An American folk and rock singer, Brandi Carlile is a Grammy Award nominated artist who was born in 1981. Raised in Ravensdale in Washington State, Carlile decided to quit school at an early age to pursue her musical ambitions. A self-taught musician, Carlile is accomplished on both the piano and the guitar, as well as being able to produce a clear vocal style. Sometimes playing in a country music style, Carlile will also perform with a banjo from time to time, especially on her Americana tracks. She began writing her own material at the age of 15, although she had been performing for some time before then. Her first professional gigs were as a backing vocalist for an Elvis Presley impersonator. Soon Carlile would leave this behind to start playing her own gigs, many of them in Seattle, not far from her hometown.
Brandi Carlile's career milestones
In 2004, Carlile was offered a professional recording contract with Columbia Records, on the strength of a few homemade demo recordings. She set about making her debut studio album for them, which came out the following year. The eponymous work was re-released in 2006, with a couple of tracks having been given a new studio treatment. It was enthusiastically met by the music press in the US, with magazines such as Rolling Stone marking her out as an artist to watch. The album got to number one in the US folk charts.
Following her debut success, Carlile began touring with the Hanseroth Brothers, with whom she had been performing one-off gigs for a while. They now play in Carlile’s backing band at many of her performances. In 2006, the singer had notched up a number of high-profile support slots. She opened shows for the likes of Ray LaMontagne, Chris Isaak and Tori Amos, among others. In 2007, she came to the UK and performed with artists such as Newton Faulkner. Around this time she also appeared on Later… with Jools Holland for BBC television.
Carlile released The Story in 2007. It got to number 58 in the US album charts and constituted a breakthrough moment in her professional career. Songs from it were used in several TV shows, including the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. The Story was gold certificated in America, having surpassed sales of half a million. Give Up the Ghost was her next work, produced by Rick Rubin, famous for his work for hip-hop artists. This album did even better, gaining Carlile her first top 30 hit. This work spawned two singles, “Dreams” and “That Year”. Bear Creek and the Firewatcher’s Daughter were her two subsequent albums, the latter being another big chart hit.