Brandi Carlile Talks Grammy Nominations, LGBTQ Representation in Music & Dolly Parton: Watch

Brandi Carlile caught up with Billboard’s Chelsea Briggs on the red carpet at the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year Gala, where they chatted about Carlile’s Grammy nominations, LQBTQ representation in music and why Dolly Parton has had such a strong influence on her.

Asked how it feels to be the most-nominated female at this year’s Grammys with six total nods, Carlile tells Briggs, “It feels amazing… I’ll never forget what this experience has done for my life and I'm gonna enjoy telling my daughters about it for many, many years to come.”

Briggs then points out that if Carlile wins album of the year, she will be the first openly gay artist to do so. “I didn't even know that,” replies Carlile. “That's unbelievable. Representation is everything. I would not be standing here right now talking to you if it weren't for the Indigo Girls and Elton John and Freddie Mercury and Joan Armatrading and K.D. Lang and the people that paved the way for us in heartache and parody.”

Carlile is also asked what she thinks it is about her album By the Way, I Forgive You that resonated so well with her fans, to which she replies that when she decided to make this album with Tim and Phil Hanserot, they set out to write about how the country had changed.

“We knew we needed to examine internalized sexism, homophobia, racism, resentments that we have, people we haven't forgiven, losses that we haven't reconciled, and to do an album that just dug a little bit deeper,” she says. “I think that the album's success has more to do with the nation that we live in, and their willingness to receive what was being said, than it does actually the work.”

The conversation also covers the evening’s honoree Parton, as Carlile recalls that when she was 15 years old, she read one of Parton’s books. The fact that Parton was one of the first country western artists to support LGBTQ people left a strong impression on Carlile. “What that did for me as a 15-year-old lesbian, coming out of the closet in high school, I could never tell you what she means to me,” she says.

You can watch the full interview with Brandi Carlile above.

2019 Grammy Awards