"Michelle Shocked" is a U.S. singer-songwriter whose music and performances seem influenced by her Texas roots, her political activism, and a self-assured style that her first major label producer likened to troubadors such as Joni Mitchell, Spider John Koerner, and Dave Van Ronk.
She was born "Karen Michelle Johnston" on February 24, 1962, in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of a carpenter and a woman who would end up committing her to a psychiatric hospital twenty-something years later. She graduated from high school in Gilmer, Texas and received her bachelor's degree in the Oral Interpretation of Poetry from the University of Texas in Austin. She was raised in a strict Mormon household and worked her way through college to pay for tuition.
Michelle's stage name dates back to the name she gave when arrested in 1984 at a protest for fair housing during the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, California. Her nickname was 'Chel, so "Michelle Shocked" was a play on words intended to resemble the phrase "shell shocked". The front cover of her (arguably) best-known album, ''Short Sharp Shocked'', shows her restrained by the chokehold of a San Francisco police...