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Brandi Carlile wins 3 Grammys, talks coming out as lesbian

Brandi Carlile was a huge winner at the 2019 Grammy Awards Sunday and celebrated being a “misfit” who came out of the closet in high school.

3 GRAMMY AWARDS

The folk-rock singer-songwriter won three Grammys, including Best Americana Album for 2018’s “By the Way, I Forgive You” and Best American Roots Performance for that disc’s first single, “The Joke.”

Carlile made her most poignant comments came after walking on stage to receive the award for Best American Roots Song for “The Joke,” which she also performed live.

‘I AM SUCH A MISFIT’

“Americana music is the island of the misfit toys [and] I am such a misfit,” Carlile said in her acceptance speech. “I came out of the closet at 15 years old, when I was in high school, and I can assure you that I was never invited to any parties.”

“I never got to attend a dance,” she continued. “To be embraced by this enduring and loving community has been the dance of a lifetime. Thank you for being my island.”

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Brandi Carlile

“Americana music is the island of the misfit toys [and] I am such a misfit,” Carlile said in her Grammy acceptance speech. “I came out of the closet at 15 years old, when I was in high school, and I can assure you that I was never invited to any parties.” Photo: Alysse Gafkjen

ARTIST TO WATCH

Carlile, 38, was born in Ravensdale, Wash., a small town 40 miles outside of Seattle. She dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music and is a self-taught pianist and guitarist. She released her debut major label album, Brandi Carlile, in 2005.

The disc received critical acclaim, but limited commercial success. Carlile was featured on Rolling Stone’s “10 Artists to Watch in 2005” list.

Two years later, Carlile garnered wider recognition with her single “The Story,”  from her album of the same name. “The Story” sold more than 500,000 copies in 2017 and was awarded gold status.

“By The Way, I Forgive You” is Carlile’s sixth studio album.

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HONORED BY GRAMMY NOMINATIONS

Carlile ― who tied the knot with wife Catherine Shepherd in 2012 and lives in Seattle ― had previously said she was honored at being the 2019 Grammys’ most-nominated female artist with six nominations.

“I feel like I’ve always been on the fringes of mainstream acceptance like that, but it means the most that I’ve received this honor at this point in my life,” Carlile told Variety earlier this month. “Being a 38-year-old mom, with two kids, who’s gay and lives on a farm, and is nominated alongside Janelle Monáe and Cardi B, it’s kind of unbelievable.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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