Topics: Music | The Guardian
Mary Beth Patterson ,  (born February 19, 1981),  known by her stage name Beth Ditto , is an American singer-songwriter , most notable for her work with the indie rock band Gossip  and whose voice has been compared to Etta James, Janis Joplin and Tina Turner.  She is often reported describing herself as a "fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas". 
Ditto grew up in a poor family in Arkansas in the southern United States, with her mother, various stepfathers, six siblings (two older brothers, an older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister). She was raised Southern Baptist and Pentecostal.  At age 13, she moved out of her mother's house and went to live with her aunt.  She moved to Olympia, Washington in 1999;  then to Portland, Oregon in 2003, where she lives as of 2014.  At 18, she discovered bands like Nirvana , Pearl Jam , The Raincoats and Siouxsie and the Banshees. 
She courted mild controversy in 2006 when, during an interview for NME magazine, she claimed to have eaten squirrels as a child, saying that "people in Arkansas just do – they'd think you were a freak if you ate squid there!"