Melissa Etheridge strips down her track "Faded By Design" in a video shared exclusively with PEOPLE

By Brianne Tracy
May 09, 2019 11:00 AM
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Not only does Melissa Etheridge credit “plant medicine” for aiding in her cancer recovery, but also for inspiring her new music.

The Grammy-winning singer recently released her 15th studio album, The Medicine Show, in April and shares the story behind one of the record’s tracks, “Faded By Design,” in an intimate behind-the-scenes video shared exclusively with PEOPLE.

“In my lyrics, I do like to have many, many layers,” Etheridge, 57, says in the clip. “One thing I’ve always loved is you get a label on a piece of clothing that has been stonewashed or something and it would say, ‘Faded by design.’ You’re supposed to be like this. We also know in the hip-hop world faded means you are stoned. So I thought, ‘Well doesn’t that work? I’m faded by design, yes.'”

Melissa Ethridge
Lauren Dukoff

“It’s about plant medicine, and it’s about, ‘Don’t worry about me,'” she continues. “I’ve been using plant medicine for 15 years now, and I’m 15 years cancer-free. I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been.”

Melissa Ethridge
Lauren Dukoff

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Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2004 at the age of 43 — and in recent years, she has been open about how marijuana use is a part of her daily life.

“I understand how stress makes us sick,” she says. “‘Faded by design’ is, ‘Hey, you know, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. This is what I do. Don’t call a doctor. You know the cure is in my mind, I can do this.’ I can have responsibility of my own health and if I can put that sort of message in a song that everybody wants to sing along to and clap, then that’s a win-win situation. It’s about getting our own souls, our own inner-health to where we are able to joyfully go about our day and live our lives.”

She adds: “We’re so blessed to be living our lives so that’s ‘faded by design’ — don’t worry, I will be fine.”

Melissa Ethridge's The Medicine Show cover

Etheridge — who is currently tour across the United States through the summer — then begins to play a stripped-down acoustic version of “Faded By Design” in the video, which was recorded live at the Village Studios in Los Angeles.