s all fancy. You just squeeze on the side and it’s this beautiful lighter, and I love it so very much. I might have cheap reading glasses, but I got me a fancy lighter. I’m talking about my gold one, but it just broke. I have a black and silver one now, but I’m going to lay down for the gold one soon again. I’m going to buy another one. You can always count on me: I’ve got the tissues and the lighter.

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What Melissa Etheridge Can’t Live Without