In anticipation of Chappell Roan's debut album, THE RISE AND FALL OF A MIDWEST PRINCESS, Musaholic Magazine had the chance to participate in a press conference with Chappell. She discusses her growth as an artist, struggles with queerness, and the role of drag queens in her performances and music. Read on for the recap and find out what's next for the rising pop star!
Sitting in her room, looking relaxed in a tank top and ball cap, Roan answers questions from a variety of outlets as she gets ready to release her debut album. Many fans were introduced to her through "Pink Pony Club" that was released as a single in 2022. Roan states that she "[doesn't] know a lot of people who don't have trauma" connected to them when it comes to queerness, whether it's through homophobia or coming out.
Her lyrics cover this heaviness, and she writes "what I feel or what I wish would happen". Whether it's a party song or blunt like "Kaleidescope", she feels people want music that helps them daydream about what they want and "pulls them out of that pit of despair". The "Casual" music video was inspired, in part, by this daydreaming and answers the question of what a siren would do if she were luring in another woman versus a male. It's reimagining a classic fairy tale with a queer twist of where the main character is in love with the siren, but it's just a casual relationship for the siren.
While her earlier music is a "very dark, piano ballad pop" sound that represented her really sad and depressed teenage years, her current sound is inspired by her move to LA, where her eyes were opened to so many new experiences. One of these experiences was seeing Orville Peck at the Troubadour in 2018. This inspired the dress up themes she created for her shows and revealed "the themes are an opportunity for everyone to dress up and the show is not only on stage. It's also in line, at the merch table, and next to you."
Growing up in a small midwestern town, Roan felt restricted with the religious and gender role aspects of it so getting to have her authentic self, portrayed
through the video her is something teenage Chappell could never imagine. "Hot to Go" is a song inspired by 80's synth pop as well as the song "Hey Mickey" by Toni Basil. The song was written in only a day, and she states she "want[ed] a cheer song. I want[ed] something that's fun." and that's how it came to be. If she had her own cheer squad like depicted in "Hot to Go", she would name them the Hollywood Whores. The video embraces all of these elements and was even filmed in hometown and features her grandparents doing a cheer in it!
Drag is a huge inspiration for Chappell, and she loves every aspect of it. For every city she headlines in, she has three drag performers open for her. As it relates to her lates project, drag inspired "the styling, the makeup, the music videos, the energy around the entire show". In addition, the writing brings to attention the campiness and fun of drag. She also wants fans to be prepared for silliness and fun when listening to the album. This reflected in the song titles as well. The album was almost named after the song "Femininominon" but was ultimately nixed as Chappell was frustrated that no one could say it right. Her titles "are all just like clickbait" like what magazines do.
When speaking about her next goals as an artist, Roan remarks that she wants to figure out how to deal with it "in a healthy way...I need to figure out how to calm down." She feels there's a lot of pressure right now and it takes an unsustainable amount of energy to deal with it. Even though she's been preparing for this for close to decade, it's come on so fast that it's overwhelming at times, even if it is a ton of fun. "Adjusting is my biggest goal."
Speaking on the fun parts of her career, Roan enjoyed being heavily involved in creating everything. Not only does she write songs that are fun to perform and get the crowd involved, but she also had to learn how to do drag and how to rhinestone things as part of this project. "It was just a giant project of friends and I think that was my favorite part." When asked what her favorite song is off the album, Roan enthusiastically said "my favorite is 'Guilty Pleasure'...we'll be performing it on tour" and her face was glowing with pride.
As part of the LGBTQ+ community, Roan has shown her commitment to uplifting this community by hiring a predominantly queer crew, featuring drag performers on tour, and donating a percentage of every ticket sale to a queer charity called For the Gworls. She also highlights the pressure put on queer artists to do more, her only goal for queer artists is "just to live" and she doesn't expect for other queer people to do what she's doing. In a world where people in the LGBTQ+ community are being targeted constantly, she "wants to see queer kids make it out alive right now".
Her music may cover heavy topics, but one thing fans can count on with Roan's music and performances is a chance to embrace that inner child and silliness. One performance we're all looking forward to seeing is the huge angel wings she'll wear during this tour. Check Chappell Roan on a headline international tour through the end of the year as well as with Olivia Rodrigo in 2024. Schedule and tickets can be found here.