During their joint Billboard cover shoot, Brandi Carlile and Margo Price sat down with each other to discuss how they felt when they learned that they each earned Grammy nominations, what the biggest challenges they have faced in the music industry are, and how they can use their artistry to bring about positive change in the world.
Recounting how it felt when she first heard that she was nominated for six Grammy awards (which makes her the most-nominated woman of this year’s ceremony), Carlile reveals that because she lives on the west coast, she was asleep at the time when her publicist called her to share the good news.
“I just couldn’t even get my head around it, and it was still unfolding at that point,” Carlile says. “We only knew about two of the six, and then Gregg Nadel called me and told me about the third, and then I walked into the bedroom, and my wife was shaking her head telling me that it was six, and it was like a dream…I guess my reaction was a strange exuberance…I just felt such joy, and it’s a strange relief that some of the work that I’ve put in for all these years had been seen.”
Price adds that she was also on the west coast, and she woke up to her phone “blowing up,” which she assumed meant that someone had died. However, once she found out that it was good news, she told her husband, attempted (and failed) to go back to sleep, and then called her mom to tell her.
The pair also chat about difficulties they have encountered within the music industry and how they overcame them, with Price pointing out that she has found it tough to navigate the business side of her music career. “It was hard for me to know who to trust,” she says. “In my early days, I signed a couple bad album deals. I had a couple publicists that took my money and ran.”
Carlile divulges that she has struggled with getting her voice heard in a room, and that she used to ask men on her team to say things for her. But over time, she realized that she wanted people to hear her voice and to take her ideas seriously. “I think that we’re in a crux of a tipping point right now,” she says, “And really maybe seeing that change for real for the first time.”
Another topic of conversation is how musicians can use their platforms and their craft to make positive impacts on the world. Price states that it has been a challenge for her to cover issues such as the pay gap, gun control, and women’s rights, especially in the country music genre, as there is the chance of losing fans over it.
“It feels kind of like we’re at a turning point music wise,” she adds. “In the 60s and the 70s, that was always the kind of stuff that really influenced me — Bob Dylan and Neil Young, people that could put it into a song without coming off in a cheesy way.”
As for what advice Carlile would give to young people, women, LGBTQ people, or “any of the misfit toys” who want to use their voices to make a difference, she emphasizes the importance of aligning yourself with a community and taking on problems together.
“Nothing has ever changed in this country, and in fact nothing’s ever changed in the world without a scene, we have to make a scene,” she adds. “That’s the takeaway from the civil rights movement, that’s the takeaway from protesting the Vietnam War, and that’s the takeaway right now from protesting the state of the country that we live in is getting together as a community: making a scene.”
You can watch the full video interview between Brandi Carlile and Margo price above, and take a look behind the scenes of their Billboard cover shoot below.