GRAMMYs 2019: Meet Brandi Carlile, This Year's Most-Nominated Female Artist

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Get to know Brandi Carlile

The 37-year-old musician is set to make waves at Sunday's GRAMMYs ceremony as this year's most-nominated female artist. With six nominations, Carlile joins Drake and Kendrick Lamar in the top three categories of Album, Record and Song of the Year. 

But if you need a crash course in Carlile, fear not. We're breaking down 12 things to know about the Americana artist. 

1. Barack Obama Is a Fan

In his 2017 year-end playlist, former U.S. president Barack Obama selected Carlile's "The Joke" as one of his song picks. Now, the single is up for Record and Song of the Year at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards after her full-length album, By the Way, I Forgive You, was released in February 2018. 

2. Elisabeth Moss Stars in an Emotional Music Video

Carlile reportedly spent nine months writing letters to convince The Handmaid's Tale actress to appear in her music video for "Party of One" -- and it worked. Moss not only agreed to star, but she also produced and served as creative director of the video.

3. She Recently Collaborated With Sam Smith

Speaking of "Party of One," Smith helped her turn the track into a duet in October. 

4. She Lives in a Log Cabin With Her Wife and Daughters

Carlile married Catherine Shepherd in 2012 and together they have two young daughters: Evangeline, 4, and Elijah, 11 months. According to a recent profile in Variety, the family resides in a hillside log cabin located 40 minutes outside Seattle, Washington. 

5. She Scored a Grey's Anatomy Feature Back in 2006

You may have heard Carlile's 2007 hit, "The Story," in an episode of Grey's Anatomy during the same year. The track is featured on the show's third soundtrack album, and a version of it was also recorded by Grey's actress Sara Ramirez. 

6. She Goes Way Back With Elton John

The Rocket Man himself called By the Way, I Forgive You "far and away the best album of 2018 [and] a masterpiece from an exceptional talent" in an email to Variety

John previously collaborated with Carlile on her 2009 album, Give Up the Ghost, and has been included in a dedication on all six of her studio albums. 

"He was always supportive, but he never loved ‘em, and you could tell, you know?" she said. "He has integrity. But I sent this album to him first, and he called me immediately and was like, ‘Oh, Brandi, this is the one.’ He actually said, ‘This is your Madman [Across the Water].‘ And he pretty much never complimented any other record I made — not even the one he was on. He’s a tough critic.”

7. She Recently Teamed Up With Maren Morris

The duo unveiled their new collaboration, "Common," onstage over the weekend. The song is expected to be included on Morris' upcoming sophomore album.

8. She Launched a Modern-Day Lilith Fair

That performance with Morris went down at Carlile's own "Girls Just Wanna" Weekend music festival in Riviera Maya, Mexico, featuring an all-female lineup of performers and billed as a modern version of Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair.

9. She's Co-Producing Tanya Tucker's Comeback Album

As a lifelong fan of the country star, Carlile is working with Shooter Jennings on co-producing Tucker's forthcoming album. 

10. She Shuns Your Musical Labels

Carlile is nominated as an Americana artist at the 2019 GRAMMYs, but she's not interested in being placed in any musical box. 

“They ask women to identify themselves,” she told Variety. “They let Jack White and Neil Young get away with being all kinds of things — being rock ’n’ roll and then being country and then being a political activist. I’ve got my sights set on that… All those categories, they’re just borders and walls. I don’t agree with either one of those things.”

11. She'll Headline Madison Square Garden This Year

On the heels of her big GRAMMY night, Carlile is set to hit the road this spring and will headline Madison Square Garden on Sept. 14. 

12. She's Using Her Voice to Invoke Societal Change

But perhaps the most important thing to know about Carlile is her message. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Carlile says she's honored to be nominated alongside a diverse crop of contenders like Janelle Monae, Lamar and Childish Gambino

“I’ve thought a lot about the evolution of protest music, and how asleep it was for such a long time, and how the people leading the charge now, where they’re minorities, where they’re queer, where they have different concepts of gender persuasion and ethnic backgrounds, those are our Bob Dylans and Jonis and Buffy Saint-Maries. They’re leading the charge,” she told the publication. “The word gets thrown around a lot, but to be nominated alongside them because of exposing myself emotionally is truly an honor.”

The 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards air Sunday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.


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