“I think I probably write relatable lyrics,” Brandi Carlile tells Rolling Stone in an exclusive new video. “I’ve had a relatable life.”
Rolling Stone spoke with Carlile in the midst of her extensive tour supporting her acclaimed 2018 LP By The Way, I Forgive You. In the video, the singer-songwriter discusses the road to writing her most recent album, the struggle with identity and motherhood that led her to writing her song “Evangeline,” and the gender disparity at music festivals.
Carlile responded to the lack of women at festivals by creating the Girls Just Wanna Weekend, an all-female lineup set for January 30th in Mexico and featuring Maren Morris, Indigo Girls, Margo Price and Patty Griffin. She was motivated to act after seeing the abundance of bills with all the men’s names erased to illustrate just how few female performers were being included.
“It started making me think, well, it’s not only sexist but it actually might not be smart because a lot of these festivals are missing an opportunity to bring women out,” she says. “There’s amazing, amazing women who could headline this festival right now and people will come out to see them. And we’re going to show that, if thousands of women will spend thousands of dollars to leave the country and see women at a festival, what will they do here at home?”
Carlile also gives a glimpse at her high-energy rock & roll live show, which has been the cornerstone of her career ever since releasing her self-titled debut in 2005.
“Being right in the middle of a room with hundreds of people where I’m getting to communicate with them and they’re getting to communicate with me is my intimacy,” says Carlile. “When I see people reacting emotionally, especially crying, that’s when I feel the most realized as an artist. That is the goal to me. I’ve caused someone to experience something that they couldn’t have experienced outside of this moment.”
Additionally, Carlile delves into the concepts of forgiveness and confrontation that form the center of By the Way, I Forgive You. “I think that forgiveness is more important now than it ever has been,” she says. “But it’s not to be confused with complacency, normalization, or blind acceptance.”