We caught up with 20 year old musical prodigy, Chappell Roan, on the writing process behind her dark blissful pop fused songs, her tour with Vance Joy, and new music video Sugar High.
Tell us a bit about your songwriting process. Do you tend to work alone or with others?
I tend to write most of my songs alone, although I do have a few cowrites. I write from the deepest part of myself, and sometimes that can be very painful. Writing helps me get out a lot of emotions that I tend to hold in. I write everything on piano first and then I'll go into the studio with a producer and start working from there. I usually write the melody first and then I add the lyrics in later.
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Who are your biggest icons, musical or otherwise?
I really love Stevie Nicks. I love how witchy and how true to herself she is. I think she is one of the best vocalists of all time, and I think her writing is amazing too. I also really love Beyoncé because she has created such an empire out of her art and it's so inspiring. I love her stage presence and how she isn't afraid of failure.
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When did you first begin creating music?
I started creating music when I was about 15. I was heartbroken because I was a freshman in high school and I was in love with this senior boy who had to graduate and so I just started writing about it one day in my room. I realized that writing made me feel better. I really liked the song stay by Rihanna and so I would try to kind of copy that style and make it my own.
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What was the inspiration behind your recent music video "Sugar High"?
I wanted it to be sugary sweet but also dark and twisted in a weird way. This song has a very 60s trippy vibe to it. It's about being young and feeling so crazy because you have a crush on someone and you can't stop thinking about them and it's like you've eaten a ton of sugar and you have a sugar high. Your heart starts beating really fast and you just want to bounce off the walls. That's what I felt like when I wrote the song.
You’ve put out singles and EP’s already, when can we expect a full album from you?
I am actually working on the album right now. I am hoping to put it out this fall!
What were your top three favorite albums growing up and do you think they inspired your sound?
Lana Del Rey's "Dark Paradise", Fleetwood Mac "Rumors", Rihanna "Unapologetic". All of these albums really inspired my sound and my writing. I would listen to them over and over again.
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You were recently on tour with Vance Joy! What was the highlight?
One of my favorite parts of the Vance joy tour was on the last night in Montreal, Canada when the house lights in the theater came on and I could see everyone in the audience. Throughout the whole tour I hadn't really been able to see anyone because the lights are so bright, and it shocked me to see how many people I was actually performing for. I cried a little because it was a bit overwhelming.
We love your stage name! What made you choose to go by it?
I picked Chappell Roan because of my grandpa Chappell. He passed away in September 2016 and before he died I told him I would be Chappell in his honor. Roan comes from his favorite song called the "The Strawberry Roan" by Marty Robbins. I think he would've been really proud of me and everything I've accomplished so far.
Listen to her latest single School Nights here!