KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- She's known around the world for making honest rock 'n' roll music.
On Sunday, Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge brought her fame and fortune home to Arrowhead Stadium. The two-time Grammy winner says it was her "biggest experience ever."
It was a Chiefs' fan's dream come true. Just before kickoff, Etheridge, 56, had the Arrowhead turf all to herself, just before the Chiefs faced off with the Pittsburgh Steelers. More than 75,000 members of Chiefs Kingdom kept the Leavenworth High graduate in their sights, as she kept the anthem simple and strong.
“There's something about singing the national anthem. At that moment, you have everyone's attention and everyone's focus on singing about this great country that we live in and celebrate,” Etheridge said on Monday morning.
Etheridge, who now resides in the Los Angeles area, is a lifelong Chiefs football fanatic. Etheridge says she and the Chiefs connected via Twitter, and the club asked her to perform. As Etheridge, who won an Academy Award in 2007, performed on Sunday, the sound of her voice echoed through Arrowhead, something Etheridge says she didn’t anticipate.
“It was awesome. It was amazing!” Etheridge grinned on Sunday.
And being part of the football franchise she’s loved for years was a rush she can’t explain. Etheridge recalled sitting on her living room floor, watching Super Bowl IV, when the 1970 Kansas City Chiefs won the city’s only Super Bowl championship.
“It's a ritual,” Etheridge beamed on Monday morning. “You spent Sundays -- now, it's like lunchtime in L.A. It's a little earlier in L.A. I had to get used to that. It's just what you do.”
Once she returned to her hotel room after the game, an autographed Kansas City Chiefs helmet, signed by all 53 players, was waiting for her. It was a thank you gift, for a job well done.
“Never has a sports team reached out and done such an amazing thing,” Etheridge told FOX 4 News.
“I'm going to put it beside the Grammys and the Oscar. I've got one (Oscar),” Etheridge laughed.
Etheridge also talked about an anthem performance that didn't happen. She says she was scheduled to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Game Six of the 2015 World Series, but that game never happened, since the Kansas City Royals won it all in five games.
Etheridge graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1979. She says she doesn't own a home in the Kansas City metro anymore, because she doesn't have relatives remaining in the area, only close friends.
Watch Melissa's performance below: