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10 Things to Know About Brandi Carlile Before SXSW 2019

If you’ve been following Americana and folk music over the past few years, you’ve likely heard the name Brandi Carlile or seen her music pop up on playlists and various radio stations. If not, then you’re in for a treat (get ready for your music repertoire to SHAKE).

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Now a three-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and producer, Brandi has been practicing music since she first learned singing at the young age of eight. Since then, she has grown, expanded, and blessed many with her raw, emotional melodies and lyrics that nearly all can relate to.

Brandi Carlile is a featured speaker at SXSW 2019 that runs from March 8 – March 17, 2019. Carlile is set to interview Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Mad Men”) about her intense transformation to play punk rocker Becky Something in the acclaimed upcoming film “Her Smell.” That talk will take place on March 10 at 12:30 P.M. at the Austin Convention Center. 

In the spirit of SXSW, we’re sharing ten things you should know about Brandi Carlile.

She is a high school dropout.

Diagnosed with an attention-deficit order as a teen, Carlile decided to drop out and fully pursue her career in music. Though many would hide behind this, Carlile stands firm in that her decision to drop out makes her who she is, and even has fun with it from time to time. See adorable Instagram moment on the topic here.

She’s an LGBTQ activist and been out since she was 14 years old.

Carlile has identified as a lesbian since her early teens and is proud of it. An activist for marriage equality, Carlile hopes to use her music and talents to support the LGBTQ community and show love for all.

She was previously a backup singer for an Elvis’ impersonator.

At sixteen years old Carlile began busking and sang backup for an Elvis Presley impersonator in Seattle, Washington. At that point in time she had taught herself everything she knew: singing, guitar and piano.

She founded the Looking Out Foundation in 2008.

Funding causes and organizations that are often not heard, the Looking Out Foundation brings together a community of musicians, fans, and other nonprofits to “translate voices of song to voices of action.” $1 of every ticket that Carlile sells goes straight back to the foundation to help causes such as the refugee crisis, UNICEF, community development, and more.

She was featured on Former President Barack Obama’s year-end playlist.

Yep, even Obama loves Carlile. Her single “The Joke” on her album “By The Way, I Forgive You” was featured on Barack Obama’s year-end playlist in 2017. You got mad good taste, Obama.

She is a family woman.

Carlile has been married to her wife Catherine Shepherd since 2012, and they have two daughters, four-year-old Evageline and one-year-old Elijah. Carlile is said to refuse going on tour without her wife or kids, a true family woman!

She tackles the topic of forgiveness in a lot of her music.

Brandi Carlile, By The Way, I Forgive You
By The Way, I Forgive You Album Art

Brandi Carlile’s seventh album “By The Way, I Forgive You” is the ultimate story of forgiveness, an act that is never an easy feat. Through her songwriting, Carlile realized that forgiveness is a “radical and ugly” process that “great beauty comes from.” Great beauty certainly did arise from the ashes of forgiveness, and we all as listeners are great benefactors.

She was this year’s most nominated woman at the Grammy’s.

In 2019, Carlile received six Grammy nods resulting in three wins: Best American Roots Performance, Best American Roots Song for “The Joke,” and Best Americana Album for “By the Way, I Forgive You.  With all these nominations, Carlile gracefully rose above other music phenomenons such as Cardi B and Lady Gaga.

She’s collaborated with Elisabeth Moss.

Elizabeth Moss was in Carlile’s music video for “Party of One” (a song that she also collaborated with Sam Smith on). You’ll be able to find out more about their relationship at their SXSW 2019 Featured Session! 

She’s headlining the 2019 Old Settler’s Music Festival.

Though we’re crossing our fingers she’ll hold an impromptu performance during SXSW, we’re already looking forward to seeing her at one of our favorite festivals of the year, Old Settler’s Music Festival. Held just a little outside of Austin in Tilmon, TX, this festival will feature Carlile on the evening of Saturday, April 13 and is bound to be an incredible show!

Stay tuned for more coverage on SXSW and be sure to follow up upcoming shenanigans on Instagram and Twitter!

Featured photo credit: Courtesy of Brandi Carlile


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