Brandi Carlile superfan Adriana Iegre took part in the 65th Grammy Awards Sunday night as part of a roundtable of fans talking about their favorite album-of-the-year nominees, but the Port Angeles resident said she couldn’t quite believe it was happening.
“It was a whirlwind taping and such a fun experience,” Iegre said via email Monday as she flew from Los Angeles back to Washington state. “The event itself was unreal! I kept waiting to be punked. When we were walked onto the floor and [led] to seats right next to the nominated artists, I’ve never felt more out of my league.”
Iegre, a 36-year-old manager of diversity, equity and inclusion at skin care and cosmetics company Beautycounter, was there to represent fans of album-of-the-year nominee Carlile and her album “In These Silent Days.” While Carlile didn’t pick up that award, which went to Harry Styles’ “Harry’s House,” she did win best Americana album as well as best rock performance and best rock song for “Broken Horses.”
Watching the event live from one of the best seats in the house was the culmination of a process that began on a whim after Iegre saw a post in a Facebook group calling for Carlile fans to audition for “a special moment on a major TV show.”
“I was actually in a rush, but decided it may be worth trying,” Iegre said. “I will never not try again! I heard from someone the next day, went through a few rounds of Zoom interviews, and found out I was chosen just two weeks before yesterday’s show.”
The experience of a lifetime was heightened by the important role that Carlile’s music played in Iegre’s life, which Iegre highlighted in her roundtable segment. Iegre had just left Brigham Young University-Idaho after coming out, and Carlile’s music provided something that Iegre said she needed in that moment.
“Brandi’s first, self-titled album made my transition from a very rigid world into a new one of self-exploration less lonely,” Iegre said. “To me her voice sounded like a young pensive and slightly angry chick who had a lot to say about what she felt, like me. From there every album released has just naturally coexisted with major life experiences for me: the birth of a niece, a divorce, the loss of my parents. She really is my life soundtrack.”
Carlile has long been a voice for LGBTQ+ folks, and her success and visibility is something that Iegre said has empowered her in her own journey.
Carlile also inspired Iegre to volunteer three times at the Looking Out Foundation, which Carlile and bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth founded to help fund causes and organizations that often go overlooked.
“Brandi has always been a fierce advocate for the queer community, but as her success rises, her voice is amplified,” Iegre said. “I see her being respectfully unapologetic about her pride in our community. Representation is so powerful, and to see someone like me with such similar lived experiences on the Grammys stage three years in a row now matters.”
Iegre didn’t just see Carlile onstage when she performed her Grammy-winning hit “Broken Horses.” They also encountered each other in a surreal “only in Hollywood” moment due to their bathroom breaks happening to line up.
“As I was walking back to my seat I saw her and her wife Catherine walking towards me, after my segment had aired,” Iegre said. “Brandi and I locked eyes, she points at me energetically and yells, ‘You! I gotta pee and man they’re rushin’ me, but we gotta talk.’ Catherine then grabbed my arm, thanked me and also said, ‘We have to talk’ in her lovely British accent. I’m so curious what we have to talk about!”
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