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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, producer, and six-time Grammy winner opens up about faith, sexuality, parenthood, and a life shaped by music in “one of the great memoirs of our time” (Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed).
“The best-written, most engaging rock autobiography since her childhood hero, Elton John, published Me.”—Variety
Brandi Carlile was born into a musically gifted, impoverished family on the outskirts of Seattle and grew up in a constant state of change, moving from house to house, trailer to trailer, fourteen times in as many years. Though imperfect in every way, her dysfunctional childhood was as beautiful as it was strange, and as nurturing as it was difficult. At the age of five, Brandi contracted bacterial meningitis, which almost took her life, leaving an indelible mark on her formative years and altering her journey into young adulthood.
As an openly gay teenager, Brandi grappled with the tension between her sexuality and her faith when her pastor publicly refused to baptize her on the day of the ceremony. Shockingly, her small town rallied around Brandi in support and set her on a path to salvation where the rest of the misfits and rejects find it: through twisted, joyful, weird, and wonderful music.
In Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile takes readers through the events of her life that shaped her very raw art—from her start at a local singing competition where she performed Elton John’s “Honky Cat” in a bedazzled white polyester suit, to her first break opening for Dave Matthews Band, to many sleepless tours over fifteen years and six studio albums, all while raising two children with her wife, Catherine Shepherd. This hard-won success led her to collaborations with personal heroes like Elton John, Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples, Pearl Jam, Tanya Tucker, and Joni Mitchell, as well as her peers in the supergroup The Highwomen, and ultimately to the Grammy stage, where she converted millions of viewers into instant fans.
Evocative and piercingly honest, Broken Horses is at once an examination of faith through the eyes of a person rejected by the church’s basic tenets and a meditation on the moments and lyrics that have shaped the life of a creative mind, a brilliant artist, and a genuine empath on a mission to give back.
Carlile, a multiple Grammy Award winning musician, recalls the pivotal events that shaped her music and identity in this captivating memoir. Growing up in a small town outside Seattle in the '80s, she sought the limelight early, entering singing competitions and teaching herself piano and guitar. Though her family struggled to keep food on the table, her mother's support gave her a quiet, stable confidence. "She'd helped me try to win... and she helped me truly express myself in front of my peers." After moving several times before high school, Carlile dropped out to focus on music. She's candid about her sexuality and how she reconciled her faith after being turned away by her hometown church when she came out. "There was grace in the outrage my public rejection incited in my family and in that tiny town," Carlile writes. She also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the music business, acknowledging how fortunate she was to garner respect from Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and others she performed with. She doesn't sugarcoat the disappointments that came her way such as being booted off a rock tour because she was a "female-fronted opener" instead recalling them with a self-awareness that allows balance for her marriage, motherhood, and national tours. While the author's rise to fame was impressive, it is her raw emotion that resonates after the book's end. Agent: David Vigliano, AGI Vigliano Literary.