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Music / Chely Wright

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Richell Rene "Chely" Wright (born October 25, 1970) is an American Country Music singer. She is known primarily for her hit "Single White Female". Far after this hit, Wright was the subject of much controversy and attention in the country genre — who are by and large a pretty conservative bunch — for coming out as a lesbian.

Wright began her career with a pair of albums on the troubled Polydor Nashville label. When she moved from them to MCA Records in 1997, she recorded a total of three albums. The first had a modest hit in the urgent breakup song "Shut Up and Drive", and the second her biggest hit to date, "Single White Female". Her third MCA album was panned for a more slick pop sound, although "Never Love You Enough" and "Jezebel" both made the charts.

After exiting MCA, she began releasing albums independently, notching a couple runaway hits with "Back of the Bottom Drawer" and "The Bumper of My SUV". The latter was the subject of controversy, due to members of her fan club allegedly posing as relatives of soldiers in order to plant requests for it. Despite having not touched radio ever since, Wright has maintained critical acclaim with her indie releases.

In addition to her own work, Wright co-wrote and sang backing vocals on Clay Walker's 2003 hit "I Can't Sleep".


  • Woman in the Moon (1994)
  • Right in the Middle of It (1996)
  • Let Me In (1997)
  • Single White Female (1999)
  • Never Love You Enough (2001)
  • The Metropolitan Hotel (2005)
  • Lifted Off the Ground (2010)
  • I Am the Rain (2016)

Tropes present in her work:

  • Break Up Song:
    • "Shut Up and Drive" is about a woman escaping a relationship, telling herself to "shut up and drive", "don't look in the mirror", and "turn the radio on".
    • "She Went Out for Cigarettes" has the woman announcing to her man that she's just going out to buy something at the store... only to keep on driving and leave him behind.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: The stanzas of "One Night In Las Vegas" start with the familiar I-V-vi-IV progression.
  • Love Epiphany: Turned on its head in "I Already Do". The singer's already had hers, but the object of her affection thinks she hasn't.
    I gave you my heart
    Can't you feel the power?
    You want to see the light —
    Baby, the sun's been up for hours!
  • Love Triangle: "Jezebel" has the narrator actively confronting his man's mistress, the titular Jezebel, and "fight[ing] for love until the death" to get him back.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Shut Up and Drive".
  • Old Shame: In-universe, "Back of the Bottom Drawer" has the singer digging through some detritus from previous relationships. She is ashamed of said relationships, but still can't bring herself to throw it away.
  • Posthumous Narration: Notes to the Coroner
  • The Power of Love: "It Was":
    It was real, it was magic
    It was calm, it was savage
    It was cool as a breeze
    It was warm to the touch
    It was never enough
    It was always too much
    It did all the things love does
    That's how I knew it was
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Discussed by "Emma Jean`s Guitar": "She only needed three chords to play those good ol` country songs". The song itself, however, is Not an Example.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: "Heavenly Days": "Tennessee tomboy, feminine girl, takin' a ride on top of the world..."