Musicheads Essential Artist: Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile in concert at the State Theatre in Minneapolis
Brandi Carlile performs at the State Theatre in Minneapolis on Nov. 29, 2018. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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Brandi Carlile was born in the small town of Ravensdale, Washington in 1981 and started singing country songs onstage with her mother when she was only eight years old. Brandi's own career got started in the Seattle scene in the early 2000s when she first connected with her longtime bandmates, twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth. The combination of Brandi's folk/country roots with the twins' background in hard rock proved to be an explosive combination, and their obvious chemistry turned into a decades-long collaboration.

Known for her amazing singing voice, which Paste magazine once described as "a hurricane of lung power," Brandi has the ability to express an entire spectrum of emotions in a single phrase.

Starting with her T-Bone-Burnett-produced breakthrough album The Story, Brandi's songs of heartbreak and triumph have soundtracked countless television shows and films, while her raw talent has made her a must-see live act.

In addition to her musical contributions, Brandi has been a tireless advocate for women's rights and LGBTQ rights — topics she reflected on evocatively in songs like "The Joke" and "The Mother" from the Grammy-winning album By the Way, I Forgive You.

She's made a point of collaborating with and supporting other women in the male-dominated country music industry: writing a Grammy-winning song for Tanya Tucker and recording an album with her supergroup the Highwomen, a collaboration with Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby.

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