meta-scriptChappell Roan's Big Year: The 'Midwest Princess' Examines How She Became A Pop "Feminomenon" | GRAMMY.com
Chappell Roan at Coachella 2024 Weekend 1
Chappell Roan performs during Weekend 1 of Coachella 2024.

Photo: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

interview

Chappell Roan's Big Year: The 'Midwest Princess' Examines How She Became A Pop "Feminomenon"

Just after Chappell Roan made her festival debut at Coachella, hear from the pop starlet about some of the defining moments of her career thus far — and how it all helped earn her a spot at one of music's biggest fests.

GRAMMYs/Apr 19, 2024 - 07:49 pm

Before this year, Chappell Roan had never even been to Coachella. Now, not only can she say she's attended — she's performed in the desert, too. 

Roan played an evening set on the Gobi Stage on April 12, and is set to return for Weekend 2. Fans clad in everything from cowboy boots, Sandy Liang-inspired bows and, perhaps most importantly, jorts, gathered to celebrate their shared love of Roan's radiance, karmic kink and gay cowgirl doctrine.  

Throughout her performance, bubbles breezed through the air as Roan belted out her infectious (and aptly titled) track "Femininomenon," which speaks to lover girls forced to live in an online-dating hellscape. "Ladies, you know what I mean?/ And you know what you need and so does he/ But does it happen? No!" Following collective screams of pure joy, the already enlivened crowd roused to match Roan beat-for-beat, shouting back in perfect unison, "Well, what we really need is a femininomenon!" 

In an era of bedroom pop and sad-girl music, Roan has been hailed by both critics and fans for bringing fun back to pop music. Along with her staunch sense of self, Roan's penchant for explicit lyrics that are equally parts introspective and horny makes her dance-pop anthems all the more infectious. 

Roan's ambitiously experimental debut album, 2023's The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, cemented her status as one of the most exciting pop stars on the rise. While she only recently landed her first single on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Good Luck, Babe!," her rapidly growing fan base — and an opening slot on Olivia Rodrigo's sold-out GUTS World Tour — indicate that she's on her way to superstardom.

Perhaps part of Roan's magic is that it was all on her own terms. After parting ways with her first label, Atlantic Records, she built a loyal following as an independent artist before signing with Island Records last year. Even as a major label artist, she's determined to only do things her way; her indefatigable commitment to her craft — as well as writing her own rules when it comes to fashion and makeup — is precisely why her fans are so enraptured by both her music and persona. 

Her fearlessness was on full display during her first Coachella set, where the words emblazoned on her bodysuit read "Eat Me." She talks the talk, and walks the walk (in fabulous, knee-high boots, of course), matching her unabashed aesthetic with equally bold career moves; for one, the openers for her headlining tour are local drag queens.

With eyeliner winged to the heavens, near-perfect vocal stability and fiery curls ablaze, Roan's shimmering Coachella Weekend 1 performance proved that her stage presence is equally dynamic. And if she had any doubters, she had one thing to say to them: "B—, I know you're watching!" 

In between rehearsals for her Coachella debut, Roan took a look back on her journey to one of music's most coveted stages. Below, hear from Roan about five of the most impactful milestones in her career — so far. 

Releasing Her Debut Album, The Rise And Fall Of A Midwest Princess

I ended up signing [with Island Records in 2023] because this project honestly got too big to be independent anymore. I just wasn't willing to give up anything, any creative control or for any amount of money. 

Being an independent artist was really special because I proved to myself that I could do all these hard things that I had never done. I built it with an entire friend group and many, many years of work. So it wasn't just me, but it proved a lot to me.

It proved I can make it through hard circumstances — with no money. You truly can. You do not need a label to do a lot of what an artist's career requires. You don't need a label to put on your own show, or make a music video, or even write a song, or find creative people. You don't need that s—t. I mean, a label is just money, you know? You don't need a lot of money to do this. To make it grow is, I think, where it takes a lot of money. That's what was difficult.

Music allows me to express anything, even things that I've never experienced before. It allows me to express queerness, even if it was only daydreams at that point. It allows me to express parts of me that I'm not even ready to accept yet.

I don't give a f— if you don't  f— with the music. You don't have to come to the concert. That's the whole point of it. You don't have to like it. I think throughout the year, I'm like, "What can I get away with?" Because right now it's pretty tame for what it is like to be a gay artist. But I just want to push it to see how far can I go — with the most controversial outfits or things to rile people up. I'm not really afraid to do that.

Having a song [like "Casual] with the lyric, "Knee deep in the passenger seat/ And you're eating me out," and it's being considered to go to radio. That's kind of a big thing to get away with. 

It's not even that big of a thing. What's that song? Is it Flo Rida? That's like, "Can you blow my whistle, baby/ whistle baby." Okay, that's obviously about like a f—ing blowjob. [Laughs.] No one cares about that. To me, I'm like, Let's talk about eating out on the radio. I actually think it has to be bleeped, but still, if I can get away with it, that's cool.

Feeling Financial Freedom & Stability

Not making money at all just sucked. But I learned how to do my own makeup and bedazzle and sew a little bit. I think that the scrappiness came from [the idea that] it's scrappy if it's fun. 

I think that's what kept me going — because if this wasn't fun, I would not even be here. But it was scrappy and fun, and it was with my friends. It didn't feel dire. I was also just working at a coffee shop, and I was a nanny, and I was working at a donut shop. I was doing part time jobs all on the side too. So it was all just rough [in the beginning].

I have freedom because now [singing] is my full-time job. It provides for me now. As the project grows, I can do bigger shows and be like, I want outfit changes now, and I want more lights, and I want confetti. I can afford confetti now! 

It's about expanding the universe in a thoughtful way. And not just like throwing a s— ton of money at things to make things look expensive or wear all this designer s— for no reason. 

I just try to look at how we are starting to gain momentum financially and see how can I intentionally use that to, one, pay the team in a way where they're not bare bones anymore, and two, [ask ourselves] how can we honor this project and this album and the queer community? Can we pay drag queens more? Can we bring drag on the road? Now, financially, doors have opened where we can walk through them with love and intention. Just recklessly, throwing money at s— to see if it works. 

Opening Olivia Rodrigo's Arena Tour

Olivia [Rodrigo] just asked. It was official, we went through our management. But I was like, Oh my God

Preparing a 40-minute set is a different vibe than headlining, obviously. You are going out to an audience that is not there for you and doesn't necessarily care if you're there or not.

This is, like, my fourth or fifth artist I've opened for. But for an arena tour, I just needed to gather my nerves. I think that's the difference between any other show. Like, F—, there's 20,000 people out there right now. I've never performed in front of that many people. I don't know what this emotion is, and I just have to tame it right now.

Standing Up For Herself Creatively, Even When There's Pushback

I stand up for myself, I would say, every day. Sometimes, you get this opportunity, a huge opportunity with a lot of money on the table. [Yet,] I'm just like, That just doesn't make sense creatively. That doesn't align with my values. I'm not doing that. 

One huge creative decision was I stood up and pushed the entire headlining Midwest Princess tour back to the fall. The album was supposed to come out while we were on tour. I was like, "This is a horrible idea!" 

That caused a big ruckus, but it ended up being fine, and I was right. I'm usually right. [Laughs.] It's like a mother with her kid — a mother knows best. I feel like [that] when it comes to the integrity of my project.

I know how it is to not be able to afford a ticket or even f—ing food. A concert ticket, a lot of times, means multiple meals for someone. I get it, I couldn't afford some artists' tickets. That's why it's really important to me to try to keep them as low as I can and my merch as low as I can. 

There's pushback of ticket prices being low and we're playing rooms that are so expensive. The fee to even play them is so expensive. So, you have to raise the ticket prices to just even be able to afford to play the room. There's always an argument [with my team] there, every tour. I'm in control of stuff and if I'm saying this is how it's going to be —- it's just going to be that way.

Performing At Coachella For The First Time 

[After the first weekend of Coachella] I am feeling very relieved. I was so stressed about many things. How is the outfit going to work? Will the crowd really be engaged? It went so well, I have no qualms with anything. I loved every second of it.

It feels like I am partying with [my fans]. I am not performing to them; I’m performing with them. [I want people to remember] a really fun, freeing show. Very campy but very meaningful too. 

4 Ways Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS World Tour Shows A New Side Of The Pop Princess

Teezo Touchdown performing
Teezo Touchdown

Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/WireImage 

list

10 Acts You Can't Miss At Bonnaroo 2024: Four Tet, Teezo Touchdown, Chappell Roan & More

From acts that embody the classic jam band spirit like Joe Russo’s Almost Dead to fan favorites like Idles, read on for 10 must-see sets at Bonnaroo 2024.

GRAMMYs/Jun 10, 2024 - 01:25 pm

Anyone who’s been to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which returns June 13-16 for its 21st edition, will know that the Manchester, Tennessee festival can be a marathon.  

High summer temperatures and humidity, often some rain and mud, and more than 100 artists to navigate over four full days — three of which extend with late-night sets that run until nearly 4 a.m. But, veteran Roo attendees also know that it’s well worth enduring. 

Of the myriad fests held each year, few have the sense of community felt at Bonnaroo. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the majority of the roughly 90,000 attendees are camping, meaning that no matter what happens, they’re all in it together. Or maybe it has to do with the fest’s self-generated “Bonnaroovian code,” which implores festgoers to “radiate positivity” throughout.

During the early aughts, a huge part of the bonding experience arrived during cross-generational legacy artist sets — often classic rock legends or big time jam bands closing out the fest’s final day — including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Phish, Widespread Panic and the String Cheese Incident. As primary ticket buyer age demographics shifted, so did the lineups, particularly with regard to headliners, who began leaning more prominently toward pop, hip-hop and EDM. This year’s finale sets feature Pretty Lights (playing two full back-to-back sets on June 13 plus a sunrise set two nights later), Post Malone, Fred again.. and Red Hot Chili Peppers (the one top-line exception as they’re arguably a legacy act at this point). 

Of course, there are plenty of performers amongst the lineup’s incredibly diverse undercard that still embody the classic jam band spirit, and even more newcomers or rising stars that encompass a mind boggling range of musical styles. Read on to get the inside line on 10 must-see artists who fall into the latter category. 

Say She She

If you’re angling to find a dance party to get your blood pumping on the first day of the fest, look no further than Brooklyn-based Say She She. Fronted by three women — Piya Malik (formerly of Chicano Batman), Sabrina Mileo Cunningham and Nya Gazelle Brown — Say She She produce flawless harmonies over what they describe as “discodelic soul.”

At their core, they sound like Nile Rogers and Chic, who they’ve candidly owned as chief influences (to the point where Rogers reached out to personally give them a nod). There’s sometimes bits of ABBA vibes sprinkled in, but all that said, their sound is hardly a rip-off. The music certainly pays tribute to classic disco, but with elements of 90s R&B and neo-soul, it comes across as fresh, unfiltered and — on the strength of three voices harnessing incredible range — capable of moving in countless other sonic directions. They’re two albums in (sophomore full-length Silver was released last year) and already garnering shining reviews; now’s the time to catch an act in a small tent before they assuredly graduate to bigger stages.

Read more: Say She She's Big Year: How The NYC Disco Funk Group Made Sure The World Wouldn't Forget Them 

Abby Holliday

Indie rock is a fine general description for the music of singer/songwriter Abby Holliday, but it’s difficult to put her style in one box. Sure, a lot of the music on her 2023 sophomore album I’M OK NO I’M NOT sounds quite a bit like boygenius, but it dares to go further. Holliday incorporates unexpected elements like autotune vocals, which often resonate like Bon Iver and at other times more closely resemble the hooks from popular hip-hop songs.

Amid the gentle melodies and distinctly emotional lyrics are bursts of heaviness and exuberant energy, which in all likelihood will translate to a magnetic set to help kick off the Roo roster on June 14. One can only imagine how triumphant it might feel to play an essentially hometown fest of this magnitude (Holliday is based in Nashville, about an hour’s drive west). It’s almost a sure bet it will be a milestone moment worth witnessing.  

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

The first Bonnaroo in 2002 was headlined by Trey Anastasio, moe. and Widespread Panic (among others), and slowly but surely, Bonnaroo has veered away from those jam band-heavy roots. But there’s always something in the mix harkening back to those origins, and this year it’s unmistakably Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.

The five-piece group was conceived in 2013 by its namesake drummer / singer along with another jam rock veteran, Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and has since established itself as one of the foremost Grateful Dead tribute bands (they play other tunes, but the Dead are the main focus). The last Grateful Dead-oriented performance at Roo was Dead and Company’s back-to-back double sets in 2016, so if you’re looking to experience some long-awaited old school Roo vibes among the fest’s veteran fans, make sure to pop by JRAD’s show on June 14. 

Gary Clark Jr.

With the March release of latest album JPEG raw, Austin, Texas-bred guitar hero and four-time GRAMMY winner Gary Clark Jr. seems intent on breaking out of the blues mold — a common blanket description for his catalog spanning nearly two decades. On his fourth full-length, he delves deep into hip-hop, classic R&B (notably with a feature from living legend Stevie Wonder on “What About the Children”) and even traditional African music. If you’ve listened closely to Clark’s music all along, you’d know that he’s always incorporated a slew of styles, but his recent recordings represent the most overt effort to exude his sonic diversity.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years — which will doubtless be on full display during his Bonnaroo appearance — is Clark’s penchant for superb shredding. You already know this if you’ve seen him live, and for all the newcomers, get ready for your jaw to drop for the duration of his hour-long set on June 14.

Read more: Gary Clark, Jr. On 'JPEG RAW': How A Lockdown Jam Session, Bagpipes & Musical Manipulation Led To His Most Eclectic Album Yet

Cage the Elephant

Kentucky-bred outfit Cage the Elephant delivers one of the most riveting rock shows around. With his Iggy Pop-esque antics — never not running and writhing from end to end and often standing atop the audience — frontman Matt Shultz’s stage presence alone is enough to rile up thousands of fest fans at any time of day.

That’s been the standard since they put out their 2008 self-titled debut, and based on the decidedly anthemic indie-rock sonics of just-released sixth full-length Neon Pill (plus the fact that they’ll be only a little more than a month into touring and imbued with a fresh burst of boisterousness), there’s every chance the band’s June 15 main stage set will manifest as an explosive Roo moment not-to-be-missed. 

Teezo Touchdown

Hailing from the small, unsuspecting East Texas city of Beaumont, rapper, singer/songwriter and producer Teezo Touchdown (born Aaron Lashane Thomas) only launched his professional career eight years ago. But within the past four years, he’s become a household name among contemporary rappers. His 2023 debut album How Do You Sleep at Night? notably featured 10-time GRAMMY nominee Janelle Monáe; in the years preceding, he’d already collaborated with Travis Scott, Tyler, the Creator, and Lil Yachty. He performed to his largest audience as a guest at this year’s Coachella during Doja Cat’s headlining sets to perform their single “MASC.”

Yet, his impressive set of credentials isn’t the main reason you should include him on your Bonnaroo schedule. He’s an enigmatic performer: sporting his signature wig of nails and flower bouquet-enshrouded microphone, he switches seamlessly from sharp raps to ear worm singing. There’s never a lapse in his on-stage energy, assurance that his early evening set on June 15 will provide a surefire pick-me-up to help push through the remainder of the marathon fest.

Read more: Teezo Touchdown, Tiana Major9 & More Were In Bloom At The 2024 GRAMMYs Emerging Artist Showcase 

Jake Wesley Rogers

Jake Wesley Rogers has come a tremendously long way from his first spotlight at age 15 on "America’s Got Talent" in 2012 (where he was eliminated). He supported Kesha on her Only Love Tour in 2023, and now he’s opening the main stage on the final day of Bonnaroo. 

The Missouri native’s rise to budding star, built upon four EPs and a handful of standalone singles, is well deserved. On stage, Rogers absolutely belts a soulful, goosebumps-inducing tenor, and he performs with all the glamorous energy of a young Elton John (even sporting similarly flamboyant sunglasses and climbing atop his piano while banging on the keys). Muster the energy to get on the field early after three days, or you might regret missing a pivotal moment for an artist who’s likely on his way to fest headliner status.

Read more: Tour Diary: See Jake Wesley Rogers' Favorite Photos & Memories From Touring With Panic! At The Disco 

Idles

For the past decade or so, post-punk has seen a significant resurgence, and on the surface it may appear that England’s Idles are one of the bands leading the charge, but they’ve staunchly rejected the descriptor. Vocalist Joe Talbot said it directly in a recent interview with British daily newspaper the Times: “We’re not a punk band.”

There’s ample evidence of that on their fifth album, 2023’s Tangk, which delves into new sonic territory with songs like “Dancer,” where the band mixed in elements of art-pop via collaboration with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and Nancy Whang. Backtrack to third album Ultra Mono (released in 2020 at the height of the pandemic) and you’ll hear that they were already veering away from the punk rock mold with distinct elements of hip-hop and other styles on songs like “Grounds.”

All that said, their shows resonate with the in-your-face energy of punk rock, yet they stand out significantly among other bands of the genre by exuding an overwhelmingly positive, unifying spirit. Many fans have described their show as something akin to church, and with the group at the top of their game and at a festival that already historically proliferates such a mindset, their Bonnaroo appearance on June 15 is certain to be one for the books. 

Read more: IDLES Chatter With Joe Talbot: How The British Rockers Get Personal, Political & Festival Filthy 

Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan is having a major moment. The 26-year-old electro-pop singer/songwriter (real name: Kayleigh Rose Amstutz) immediately became a viral sensation when she dropped her song “Die Young” on YouTube at age 17. Now — after releasing debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess (a nod to her Missouri origins) in 2023 and opening for Olivia Rodrigo on her Guts World Tour earlier this year — she’s become one of the most anticipated artists at 2024 festivals nationwide.

Roan, which Amstutz equates to a sex-positive drag persona, performs with supreme professionalism, and her ability to deliver pristine vocals while exhibiting unerring athleticism (high kicks aplenty) proliferates non-stop audience engagement. Her fans are diehards who belt out every word, and with a relatively small platform at Bonnaroo in a tent on June 16, she’s sure to draw one of the most overflowing audiences of the weekend. If you wanna get anywhere close to the stage (and you should), make sure to arrive early.

Read more: Chappell Roan's Big Year: The 'Midwest Princess' Examines How She Became A Pop "Feminomenon" 

Four Tet

It’s almost a disservice that electronic musician/producer Four Tet is slated for a late afternoon/early evening set at Bonnaroo, a couple of hours before sunset. His hypnotic and experimental yet highly danceable compositions lend themselves to a late-night performance packed with spellbinding lights cutting through the darkness to illuminate the pulsating crowd. 

On the other hand, he boasts a legendary reputation for live sets, plus a prolific catalog that spans more than 20 years and 12 studio albums, including this year’s Three. As a whole, it's a discography that can cater to not only electronica fanatics, hip-hop heads (note his many collaborations with Madlib) and experimental enthusiasts. To boot, there’s potential for some special moments during his appearance on June 16. Four Tet has previously played alongside the final night’s headliner Fred again.., so the potential for that guest spot alone might make it even more worth it to prioritize his performance. 

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More 

 

Tanner Adell Press Photo 2024
Tanner Adell

Photo: Chase Foster

interview

Tanner Adell's Big Year: The Country Newcomer Talks Stagecoach, "BLACKBIIRD," & Meeting Her Childhood Idols

As Tanner Adell continues making waves in country music, she shares some of the most monumental moments from her career so far — from featuring on Beyoncé's critically acclaimed 'COWBOY CARTER' to making space for Black women at the CMT Music Awards.

GRAMMYs/Jun 6, 2024 - 02:48 pm

With one bold tweet, Tanner Adell's life changed.

"As one of the only Black girls in the country music scene, I hope Bey decides to sprinkle me with a dash of her magic for a collab," she wrote, minutes after Beyoncé premiered "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" and "16 CARRIAGES" during this year's Super Bowl in February.

At first, Adell was mocked for her pitch. "You're trying too hard, love," one user said. Another chimed in, "Baby, that album is finished with all the songs cleared. I don't know about this one. Maybe, open for the tour," another user remarked.

But she wasn't bothered by the chatter: "Those people said I look desperate, I'm like, 'You must not know me, b—!" Adell reveals to GRAMMY.com with a hearty laugh. 

Confidence is the inner core of the Tanner Adell ethos. And her boldness paid off because shortly after when Beyoncé approached her to feature on COWBOY CARTER.

In Adell's first music release of 2024, she appeared alongside Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts in Beyoncé's cover of "BLACKBIIRD" by The Beatles. It was a full-circle moment for Adell in more ways than one, as her father used to sing the song to her as a child. Little did she know, decades later, she would popularize the track's backstory — the plight of Black women in the American South — alongside one of her heroes.

But before Adell became one of Beyoncé's songbirds, she was also the Buckle Bunny. On the 11-track mixtape, Adell traced the provocative tales of an acrylic nail-wearing, lasso-wielding heartbreaker. But for every Black girl that listens, it's more than a country project. It's also a reminder that it's okay to be feminine and girly, just like Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift.

Among her rodeo of exciting firsts, Adell tacks another on June 8, when she makes her debut at Nashville's Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest. She'll perform on the Platform Stage at the stadium; the next day, she'll play a set at the Good Molecules Reverb Stage outside of Bridgestone Arena.

Below, hear from Adell about her most memorable firsts thus far, from having her debut daytime television performance on "The Jennifer Hudson Show" to bonding with Gayle King behind the scenes at Stagecoach Music Festival.

Seeing Her Breakthrough Single, "Buckle Bunny," Have A Second Life

I released "Buckle Bunny" on the Buckle Bunny EP in July 2023. I actually teased it on social media first. Almost nine months before that, I had gone super viral with it. It was doing incredibly well, so my plans were to release it in January or February of last year. But, I ended up signing a record deal in December of 2022. There were plans for it at that time, but the timeline kept getting pushed back. It turned into a fight to get that song back into my hands, which was what prompted me to go independent. Eventually, I was able to work with my label, shake hands, and mutually part ways.

I started this year as an independent artist with this song that everybody loves. It's become a huge part of my brand, but it's really my life story. People might think it's a dumb song that was easy to write, but I was called a "buckle bunny." As a teenager growing up between Los Angeles and Star Valley, Wyoming, I was into glam country, and "Buckle Bunny" is the pinnacle of that. 

"Buckle Bunny" was my first single that charted. I felt like I finally had broken through that invisible box that Nashville put me in as a country musician. It was me saying, I'm not going to follow any rules. I'm going to be as true to myself as possible.

We, as Black women, have been fighting our whole lives. We've been fighting for space. I'm purposely trying to bring softness into the picture, allowing women who listen to my music to know that it's okay to feel that way. We don't always have to have our walls up.

"Buckle Bunny" is aggressively confident, but I think that's the door to softness. You have to be self-assured to let your walls down. My newest single, "Whiskey Blues," is my next step into that. I have another song on my social media, "Snakeskin," that people want me to release. "Buckle Bunny" is like the girl who protects those softer moments.

In a way, I look at all of this as a relationship between Tanner Adell, the artist, and Tanner, the person. For me, Tanner Adell is the buckle bunny. Then, you have Tanner, who's on the inside, writing all of these songs.

Serving A Bold Fashion Statement On Her First Major Red Carpet

I wore Bantu knots! I've always loved Bantu knots in all styles, the really small ones and the larger ones. There were ideas about whether I should do a certain number of them that was significant to me in some way.

I work very closely with Bill Wackermann, who was the CEO of Wilhemina Models. He does a lot of styling and has a close relationship with my manager. So, my manager was like, "You would love him!" At the time, I was trying to hone in on what myself is. What's the message I'm trying to convey through my fashion, hair, and beauty? 

Bill sat down with me, and I told him I wanted Natalia Fedner to do my dress, which is that stretchy chain metal dress. Originally, I thought I would do my long blonde hair, but Bill was the one who told me, "This is your first major red carpet as an invited artist. Think about what you want your hair to say." As a Black woman, our hair tells 1,000 stories with whatever it is, and the lightbulb went off in my head.

I knew I wanted my hair to say everything I needed to say without having to say anything at all. I also knew there would be a lot of people who didn't know the significance behind it or just thought it was some extreme hairstyle.

I've looked very deeply into my heritage. It turns out I have a bit of Bantu heritage in my DNA. I thought that was so cool because I do love the knots so much.

The CMT Awards were a big thing at my school, Utah Valley University. Everyone would get together in the dorms and watch the show. It's crazy that a couple years ago, I was watching it, and I'm here now. I feel very respected and loved. People I've looked up to would come up to me, and I was like, "I'm a huge fan." And they're like, "No! I listened to you."

I got to meet Gayle King, who I absolutely love. I remember watching her from afar while she was doing "CBS Mornings." She saw me from across the room, and I kid you not, in the middle of her interview, she started walking towards me. She was like, "I just want to tell you that you're so beautiful. The Bantu knots are stunning." That was my favorite moment of the night.

I also had the chance to see Tiera Kennedy. She's so sweet. We got matching blackbird tattoos before that. Being on the red carpet for the first time, it was comforting to see a familiar face. It really reinforces that idea that I belong here.

Being A Part Of COWBOY CARTER

So, I'm adopted. I have four siblings. We're all biracial, but our adoptive parents are both white. Obviously, my dad is a white man with five Black children. My parents always wanted me to understand that I am a Black woman, and he was very educational when it came to music. He taught me about the Black female power players and the buzz in the industry. But The Beatles were his favorite. So, when I finally told them the news, my dad immediately got choked up. He told me that "Blackbird" was one of his favorite Beatles songs.

My dad isn't the best with words when it comes to expressing his emotions, especially in front of people. He's a quiet, reserved dude. So, he eventually texts me, sending me screenshots about the meaning behind "Blackbird." The reason why it was his favorite song was because he had Black girls, and he told me, "This is special. This is not a burden to carry, but it might be a bit of weight on your shoulders. Keep your head up high and walk knowing that this is why he wrote this song."

I can remember going to a recital as a kid and being so nervous, but my dad was so confident and excited about my abilities. Was that strategic? Was it quiet strength? Maybe. It feels like this song has been a part of my whole life. So, to be on it, on such a massive album, feels very divine.

The whole process was a surprise. It took a few weeks to set in. But I always knew I would work with [Beyoncé], and I always said it's a matter of "when," not if. 

On the day of the Super Bowl, I saw that black-and-white picture of her, and I thought it looked a lot like a photoshoot that I took the week before. Let me make a tweet, just to put it out there. I don't know — she's magical! She has her way of knowing everything that's going on all the time. 

I think that tweet has almost 10 million views. It was fun to go back to that tweet to see the people who were supporting me. And also getting to say "I told you" to the people who didn't. It kicked off a Renaissance — pun intended.

Performing At Her First Stagecoach Music Festival

I have bad social anxiety, and I get nervous in front of crowds and people. So, festivals were never something that interested me, but Stagecoach was always one I felt like I could go to. And I was not disappointed.

I had the first slot of the day, which is a s—ty slot for anyone, but you have to pay your dues in country music. It's how you build your cred with these festivals, to show you're a hard worker and will perform like you're at a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden. And I did.

Mentally, I prepared for no one. I told myself it was okay if nobody came, and I'll perform like I always do. I'll figure out where the camera is and perform it for the jumbotron, so if no one comes to the pit, the people watching the livestream will have a great show. 

Well, I didn't have an empty pit! People showed the f— up and out. I heard people in line thought they were going to miss it because the gates opened late. Within the first 10 minutes, the VIP pit was half-filled with people screaming and running in their sweet little cowboy boots and hats. That never happens at Stagecoach or Coachella, but it's a testament to the relationship I built within my listeners. It was eye-opening for me. I don't think I'm ever going to play to a dead crowd again.

Before, Levi's reached out and said I was the first artist they wanted to collaborate with for Stagecoach. So, they custom-made my outfit. I told them I have these ribbons, inspired by my mom, who was a rodeo queen. I also told them if they can't incorporate them, I probably won't do it. But they loved it! And it was special because it came back to my mom. She was a winner, so when I wear the ribbons, I'm also a winner.

My mom has competed in over 1,000 competitions and probably places in half of those. In Wyoming, we had a big wall, covered in those IQHA (International Quarter Horse Association) ribbons. She gave me a strong sense of competition.

Making Her Debut On Daytime TV

I have overcome very serious, debilitating stage fright. I don't get nervous anymore, and performing live is my favorite thing. But I was not prepared for what a television show taping looks like.

We had a soundcheck, and there were a bunch of suits in groups of threes and fours standing everywhere. There were all these cameras and lights. Then, I start realizing I'm about to meet J. Hud, who I made little custom Crocs for. It was a dream come true.

I know a lot about her story. We have very different upbringings, but we're similar in the sense of trying to stand on ground that isn't steady. I see her as someone who is a great example. She's reached so many different avenues. For me to be able to sit down with an EGOT winner is a great honor. 

I kind of like to keep my manifestations as quiet as possible. I don't tell anybody anything, but an EGOT is something I wouldn't mind having, you know?

I look at her as a woman who exceeded greatness. So, it was just amazing — and for my first television debut. I felt like this is right for me.

Why 2024 Is The Year Women In Country Music Will Finally Have Their Moment

CMA Fest 2024 Playlist Hero
(L-R) Kelsea Ballerini, Dalton Dover, Chase Matthew, Jelly Roll, Ella Langley, Dasha, Avery Anna, Breland

Photos (L-R): Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BRELAND & Friends, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for iHeartRadio, Amy E. Price/Getty Images, Jason Kempin/Getty Images, Brynn Osborn/CBS via Getty Images, Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BRELAND & Friends

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Get Ready For CMA Fest 2024: Listen To A Playlist By Dasha, Ella Langley, Chase Matthew, Avery Anna, & Dalton Dover

As country stars and fans flock to Nashville for CMA Fest, five of the lineup's most exciting acts curated a playlist of the songs they're looking forward to hearing live — from Shaboozey's "A Bar Song (Tipsy)" to Lainey Wilson's "Watermelon Moonshine."

GRAMMYs/Jun 5, 2024 - 02:25 pm

For more than 50 years, the Country Music Association has hosted the genre's biggest annual party in Nashville, Tennessee: CMA Fest. Originally dubbed Fan Fair, what began as a 5,000-person celebration of country music has turned into a four-day festival that draws an estimated 90,000 people each day. And with the genre being at an all-time high, the 2024 iteration of CMA Fest might just be the most thrilling yet.

The 51st annual CMA Fest will take over Nashville from June 6-9, with upwards of 300 country artists performing. As rising stars — and returning CMA Fest performers — Avery Anna, Dalton Dover and Chase Matthew will tell you, the magic of the weekend affair has always come down to the fans.

"I love the connection that the festival provides between artists and fans," Anna says. Dover adds, "Whether it's being reunited with those I've met in the past or getting some time to say hello to all the new faces in the crowd, it's just so special to be able to connect with everyone over our love for country music."

Matthew, who grew up in Nashville, has been part of both sides of CMA Fest. "I've seen CMA Fest grow to become this epic event that every music fan should experience," he says. "It's a great opportunity for fans to see and interact with their favorite country stars, as well as discover new artists they may not have had the opportunity to hear yet."

Even Dasha, who will be experiencing her first CMA Fest this year, knows just how important it is to any country music artist or fan: "CMA Fest is such an iconic celebration of country music."

Thanks to the runaway success of her hit "Austin," Dasha will be taking the Platform Stage at Nissan Stadium, which will highlight two budding stars each night amid performances from the genre's biggest names. "When I got that call, I got online to see the number of seats there and my jaw was on the ground," she recalls. "That'll be my biggest show to date, and I can't wait to show the people what we've got."

This year's CMA Fest also marks a first for Ella Langley, who will make her inaugural appearance on the Chevy Riverfront Stage in a "full-circle moment." And in teasing what she'll bring to her set, Langley encapsulated the energy of CMA Fest as a whole: "I hope the fans are ready for a bunch of dancing, a good message and a really good time."

As they prepped for CMA Fest 2024, Ella Langley, Dasha, Chase Matthew, Dalton Dover, and Avery Anna helped curate a playlist of songs they're excited to see — and perform — live. Whether or not you'll be heading to Nashville, jam out to tracks from Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Cody Johnson, Zach Top, Megan Moroney, and more.

Photo of Romy performing during the C6 Fest at Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May 2024. Romy is singing with her eyes closed in a blue and pink shirt.
Romy performs in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images 

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15 LGBTQIA+ Artists Performing At 2024 Summer Festivals

From Renée Rapp, Chappell Roan and Ethel Cain, to Megan Thee Stallion and Conan Gray, 2024 summer festivals are stacked with a rainbow of amazing queer artists to see.

GRAMMYs/Jun 5, 2024 - 01:27 pm

Festival season is well underway, both stateside and abroad, with NYC’s Gov Ball, Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, and the UK’s Glastonbury Festival offering an array of acts across multiple stages.

In honor of Pride Month, we’ve rounded up a bunch of LGBTQIA+ artists gracing this summer’s festival circuit  — as well as a few Pride-specific festivals —  that you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re in the mood to dance the night away, cry on your best friend’s shoulder, or just vibe out, there are established and rising artists to suit festival-goers with a variety of musical tastes.

Chappell Roan

After opening for Olivia Rodrigo on her GUTS tour, Midwest Princess Chappell Roan took the world by storm with her live-streamed Coachella performance during the desert festival’s first weekend, coming back just as strong in the second weekend. She also performed on NPR's Tiny Desk series, and her latest single “Good Luck, Babe!” slingshotted her even further into super-stardom. You’d be foolish to miss your chance to catch her on this year’s festival circuit. This time next year, she’ll probably be headlining.  

Where to see Chappell Roan: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Kentuckiana Pride Festival  

Louisville, Kentucky 

June 15 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sept. 29 

Renée Rapp 

“Mean Girl” Reneé Rapp has had a banner year promoting her 2023 debut album, Snow Angel, the follow-up to her 2022 EP Everything to Everyone, reprising her Broadway role of Regina George in the movie adaptation of the "Mean Girls" musical, collaborating with Megan thee Stallion, and coming out as a lesbian. Snow Angel found the singer exercising her range both vocally and emotionally, and her live performances show off those impressive vocals even more. Luckily, you have a few chances to catch her at a festival this summer. 

Where to see Renée Rapp: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Friday Aug. 2 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sep. 29 

Blondshell 

Previously performing under the moniker BAUM, Sabrina Teitelbaum has found her niche as Blondshell, writing unflinchingly honest and relatable lyrics about the human condition and belting them out over noisy guitars. Blondshell burst on the scene in 2022 with a '90s-inspired sound, reminiscent of the shoegaze bands of grunge’s golden era. Her self-titled 2023 debut album explores themes of failed relationships and shame, sobriety, unrequited love for a woman, and even a little murder, all with levity and vulnerability most 20-somethings can relate to. 

Aside from the obvious perks of the loud guitars during her live set, you might also be lucky enough to catch a cool cover–she’s known to perform Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon” at shows, and she just released a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel” for the A24 tribute album, Everyone’s Getting Involved.  

Where to see Blondshell: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Day In Day Out 

Seattle, Washington  

Performing Sunday, July 13 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3  

All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Sunday, Sep. 29 

G Flip 

Maybe you always knew who G Flip was. Maybe you were introduced to the nonbinary Aussie artist when they made headlines for their relationship with reality TV star Chrishell Stause. Or maybe you became a fan when you heard their incredible, sapphic-twisted cover of Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” for triple-J’s Like a Version series (which even got Taylor’s stamp of approval).   

However you found G Flip, you probably became a little obsessed instantly, marveling at their ability to croon and play the drums simultaneously without missing a beat. The energy G brought to their in-studio performance at triple-J is indicative of the energy you’ll see on the stage when they play a couple of festivals this summer.  

Where to see G Flip: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Sunday, June 9 

Nashville Pride 

Nashville, Tennessee 

Performing Sunday, June 23 

Backlot Bash 

Chicago, Illinois 

June 30 

Spin Off Adelaide 

Adelaide, Australia 

July 19 

Romy

Romy might be better known as part of British indie trio the xx, but her career as a solo artist is just as worthy of recognition. Making feel-good dance music about queer love, the 2024 GRAMMYs first time nominee has the unique ability to transport you to a world where everything is okay and there’s no better place to be than moving in tandem with the people around you. For a true one-with-the-crowd festival experience, jumping around to Romy’s electro-pop is the perfect option. 

Where to see Romy: 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Lollapalooza  

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

Ethel Cain

Ethel Cain is a force to be reckoned with. Despite the unconventional nature of her music  — which explores themes of religion and conceptual stories about abuse — she’s made a place for herself in the mainstream with singles like “Crush” and “American Teenager" (the latter track nabbed a spot on President Barack Obama’s end-of-year playlist in 2022).   

More than just a great storyteller, she’s an easy to admire artist who is outspoken about human rights. Plus, her performances always feel intimate, even when they’re on festival stages in front of a huge crowd. 

 Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 3 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Thing Festival 

Carnation, Washington 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 10 

 All Things Go 

Columbia, Maryland 

Performing Saturday, Sep. 28 

Ryan Beatty

Singer/songwriter Ryan Beatty may be your favorite artist’s favorite artist. He became a bit of a teen sensation in the early aughts for his YouTube covers of popular songs, later gaining wider recognition for his Brockhampton collaborations. His solo career has since taken off, making him a reference point for other singer/songwriters — especially following his 2023 album, Calico 

His knack for songwriting even led him to working on a number of tracks on Beyoncé’s COWBOY CARTER album. Ryan’s songs are tender and full of yearning, brimming with raw and real emotion–it’s best to bring some tissues when you catch one of his sets. 

Where to see Ryan Beatty: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Saturday, June 15 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

The Japanese House 

Amber Bain, or the artist known as the Japanese House, shied away from publicity at the beginning of her career. Hand-picked by Matty Healy of The 1975 to make music under his label, Dirty Hit, Bain's haunting melodies and painfully relatable lyrics resonated with listeners and critics — even when they didn’t know who was singing and producing the tracks they were falling for.   

Now, she’s proud to take all the credit for her hard work and talent. The Japanese House’s latest effort, In the End It Always Does, is packed with resonant tracks about growing up, longing, existentialism, and even a sweet, sad ode to man’s best friend — her dog, Joni Jones, is named for Joni Mitchell — all of which sound incredible live. 

Where to see The Japanese House: 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Friday, June 14 

Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Thursday, Aug. 1 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Outside Lands  

San Francisco, California 

Aug. 9 – Aug. 11 

Performance date TBD 

 MUNA 

When MUNA calls themselves “the greatest band in the world,” they aren’t lying. The L.A.-based queer pop trio toured for nearly all of 2023, including playing as an opening act for select dates of Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras tour. Their fanbase blew up since signing to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records in 2021 and releasing their third album, led by the hit single “Silk Chiffon.”   

MUNA has built on that momentum by perfecting their live show, as evidenced by two stellar sold out tour-closing shows at Los Angeles' Greek Theater. While they’re taking a break from touring to work on their next record, MUNA are making a few festival stops this summer, including in singer Katie Gavin’s hometown of Chicago.  

L.A. Pride in the Park 

Los Angeles, California 

Saturday, June 8 

Summerfest 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

June 20 – 22, June 27 – 29, July 4 – 6 

Performing Friday, June 27 

Pitchfork Music Festival 

Chicago, Illinois 

July 19 – July 21 

Performing Sunday, July 21 

Newport Folk Festival 

Newport, Rhode Island 

July 26 – July 28 

Performing Friday, July 26 

Ashnikko 

Ashnikko doesn’t fit into any box, and no two songs sound the same. The blue-haired phenom’s catalog spans from upbeat hyperpop-rap infusions about hard work, reimagined cheers from Bring It On with horror influences, and emo-tinged ballads about how scary it feels to be safely in love. With such a diverse range, you couldn’t possibly be bored watching her perform, especially since her live sets usually boast great visual effects and choreography.  

Where to see Ashnikko: 

Outloud Festival  

Los Angeles, California 

June 1 – June 2 

Performing Sunday, June 2 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Open’er Festival 

Gdynia, Poland 

July 3 – July 6 

Performing Wednesday, July 3 

Arlo Parks

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Arlo Parks is the mellow you need in your hectic festival schedule. The 24-year-old is wise beyond her years, as reflected in the gorgeous lyrics about falling in love all over her 2023 album, My Soft Machine: On “Devotion,” she sings, “Your touch embroiders me/I'm wide open,” on “Pegasus,” which features Phoebe Bridgers, she muses, “Never felt luckier than I do right now/Tell me you love me, let me have it.”  

Arlo also released her debut poetry book, The Magic Border, last year, offering her lyrical talent in an even more raw form of expression. While her music is soft and dreamy, she doesn’t shy away from hard and fast guitars on a bunch of tracks, making live performances more exhilarating than you might expect.  

Where to see Arlo Parks: 

Glastonbury Festival 

Pilton, England 

June 26 – June 30 

Performing Wednesday, June 26 

Mad Cool Festival 

Madrid, Spain 

July 10 – July 13 

Performing Saturday, July 13 

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival 

Montréal, Canada 

Performing Friday, Aug. 2 

Thing Festival 

Carnation, Washington 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 10 

Palehound

Indie band Palehound got a shoutout from the New York Times for their 2023 single, “Independence Day,” a hopeful, if not deluded, breakup song with plucky guitar and a fun-to-chant chorus about “living life like writing a first draft.” Despite having a pretty major reach, Palehound, made up of El Kempner (they/them) Zoë Brecher, and Larz Brogan, is still a fairly DIY band, which makes them all the more fun to listen to, especially live.  

NICE, a fest  

Somerville, Massachusetts  

July 25 – 28 

Performing Saturday, July 28 

Hinterland Music Festival 

Saint Charles, Iowa 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

End of the Road Festival 

Larmer Tree Gardens, United Kingdom 

Aug. 29 – Sept. 1 

Performing Saturday, Aug. 31 

Megan thee Stallion 

Despite people trying to keep her down, Megan Thee Stallion continues to rise and conquer, putting the work above everything else. As an independent artist, this feat is even more impressive, but the total creative control she benefits from has allowed for exciting opportunities of self-expression that align with all the things that make Meg one-of-a-kind.  

Her 2024 video for “BOA” let the self-proclaimed anime nerd tap into her geek side, rich with references to her favorite animated shows and video games. And if you’ve seen any of her tour outfits lately–you know that you don’t wanna miss the chance to catch her at a festival this summer.  

Where to see Megan Thee Stallion: 

Bonnaroo  

Manchester, Tennessee  

Performing Sunday, June 16 

Broccoli City Festival 

Washington, D.C. 

July 27 – July 28 

Performing Saturday, July 27

Doechii 

Self-proclaimed “Swamp Princess” Doechii is one of the most exciting new artists of her time, seamlessly blending house influences and smooth R&B vocals with hip-hop beats and clever raps. She’s not afraid to have fun, either, especially when it comes to self-expression in her stylistic choices. Her surrealist music videos have garnered her praise and comparisons to legends like Missy Elliott, but despite all the influences, Doechii is truly one of a kind.  

Where to see Doechii: 

Outloud Festival  

Los Angeles, California 

Performing Saturday, June 1 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Saturday, June 8 

Tinashe

Tinashe has been around for years, but she’s having a renaissance at the moment thanks to her new single “Nasty,” a sexy bop for the summer which has inspired viral dance trends on TikTok. The multi-talented singer is also a hell of a dancer herself, and her live shows give her the perfect opportunity to show off her moves. If you get the chance to catch her at a festival this summer, don’t pass it up.  

Where to see Tinashe:  

Nashville Pride 

Nashville, Tennessee 

Performing Saturday, June 22 

Open’er Festival 

Gdynia, Poland 

Performing Wednesday, July 3 

Underscores

No music festival bill is complete without a dubstep-adjacent artist, and Underscores is here to fill the gap with her Skrillex-inspired beats. A self-taught producer and vocalist, Underscores started playing around with making beats and loops as a kid, graduating to GarageBand before releasing music at just 13 years old.  

Now 24, she’s been officially releasing music for over a decade, showing off her wide range of influences in eclectic tracks that have hints of bedroom pop, hyperpop, emo, metal, and of course, dubstep. While her production is unique and stellar, her topical and tongue-in-cheek lyrics are not to be overlooked, either.  

Where to see Underscores: 

The Governor’s Ball  

Queens, New York  

Performing Friday, June 7 

Conan Gray

After rising to fame on TikTok in 2020 with his soft and sad unrequited love anthem, “Heather,” Conan Gray has kept the momentum going by not being afraid to try new things. His latest album, Found Heaven, is full of '80s new wave inspired synth pop, offering him a new slate to show off some powerhouse vocals. It also features production and writing assistance from powerhouse producer/songwriter Max Martin, elevating Conan’s sound to new levels that are good for more than just TikTok soundbites.  

Where to see Conan Gray: 

 Lollapalooza  

Chicago, Illinois 

Performing Sunday, Aug. 4 

Music Festivals 2024 Guide: Lineups & Dates For Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo & Much More 

PRIDE & Black Music Month: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ & Black Voices