Lesbian folk singer Brandi Carlile, who was the most nominated woman at Sunday’s Grammys, may not have taken home the night’s top prize, but she did score three awards. Carlile won best American Roots performance and best American Roots song for “The Joke,” and best Americana Album for By the Way, I Forgive You.
In her acceptance speech, which was not televised, Carlile dedicated her win to outcasts everywhere. “Americana music is the island of the misfit toys. I am such a misfit,” she said. “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. To be embraced by this enduring and loving community has been the dance of a lifetime. Thank you for being my island.”
Earlier in the evening, Carlile spoke about the powerful impact of her nominations, telling Variety that she’d never “felt so seen in my life. These nominations have changed my whole life, they have changed my visibility and my ability to represent my community in a way I’ll never forget.”
She added: “There are some young girls somewhere, especially a LGBT+ girl that is allowed to stay up late to hit the notes tonight and that’s monumental.”
In a profile from Out’s upcoming March issue, Carlile spoke about being “a lesbian chicken-farmer mom who’s somehow been invited to the party,” and how her genre is finally opening up to accept the contributions of queer people. “I like the friction of the fact that country music and Americana is coming face-to-face with itself,” she said, adding that “the most effective way is by changing hearts instead of minds and rules.”