Based on the Indigo Girls’ huge global success, these chicks have nothing to worry about. Not only are they adored across the world for their musicianship, but the pair is also well-respected for speaking out, and supporting, a variety of causes including gay rights, human rights, and the environment, and are seen as role models for some members of the LGBT community.
“We don’t affiliate (advocacy) with our songwriting… but as a career, it’s always affiliated for us—probably because of our families and the way we were brought up—it was always part of the scene for us. You do a certain amount of benefits, whatever number feels good, and intermingle that with what you’re normally doing because it’s the idea of giving back to the community. It’s really more about what my responsibility is as a citizen,” she says.
“Our relationship with the LGBT community is a very mutual relationship. As much as we can work on behalf of them or be a voice sometimes, they’re also a voice for us. As a role model, I’m just human. I don’t really even entertain that idea. I mean, I don’t want to do things to negatively affect gay issues or queer issues—I’m mindful of that. I’m mindful of a certain responsibility, probably on a sub-conscious level, of knowing that sometimes we’re representing our fans and it’s important to be proud of it, and even if you have self-doubt, or go through a time of, almost, self-hatred because of your queerness, or you’re having issues with your own homophobia, it’s important to override that, I think, and be strong for your community. And that’s as far as it goes.”
“Other than that, we’re kind of helping each other out, because if it wasn’t for the LGBT community, we wouldn’t be doing as well as we do, on any level—business, socially, family, history—anything.”
Having played an intimate indoor show fairly recently in New York, the Indigo Girls are about to hit crowds at SummerStage. Ray says the girls feel a strong connection to NYC, and their fans, and can’t wait to unleash a mix of their old and new tracks. “New York for us is almost like playing in the south. It feels like a second home. It’s so boisterous and supportive and fun, and it just feels like a big gang of people singing along. And singing in Central Park really lends itself to that. We’re very excited about it,” she says. “Our audience is what’s carried us through this whole thing. We have a really good core fan base that are just there. They keep it interesting and they challenge us, and we have a multi-generational thing going on now and that doesn’t really take a label to do that. That just takes commitment and touring.”