Musicians Heather and Chelsea Edgett are one of 18,000 same-sex couples who married pre-Proposition 8, the Nov 2008 referendum that banned gay marriage in California. They recently moved to Halifax, Chelsea’s hometown, from Los Angeles to live and love freely.
“We’re up there with Ellen and Portia,” says Heather, laughing. “We’re part of the LA gay elite.”
On a brisk winter’s Sunday evening we planned to meet at Brooklyn Warehouse, which closed early, so the twosome invited me over for a cup of tea. We wandered down the snowy side streets only to breathe a sigh of relief when we reached their porch. As soon as our boots were off, Heather put on the kettle.
“It’s great to be here, though I’m still getting used to the weather,” says Heather, sweeping the hair to the side of her forehead.
Raised in Los Angeles, Heather started playing music when she was a kid in the Pentecostal church. In her early 20s, she posted a few songs to her Myspace and sought out every dyke in the country to be on her friends list.
“After I went through all of the United States I decided to find lesbians in Canada,” she says. “Which was a big task, considering I didn’t know much about the country, but I came across Chelsea — who was living in Banff at the time — and from there we started writing to one another.”
Both were in a relationship at the time but kept in close touch. When Heather lost her father, the bond between her and Chelsea thickened. When both of their respective relationships ended, they decided to give it a whirl. Heather came to visit a few times until eventually Chelsea moved to Los Angeles.
After kicking around the music scene for two years, neither musician felt they were getting anywhere. But once Prop 8 struck they knew it was time to move to Canada.
“I’m telling a story of who I am. I am not going to censor or change anything for the sake of an audience,” says Heather.
Two mugs into it, Heather got out her guitar and played “Sweet Love,” while Chelsea harmonized and treated us to an improvised version of “Canaan.” Their dog and cat even joined in on the mini kitchen party.
“We’re so surprised with the music scene in Halifax, it’s incredible,” says Chelsea. “It wasn’t like this when I grew up here, or it didn’t seem to be. It’s not like this in LA whatsoever. It’s more about looking good, getting the right connections. It’s more of a community feeling here.”
Before they left Los Angeles, Heather — known as Heather Green at the time — released her debut EP, One Year Happy. Now in the thick of their marital bliss, the two are still writing one another love songs and plan to spend the winter hibernating and working on their forthcoming albums.
“I was a poet; I never wrote lyrics for a long time,” says Chelsea. “Lyrical inspiration comes from reading old journals, storytelling, music and love.”
Check out their take on Prop 8, “The Proposition” here: