Brandi Carlile Biography

(Multiple Grammy-winning Folk-Rock and Country Artist)

Birthday: June 1, 1981 (Gemini)

Born In: Ravensdale, Washington, United States

American singer, songwriter, and music producer Brandi Carlile is a 9-time Grammy winner and has, over the years, experimented with various genres, such as folk rock, Americana, alternative country, and classic rock. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019, Carlile, with her 6 nominations, scripted history as the most-nominated female artist. Best known for her chartbusting tracks such as The Story and The Joke, she has also performed as part of the all-female quartet the Highwomen. Apart from music, Carlile is also known for her multiple charitable initiatives and her non-profit organization Looking Out Foundation. She has also penned a memoir that became a New York Times bestseller. An LGBTQ icon, Carlile is openly lesbian and is married to Catherine Shepherd. The two are also parents to 2 daughters who were conceived with the help of a sperm donor.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Brandi Marie Carlile

Age: 42 Years, 42 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Catherine Shepherd (m. 2012)

mother: Teresa Carlile

siblings: Jay, Tiffany

children: Elijah Carlile

Born Country: United States

Singers American Women

Grouping of People: Lesbian

U.S. State: Washington

Childhood, Early Life & Education

Brandi Marie Carlile was born on June 1, 1981, in Ravensdale, a suburban area 30 miles away from Seattle, Washington, US. She grew up playing music with her brother, Jay, and her sister, Tiffany. At age 4, Carlile suffered from a severe bout of bacterial meningitis, which caused her to go into coma and almost killer her.

While she spent her initial days in King County cities such as Black Diamond, Auburn, and Maple Valley, she also lived in West Seattle. At 8, Carlile performed on stage for the first time, singing Johnny Cash's Tennessee Flat Top Box with her mother, Teresa.

By 15, she had started playing the guitar and writing songs. At 16, she contributed to the back-up vocals for an Elvis impersonator.

In her teens, she was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. It is believed her condition had pushed her to drop out of Tahoma High School to focus on her music career. She later taught herself to play the piano. By 17, she had learned to play the guitar.

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Largely considered one of the most significant country and folk-rock singers in the US, Brandi Carlile began her career in her late teens. Apart from performing as a back-up vocalist for an Elvis impersonator, she was also part of a music band named The Shed, which performed regularly at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

At the beginning of her professional career, she performed with the twin brother duo Tim and Phil Hanseroth in various music clubs in Seattle. In 2004, she bagged a record contract with Columbia Records, who were impressed with the songs that she had recorded at home.

Her self-titled debut album, Brandi Carlile, was released in 2005. The album reached the number 1 spot on the US Folk chart. The same year, she also made her TV show debut in the episode (titled New Philadelphia-Dover, Ohio) of the reality series Three Wishes. She also made it to the Rolling Stone 10 Artists to Watch in 2005 list.

She made history with her 2nd album, The Story, released in 2007. The title track was featured in General Motors ads during the 2008 Summer Olympics. The track was also featured in the romantic drama film The Lucky One. The album made it to No. 10 on the US Rock Albums chart and No. 41 on the Billboard 200.

Around the same time, The Story, and several of her other tracks, such as Tragedy, Throw It All Away, What Can I Say, and Turpentine, were featured on the show Grey's Anatomy. Grey's Anatomy also released their own version of the music video for The Story on the show.

Her 3rd album, Give Up the Ghost (2009), made it to No. 26 on the Billboard 200. It also earned Carlile a nomination for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist.

She also released the live album Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony in 2011, It reached the 14th spot on the Top Rock Albums chart.

She continued with several other albums, such as Bear Creek (2012), The Firewatcher's Daughter (2015), By the Way, I Forgive You (2018), In These Silent Days (2021), and In the Canyon Haze (2022). Bear Creek made it to number 1 on the US Billboard Folk Albums chart, whereas The Firewatcher's Daughter topped Billboard's Top Rock Album Chart.

By the Way, I Forgive You became Brandi Carlile’s highest-charting album and reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. It also topped the Billboard Top Rock Albums. The Joke, a single from the album, made it to former US President Barack Obama's year-end playlist.

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While the album was critically acclaimed, Carlile also bagged 6 Grammy nominations in 2019, which was a record for a female artist that year. She won the Grammys for the Best Americana Album, the Best American Roots Song (The Joke), and the Best American Roots Performance (The Joke)

In 2019, she co-founded the Highwomen, a country music supergroup, with Amanda Shires and Maren Morris, with Natalie Hemby joining in later. While they released their first single, Redesigning Women, in July 2019, they released their self-titled album in September that year. The same year, Carlile won the Billboard Women in Music Trailblazer Award.

In February 2020, she became the Record Store Day 2020 Ambassador. The same year, she won the Grammys for Best Country Song for Tanya Tucker’s Bring My Flowers Now, which she co-wrote, and the Best Country Album for While I'm Livin'.

In 2021, Crowded Table won her the Grammy for the Best Country Song. In 2023, In These Silent Days won her the Grammy for the Best Americana Album. The same year, Broken Horses won her the Grammys for the Best Rock Performance and the Best Rock Song.

Her success in music also got her many endorsements. Her tracks have been used in commercials for the popular clothing and footwear department store Belk, too.

Personal Life

Brandi Carlile is openly lesbian and revealed her sexual orientation in a November 2002 interview. In June 2012, tabloids reported that she was engaged to her long-time girlfriend, Catherine Shepherd.

The couple had an intimate wedding on September 15, 2012, in Boston, Massachusetts. In June 2014, they had their first child, their daughter, Evangeline Ruth Carlile, who was conceived through a sperm donor.

Carlile later announced on her Instagram account that she and Shepherd were expecting their 2nd child. In March 2018, Catherine gave birth to their 2nd daughter, Elijah Shepherd Carlile.

Carlile js known to fans for her high cheekbones. She is also a huge fan of legendary singer Elton John.

Other Interests

In 2008, Brandi Carlile founded a non-profit organization named Looking Out Foundation. It offered financial support to various charitable cause, such as the American Diabetes Association, The Women’s Funding Alliance, The Bridge School, Honor the Earth, and UNICEF.

In January 2010, Looking Out Foundation collaborated with the Indigo Girls and the Seattle Police Department to endorse the Fight the Fear self-defense campaign. In May 2017, she released the benefit album Cover Stories, featuring tracks from her 2007 album The Story. The album also featured covers of tracks by other famous artists. She and her foundation selected War Child UK as the beneficiary of the album’s proceeds.

In October 2020, she collaborated with Alicia Keys to record the track A Beautiful Noise, which was aimed at urging people to vote. In April 2021, Carlile released Broken Horses: A Memoir, her autobiography. The book topped the non-fiction category of the New York Times Best Seller list.

In February 2023, Carlile’s foundation raised $300,000 in a week for the 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake relief campaign. The same year, Carlile and her wife, Catherine Shepherd, were named among PEOPLE's 2023 Women Changing the World for their charitable initiatives.

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