31 Days of Women: Brandi Carlile

Credit: Jai Lennard

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.

Brandi Carlile has had a successful career as a solo artist, songwriter and producer. Whether she’s taking the stage with her name on the bill or sharing the spotlight with The Highwomen, throughout her career she’s always made a point to lift up the women around her.

On Sunday, Carlile won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song for “Crowded Table” performed by The Highwomen. She penned the song with Natalie Hemby and Lori McKenna and during her acceptance speech praised her co-writers as “my heroes.”

“We just wanted to see women in country music embraced,” she said during her virtual acceptance speech. “We’re seeing that more and more.”

During the pre-show event on Carlile spoke of receiving recognition from the Recording Academy and her peers. “Nothing feels better than getting recognized by other people that you admire and getting to show other people that you admire that you’re recognizing their work in any given year,” she said.

I interviewed Carlile 11 years ago ahead of her performance in New Jersey. During our chat, she discussed how Lilith Fair shaped her life musically and socially, her songwriting process and advice on achieving success. 

“Women’s music is not a genre. It’s equivalent in every way to men’s music and it has a place,” she said at the time. “The strongest thing that you can do is to form a community around you. A community of musicians, artists, writers, free thinkers, activists. That will elevate you. You can always succeed with a community around you.”


31 Days of Women: Mickey Guyton

Credit: Phylicia J.L. Munn

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.

Mickey Guyton made her Grammy debut at tonight’s Grammy Awards. The singer earned a nod for Best Country Solo Performance for “Black Like Me,” making Guyton the first solo Black woman nominated in any country category. While she ultimately lost to Vince Gill and his song, “When My Amy Prays,” the singer won over the audience with a powerful performance of “Black Like Me.”

During a set that highlighted the women of country music, Guyton commanded the stage with the stirring and autobiographical song as backing singers gave the feel of a gospel choir. Donning a floor-length gold gown, Guyton captivated with emotive vocals alongside delicate piano, wavering pedal steel and string accompaniment. Fellow Grammy nominees Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris looked on before they followed with their respective one-song sets.

Ahead of the broadcast, Guyton said in an interview with that she wrote “Black Like Me” nearly three years ago. She penned the song after news broke about the murder of Botham Jean in his home in Dallas, Texas.

“I was so affected by that and when I wrote this song I never thought that it would see the light of day,” she said. “I wrote a song being like, ‘Life may be easy for some people but there’s other people it’s not.’ I wrote this song based off of the book Black Like Me that I read in college. It’s about a white man who darkened his skin to make him look like a Black man in the 1960s and went to the deep South to see what it was like to be Black in America.

“I was just writing a song from my heart and my own experience and it turns out to be so many people’s experiences and it’s not just Black people,” she continued. “I’m thinking of all the people that I know have had a difficult time. My husband has experienced police brutality and I saw it for myself. In thinking about my son, I want life to be easier for him than it was for me. Just like what my parents did for me so I’m going to channel that in this performance.”

“Black Like Me” is featured on Guyton’s 2020 Bridges EP. Listen to the project below on Spotify or on your preferred platform.


31 Days of Women: Miranda Lambert

Credit: Ben Tusi

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.

Miranda Lambert is nominated for three Grammy Awards tomorrow evening for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for “Bluebird” and Best Country Album for Wildcard. She’ll also be performing during the broadcast, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

I interviewed Lambert in 2019 ahead of the release of “It All Comes Out In the Wash,” the first single off her Grammy-nominated album Wildcard. Lambert wrote “It All Comes Out in the Wash” with Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose, a songwriter collective known as the Love Junkies who have penned hits like Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty,” among others. Below is an excerpt from our chat.

“It All Comes Out in the Wash” is your first new single in 15 months. What was it about the song that lent itself to be the lead track of your next album?

I think it was just kind of classic me. I think that it’s got some sarcasm to it, but it’s very honest. I haven’t had a single out in a long time, and I’m just ready to have new music. I’m in a new phase of my life and ready to have new music out there that represents that. This one just felt perfect as far as the vibe of it. It’s fun and lighthearted and I’m really excited about it.

How did the song come to be? Was there a certain lyric you had that kicked off the track?

I actually had the title for a while, and I took it to the Love Junkies. They’re some of my favorite people to write with and one day I walked in and I was like, “You know what? Everything’s fine. No matter what happens, it all comes out in the wash,” which is something my mom and grandma always would say — and it’s true. Everything finds a resolve, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. My last record went through a lot of the trials to tribulations I had been going through personally, and I feel like I’m kind of over the hump and this song represents that in a really great way.

Is there one line you’re especially proud of?

I kind of love “The Tide stick will get it.” [Laughs] That’s one of my favorites. I remember we were writing the song and just having fun writing it. Really, we were just talking about scenarios that had either happened to us as a group or someone we know, and the Tide stick came up and we all cracked up. The funny part is, I remember being at Target the next week and finding a whole bin of Tide sticks. I was like, “Yup, gonna have to need one of those.”

Is there a specific lyric that comes from your own personal experience?

Not really. I think every girl has been through moments [in the song]. Staining something important or calling someone you shouldn’t, all of it. There’s little things in life that you do that you go, “Ah, I probably shouldn’t have done that,” and it’s fine. Everybody gets past it.

What was it like writing with the Love Junkies?

It’s fun. We always have fun. It’s a bunch of girls that are willing to get in a room and be honest and it just feels like that. It feels very exciting and fun. Everybody lets their guard down, and I think that’s important: When you’re going to a songwriting session to come in and be open-minded and open-hearted and be ready to lay your shit out.

For more of my interview with Miranda Lambert, visit Billboard.


31 Days of Women: Ingrid Andress

Credit: Lauren Dunn

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.

Rising singer-songwriter Ingrid Andress has made a name for herself within the country genre over the past several years. Following the success of her No. 1 debut single “More Hearts Than Mine,” Andress is nominated for three Grammy Awards at this Sunday’s ceremony for Best New Artist, Best Country Song for “More Hearts Than Mine” and Best Country Album for her 2020 major label debut Lady Like.

Today, Andress released the music video for her latest single and title track of her 2020 album “Lady Like.” The empowering female anthem is set to a stunning backdrop as her powerful words come to life on screen. The video and an excerpt of my Chartbreaker feature from Billboards Dec. 14, 2019 issue is below.

Growing up in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Ingrid Andress treated music as a hobby instead of a potential career; she and her siblings would perform impromptu at-home musicals for their parents (to rave reviews, of course).

Then in 2007, when Andress was 16, her family was in Boston — her father, a major league baseball trainer, was coaching the Colorado Rockies, who were playing the Red Sox in the World Series. While on her way to Fenway Park one day, Andress passed Berklee College of Music. “I had never heard of it before,” she recalls. “We went in and I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a college for music? I have to go here!’”

After graduating from Berklee in 2013, her songwriting professor, songwriter Kara DioGuardi (Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away,” Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It”), urged Andress to move to Nashville. “At the time, I wasn’t ready to be an artist,” Andress tells me. “When you’re in your early twenties, you’re still figuring things out.”

A year after the move, though, Andress signed her first publishing deal with DioGuardi’s Arthouse Entertainment/Sea Gayle Music/Universal Music Publishing, through which she formed her circle of songwriting friends, including Michael Pollack (Maroon 5’s “Memories”). “I was sticking with people [on my level], instead of feeling like I had to write with Max Martin to get a hit,” says Andress. Soon she was flying out to Los Angeles for sessions, and expanding her roster of collaborators. “Even though Nashville is primarily country, it’s still a songwriting town,” she says. “Learning how to write here helped me to be able to go into a room with Akon, or a boy band, or anyone.”

Being a songwriting chameleon has benefitted Andress in more ways than one — she says that working with such a wide range of talent taught her the do’s and don’ts of being an artist herself. “There was a huge difference in working with artists who knew who they were, versus the ones who are told what to do,” she says. “That really helped me keep a north star in what I’m doing. I’d never want to be in a situation where I’m just like, ‘I don’t know who I am.’ I feel like a lot of artists have a tendency to get caught up and just say yes to anything their label wants, but there’s so much value in keeping your own perspective and being able to write about it.”

For more of my interview with Ingrid Andress, visit Billboard.


53rd Annual Grammy Awards Tonight on CBS

The Grammy Awards air tonight on CBS at 8PM ET/PT and will feature live performances by Christina Aguilera,  Jennifer Hudson,  Bob Dylan, Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga,  Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, B.o.B, Bruno Mars, Drake, Rihanna and many more.

For complete coverage, be sure to follow me on Twitter as I’ll be live tweeting the show. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to interview numerous Grammy winners, so be sure to click on my Q&As with past winners below and stay tuned for new interviews in the upcoming weeks!

Colbie Caillat

Lady Antebellum

Martina McBride

Pat Benatar

Taylor Swift



Grammy’s Tonight!

Tonight is the most important night of the year for many musicians — the 51st Grammy Awards! Who do you think will walk away with the most awards? Here‘s a list of all the nominations.

One of the most anticipated award each year is Best New Artist, this year’s nominees include:

* Adele

* Duffy

* Jonas Brothers

* Lady Antebellum

* Jazmine Sullivan

Tough choice! Be sure to tune in tonight on CBS at 8 p.m. for the results as well as performances by U2, Radiohead, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Katy Perry, John Mayer, B.B. King and many, many more! I’ll be updating the results throughout the show on Twitter, so be sure to follow me if you’re not yet!