Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — bka influential Folk Rock duo Indigo Girls — were elementary school acquaintances in Georgia who began performing together after high school in the mid-’80s.
In the wake of the success of Folk-tinged singer/songwriter acts like Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman, Epic Records signed Indigo Girls in 1988 and released their self-titled album, which was boosted by college radio support and contained the duo’s enduring classic “Closer to Fine.”
In 1990, Indigo Girls were nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy, “losing” to another duo, Milli Vanilli, who famously had the award rescinded after it emerged that the two singers didn’t actually sing on their breakthrough album.
Ray and Saliers definitely sang and wrote their own material, a distinctive brand of highly melodic and richly emotive Folk Pop that has been both commercially successful and widely acclaimed by critics. The pair was a cornerstone of Lilith Fair, the groundbreaking touring festival that spotlighted women in music. Indigo Girls were featured on all three tours (1997-1999), helping to cement their status as 1990s pop culture icons.
Ray and Saliers are also icons of the LGBTQ community, having been longtime high-profile, vocal supporters of many causes and organizations over the years.
After a one-album stint with Hollywood Records, Indigo Girls returned to their early independent roots in 2007 (with distribution through Vanguard Records). The duo’s last studio album was 2015’s One Lost Day. They’ve performed with orchestras across the country and released a live album recorded with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra last year.