During early 2015, 16-year-old Chappell Roan found herself in New York City a thousand miles away from her hometown of Willard, MO. She traveled to the Big Apple in order to showcase for multiple major labels. Hailing from a city of just 5,000, she stood at a crossroads. “It was a crazy moment,” she admits. “I couldn’t believe where I was, but I knew I wanted this. When I sing, I want people to feel every emotion. I hope they get a better understanding of me as a human being and not just as a singer. I want them to know who I am.”
This kind of honesty defines conversations with the songstress as well as her music, eschewing any and all pretense. Playing the piano with passion and penning lyrics about loss, love, and heartbreak, Chappell sings with a world-weary wisdom that belies her 19 years. Think of her as a teenage girl with the mystique and vision of Sia and powerful pipes a la Lana Del Rey, and you’re on the right track...
It’s no surprise that she unassumingly took the first step on this journey while still in grade school. At 12-years-old, the singer and songwriter began taking piano lessons. Devouring records from Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan, she taught herself to play by ear. She went from performing in the school choir to winning an eighth grade talent show. Recognizing her ability, mom encouraged her to play around her hometown area. Growing a buzz, her confessional and captivating style began to resonate with listeners everywhere as she posted music online. As that sound caught on, she signed to Atlantic Records even before finishing her junior year of high school.
Her first single “Good Hurt” immediately intoxicates with its darkly blissful pop fused melodies, illuminating her dynamic voice and vivid lyricism. “It’s hard for me to explain what ‘Good Hurt’ is about. The best way for me to describe it is an addiction to pain. The meaning lies in the song and the video. Watch and listen and they will tell you everything.”
Now, her upcoming major label debut walks a fine line, and that’s why her music instantly resonates. She’s not afraid to tackle taboo subjects head-on. Ultimately, Chappell’s music stays close to her heart, and it resonates for that very reason. “I’m not trying to be anything I’m not,” she leaves off. “I just want to be seen as a real person.”