“A billion stars out in an endless sky, and I won’t be alone, won’t be alone won’t be alone tonight…” That resolute yearning, that longing for connection for contact for touch…These are the core forces powering Melissa Etheridge’s cherished songs throughout her singular career. But as the rousing chorus of I Won’t Be Alone Tonight, the opening song of her album This is ME, it holds some new meaning, new context.

With this album, she is not alone as a songwriter. She teamed with some of the most creative and inventive figures on the music scene: Jerrod Bettis (Adele, One Republic, Eric Hutchinson, Gavin DeGraw), Jon Levine (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan, Selena Gomez), Jerry Wonda (Grammy Award-winning producer of the Fugees, Mary J. Blige, Akon) and Roccstar (Usher, Chris Brown) at the forefront. It was a very new way of doing things for the artist, who counts two Grammy Awards and 17 nominations, an Academy Award (for I Need to Wake Up from the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth) and a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame among her many accolades.

Recording the new album proved an inspiring, electrifying experience for her, the best kind of challenge. And the resultant energy is clear in the songs. “I haven’t been this excited about making music and creating in ages,” Etheridge says. “Song after song was a great experience.”

Make no mistake-the album’s declarative title is fully fitting—not despite the collaborations, but because of them. The powerful lyrics and incomparable voice, the indelible melodies, the blazing guitars are distinctly Melissa Etheridge. And same for the soulful joy and unbridled passion powering every note, from the big sing-along pop hooks of A Little Hard Hearted and Do it Again to the greasy, swampy sounds of Ain’t that Bad and Stranger Road. These are songs right from her heart, the frisky flirtation of Take My Number and mystery-trip Stranger Road among those drawing on scenes and settings of her Kansas upbringing.

Who Are You Waiting For closes the album on the most intimate, emotional, personal, lump-in-the-throat note of her entire career. It’s the song she wrote for and debuted at her wedding earlier this year to Linda Wallem. “I opened a door to my inner little heart and wrote a song,” she says. “I sat down at the piano, started writing and the chorus came out, about how we were friends for years and years, and as we got closer it was ‘Who are you waiting for? I’m right here!’”

She made a voice memo of what she’d written and sent it to Levine. “He went crazy over it, said, ‘You gotta warn me before playing something like that!’” Levine put together the arrangement, including the organ that comes in toward the end. “That gets you,” she says. “The first time I heard that I burst into tears. I wasn’t there when he did it. It floored me.”

And that was only the preview of the song’s profound debut. “I sang it at the wedding,” Etheridge says. “I was able to keep her from hearing it before. It was my vows.”

Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics and riveting stage presence, Etheridge will share personal stories about her remarkable journey through life and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs.

Melissa Etheridge will perform at Theatre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts on September 27 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $113.50, $98.50, $83.50, $68.50 (taxes and service charges included) at the Place des Arts box office, at (514) 842-2112 and at: www.placedesarts.com