THS Grad and Bear in the Wild, Grammy Winner… Brandi Carlile!


Anna Jackson, Writer

Some of you might not have heard of her, some of you may have, some of you may even personally know her. The rest of America knows her as the small town woman from Washington who won six Grammys.

She grew up in Ravensdale, Washington and still currently lives here, just outside of Maple Valley. Growing up she loved being outdoors and singing. She attended Tahoma High School, when it was located at Maple View Middle School.

Around this time, she self taught herself to play the guitar and by 17 she had already developed her own music style, inspired by Elton John. In her free time she went to bars in Seattle and played anywhere that she could get a job. She was so desperate that she even played as a backup singer for an Elvis Presley impersonator.

She was later introduced to Phil and Tim Hanseroth by one of Pearl Jam’s producers. They instantly hit it off and became great friends, soon starting a band together with Brandi as the lead singer. 

At 22 she published her first album with the twins called, “We’re Growing Up”. She followed that with her song, “The Story”, which broke onto the Billboard 200 in 2007 when she was  25 years old. 

In 2008, she and Phil Hanseroth made a charity called the Looking Out Foundation, and they donated $2 of every concert ticket. A year later she announced that she was engaged to her wife, Catherine Shepherd and they got married quickly after.

Fast forward a few years, and she and her wife had two daughters. Carlile released cover stories, in which famous artists, such as Adele, Pearl Jam, and Dolly Parton covered her songs. All the money she made was donated to War Child UK, which is an organization that benefits children worldwide that have been affected by war.

Around that time she released The Firewatcher’s Daughter which got her her first Grammy nomination. The same year she released the song, “By the Way, I Forgive You”. This instantly became famous and reached No.5 on the Billboard 200. 

The very next year she made another cover album, once again featuring Adele, Dolly Parton, and many other famous artists. By then she was such a hit that former President Barack Obama reached out and invited her to the white house to congratulate her on her success. 

She then received six Grammy nominations after her song, “The Joke” appeared on Obama’s end of the year playlist. This made her the most nominated woman at the 61st Grammys. She won in three categories, Americana album, American Roots song and American Roots Performance. 

In 2021, she published her autobiography, “Broken Horses”, which took the position of #1 Nonfiction Book on the New York Times Bestseller. She has contracted over three million daily listeners on Spotify, as Ina Bakkar, states “I have not listened to her yet, but I plan to.”

She is currently touring around the US and hanging out with her family. Recently she was spotted at the local Maple Valley Farmer’s Market. So keep an eye out for her, because you might just see her.