When the Grammy nominations for the upcoming sixty-first ceremony were revealed in early December, there was one name that seemed to shock everybody: Brandi Carlile. The singer-songwriter, who had only ever earned on nomination before and who is still far from being a household name in America, saw her album By The Way, 'I Forgive You' earn one of the eight spots inside the Album of the Year vertical, while the first single from the project, “The Joke,” is currently in the running for both Record and Song of the Year.
It’s impossible to say what Carlile’s chances are of winning any of those major categories, but with half a dozen nods for her work this year, she’s the most-nominated woman at the Grammys, beating out fellow talents like Kacey Musgraves, Janelle Monáe and even Beyoncé.
Brandi Carlile talks about why she believes her song, which wasn’t the global smash many of its competitors was, hit so hard with so many people, and what she’s up to next now that she’s attracted so much more attention with these recent nominations.
What do you think is it about “The Joke” that resonated and really hit with people that earned it these nominations?
Brandi Carlile: I think because it's a song that promises you the coming redemption. I don't think we all knew how bad we needed that until we were taking those words on board, including me. Every night when I play that song on stage it's such an uplifting thing to hear them sung back at me from the audience.
Brandi Carlile: We all need those words directed at us, I think, more than we were really ready to acknowledge.
So By The Way, I Forgive You is not quite a year old, right?
Brandi Carlile: I think it is a year old. Like yeah, just now. Oh, no, shit, you're right. You're right, dude. I'm wrong. Thank you.
Have you already started writing or even thinking about the next project, or are you still wrapped up in this world?
Brandi Carlile: I'm still really wrapped up in By The Way, I Forgive You. I'm still having a hard time getting through the songs every night without getting a bit choked up. The songs are still impacting me in a way that's not routine yet.
Did you go through the same process with your past albums where for months or a year you got choked up?
Brandi Carlile: No, never. I mean, there'd be a song here and there, and it somehow correlated with an event in my life. It'd be a song here or there that would come up and choke me up on any given day for any reason, but nothing so consistently and so fundamentally close to the original meaning of the song as the track listing in By The Way, I Forgive You.
I saw that you announced some new tour dates. That's exciting! So what does the rest of the year bring for you?
Brandi Carlile: I mean we're going to play Madison Square Garden. You know, it's like from the time I woke up until right now it's all I can think about is the fact that today I got to tell everyone that we're playing Madison Square Garden. It's freaking crazy.
If, fingers crossed, you end up winning an award this year, where are you going to keep it?
Brandi Carlile: Oh, gosh. I hadn't thought about that. That's a really good question. Nobody's asked me that. Shit, man. I didn't think that'd be a question I'd have to consider, so I guess I don't know. Probably somewhere very visible.
How about asking you in a couple of months when you have one sitting at home somewhere very visible.
Brandi Carlile: Fair enough.
Photo Credit: Brandi Carlile