Brandi Carlile and Margo Price are both surprising Grammy nominees this year for a ceremony that’s usually mind-numbingly predictable. Price is an indie country artist with a reputation for sticking it to Nashville in favor of her political songwriting, and Carlile is a singer-songwriter whose slow-burning, decades-spanning career has finally catapulted her out of the Recording Academy’s “Americana” category having been nominated for Record and Album of the year.
Given that they’re both talented musicians and moms in their ’30s who have little regard for stifling genre (or gendered) boxes in their industry, Price and Carlile gave a candid and funny interview for the latest issue of Billboard, where they talk about motherhood, politics, and weed. “After this pregnancy, I’m going to roll a Snoop Dogg-size blunt,” Price, currently pregnant, says regarding her inability to celebrate her Grammy nomination with a joint.
They talk about the sexism they’ve experienced after becoming parents:
Carlile: Before Evangeline was born, I did an interview that still upsets me to this day. They said, “Good luck with the whole motherhood thing but, you know, don’t lose your edge.” Jesus Christ. Fucking edge? What are you talking about?
Price: The shit that comes out of people’s mouths when you’re expecting. Recently a friend told me this pregnancy could “ruin my career.”
Carlile: Three words: Prove them wrong.
And Carlile gives some excellent parenting advice: don’t let your kids go to sexist and unsafe music festivals!
Carlile: It all comes back to representation, which is a problem everywhere but especially in country music and especially at festivals. If my kids were teenagers and wanted to go to Bonnaroo, I’d say, “Let me see the poster.” If women weren’t headlining at least half of that thing, I’d say no. Not just because of politics, not on principle, but for safety. Representation creates an environment where women can feel at ease.
Price also talks about “committing country music suicide” given the political nature of her art (she’s a self-proclaimed feminist and one of few country musicians to speak out openly against the NRA.)
Everybody wants music to be a distraction. I wrote “All American Made” during the Obama administration, and originally the line at the end was “I wonder if the president gets much sleep at night/And if folks on welfare are making it all right.” Given the weight of the election and how it turned out, the song suddenly had a different gravity, so we changed the lyric to “I wonder how the president gets any sleep at night/If the folks down by the border are making it all right.”
...I’ve always known my songs would not be accepted in Nashville, and for a long time they weren’t. My first band, Secret Handshake, was inspired by The Kinks and their social and political messages. People hated it. We cleared rooms. But if you don’t speak up, who will?
Read the full interview here.