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Brandi Carlile

A Conversation with Brandi Carlile

Puremusic: Hey, Brandi. Where do I find you today?

Brandi Carlile: I'm in Medford, Oregon.

PM: Oh, what a nice town. But that's kind of your stomping ground, right?

BC: The Northwest, you got it.

PM: Yeah. Oh, that's a beautiful area, Medford. What kind of a home and a family did you grow up in, and when did music first take a hold of you as what you wanted to do with your life?

BC: Well, I grew up on the outskirts of Seattle in the Northwest, which if you know about the Northwest, a half an hour can make a really drastic difference between skyscrapers and wildlife. I lived out in the woods with my family, which was very musical. We came up kind of poor and isolated, so music ended up being something that we just all did, you know what I mean--that we just sort of were, and were born into. And I never really made a conscious decision to pursue music; it was more of a foregone conclusion that that's what I was going to do.

PM: Wow. That's unbelievable. You just kind of grew into the life, you didn't make a turn, that's who you were from the get-go, as it were?

BC: Yeah. I sort of learned it the same way that I learned language. I started it in family jam sessions with my great grandmother and grandfather and his brother and my mother when I was like four or five. My earliest memories are of listening to those people play music. So it was just something that's in our family.

PM: It's a beautiful thing. Are there very good players in the family, or mostly singers?

BC: Well, my Great Grandma Florentine was an incredible piano player. And she had Alzheimer's disease, and right up until the time that she died and couldn't remember anything or anybody she could still play piano. And my Great Uncle Sonny is a banjo picker and a lap steel player. His brother, my grandfather, Vernon, was a closet country singer and yodeler. And my mom is a singer. So me and my brother are players and singers. But there's sort of a mix of both in our family. And my grandfather on my dad's side was a bluegrass dobro player, too.

PM: What instruments does your brother play?

BC: He plays guitar, but he plays piano really well, and also his specialty instrument is harmonica.

PM: Oh, wow.       continue

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