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Brandi Carlile to Make a Special Guest Appearance at Pete Souza!

Did you know American folk rock singer Brandi Carlile and former Obama White House photographer Pete Souza are good pals? Well, they are, and we’re delighted to announce that Brandi Carlile will be making a special guest appearance at our upcoming event with Pete Souza on Sunday, November 11, at Benaroya Hall—she’ll even perform a couple songs! Tickets are still available here, but they’re going fast (and include a copy of Souza’s latest book, Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents).

A Washington native, Brandi has swept up Grammy nominations and topped folk charts with seven critically acclaimed albums. If you’re excited and surprised by this news, you might also be interested to know a few more facts about Brandi:

She was born in Ravensdale, Washington, and eventually dropped out of high school to pursue her career in music—she got her start playing in Maple Valley dive bars and, according to the Seattle Times, a number of odder Seattle venues, too, including Duke’s Seafood & Chowder and Medin’s Ravioli Station.

If you needed more evidence that Brandi’s come a long way, she used to sing backup for Elvis impersonator Clayton Wagy. “He did two sets,” she describes in an old interview with Medleyville. “The first set was ’50s Elvis, and the second set was ’70s Elvis. So I came out in a poodle skirt for 45 minutes, and then go back in and come out in sequins for 45 minutes.”

Have you seen A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga? Brandi makes a cameo appearance in the Grammys scene—she’s singing onstage with Marlon Williams as Bradley Cooper strings his guitar. Cooper mentions that working with Brandi was one of his favorite parts of the filming process in this behind-the-scenes interview.

Renowned Seattle restauranteur Tom Douglas is a huge Brandi fan. In fact, he named his 13th restaurant, the Carlile Room, after her. The guitar she used to play while busking at Pike Place Market hangs above the host stand.

Barack Obama is a fan, too. He listed her latest single, “The Joke” as one of his “favorite songs of 2017” last December.

Disturbed by the lack of women booked in music festivals, Brandi recently created the Girls Just Wanna Weekend, an all-female lineup set for January 30, 2019, in Mexico, featuring artists such as Maren Morris, Indigo Girls, Margo Price, Patty Griffin, Lucius, and KT Tunstall.


Brandi met her wife, Catherine Shepherd, through Paul McCartney’s charity; together, they have a 3-year-old daughter, Evangeline, who inspired Brandi’s song “The Mother.”

At the age of five years old, Brandi Carlile got meningitis, and it almost killed her. In a May interview with Relix, which you can read here, she describes the experience: “I ended up going over to the other side. It was profound.”

Brandi took to social media last winter and asked people to share stories of people they forgive, or wish they could forgive, as part of the theme of “radical forgiveness” that inspired By The Way, I Forgive You. She wrote an open letter to a pastor, Pastor Tim, who refused to baptize her at age 15 because of her sexuality. Read her letter on Facebook here.


She just teamed up with U.K. singer-songwriter Sam Smith for a duet version of her song “Party of One.” A portion of the proceeds from the duet will be donated to Children in Conflict via Brandi’s Looking Out Foundation. Brandi and Sam became acquainted through Children in Conflict—which provides for children impacted by war—where they both serve as international ambassadors.

Posted in SAL PresentsSpecial Events2018/19 Season