Interview with Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile has a date. Well, a year’s worth anyway. The out singer-songwriter is touring all over the place in support of her third studio album, Give Up the Ghost. But the dates she’s most excited about include a slew of summer shows as part of Sarah McLachlan’s newly restored Lilith Fair — a festival tour that Carlile says she not only attended but one that also helped shape her career.

AfterEllen.com caught up with Carlile to discuss Lilith Fair, her career post-coming out, and the fan campaign to have her on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

AfterEllen.com: “The Story” was just covered on American Idol. What did you think?
Brandi Carlile: I did catch that. I was really flattered and it made me really happy to see somebody singing that melody. The woman turned it into more of a ballad. I’m just really happy to hear somebody inspired enough by the song to take that risk.

AE: Think it’ll help with the Facebook campaign to have you appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show?
BC: My girlfriend told me about that! I hadn’t thought about it. I’d love to be on Ellen; what an impact that’d make. That’d be an amazing day.

AE: A lot of your career dreams have been coming true this year: Recording with Elton John, being asked to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and tour with Lilith Fair. How excited were you to be asked to be a part of it?
BC: I was completely touched because Lilith Fair has sculpted the kind of artist I am completely. In the obvious ways being that I was there for every Lilith Fair, in that I was a part of all the social consciousness and all of those amazing shows. I would get in the campgrounds with all the Lilith Fair goers and I would stand in line.

I was a part of that culture that came out of those few years but then also even if I had never gone to Lilith Fair, music festivals would have impacted my career because it paved the way for girls like me, my age, making music right now.

AE: How important are festivals like Lilith and Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors to out performers?
BC: They’re imperative because those kinds of festivals are about bridging gaps, not just gaps between gay people and straight people, but also gaps between older women and younger women, men and women, even; generation gaps, genre gaps, racial divides. Those kinds of things are all going to be out on the table for Lilith Fair.

We’re going to have country music, soul, rock ’n roll, folk and bluegrass. There’s going to be the older generation, younger generation, gay artists and straight artists. Men are going to want to come out to see those women perform, too, because the gender divide is getting narrower and narrower. It’s a great time to be alive.

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