If you’ve had your finger on the pulse of the upcoming 2020 Grammys—or if you still can’t stop thinking about last year’s show—there’s a good chance you know singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.
At the 2019 Grammys, viewers and attendees got a taste of Brandi, 38, and wife Catherine Shepherd’s sweet relationship as they took the red carpet in celebration of Brandi's six nominations and subsequent three wins. While the couple's black suits made it clear that they’re fans of fashion, it was their admiring affection that made us want to dive deeper into their lives.
Unbeknownst to some, Brandi, who leads country group The Highwomen with Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby, isn’t the only music veteran in the relationship. In fact, Catherine was in charge of Paul McCartney’s charity work for 10 years.
It was during her coordination that she met Brandi. Aware of the “Common” singer’s philanthropic efforts with Fight the Fear, an empowering initiative that provided self-defense training for women in abusive and violent situations, Catherine reached out to see if she could donate some of Paul’s memorabilia.
“We met through our activism and interest in charity,” Brandi said in a 2019 interview with Rolling Stone. “We communicated for about a year, and the entire time I thought I was talking to somebody who was 65. It was an interesting way to fall in love.”
Nearly a year after they started talking on the phone, Catherine, who was based in the UK, came to New York City on a project for Paul. It was at one of the shows in the city that the women officially met in person. And the rest, as they say, was history.
The couple got married in 2012, and had their first daughter, Evangeline, in 2014, followed by their second, Elijah, in 2018.
Between the births of their two daughters, Brandi, with inspiration from Catherine, released Cover Stories, a charity tribute recording of her 2007 LP The Story. This time, singers like Adele, Dolly Parton, The Avett Brothers, and Pearl Jam got in on the action. All proceeds from the album were donated to War Child UK, a nonprofit that provides assistance for children affected by war conflict.
That’s not the only philanthropy that Brandi is involved in though. In 2008, she, along with Tim and Phil Hanseroth, founded the Looking Out Foundation, whose mission it is to make music mean more by facilitating donations and contributing a dollar from every campaign ticket sale toward their efforts, which range from creating welcome day school kits for kids to providing life-saving fistula repair surgery for sexual abuse victims.
While Catherine lives largely under the radar (read: off the Instagram grid), she’s equally as philanthropic as Brandi. Hopefully we can see them both at the 2020 Grammys, where Brandi is nominated for Song of the Year, Best CountryDuo/Group Performance, and Best Country Song.
The only question is: How will they top last year’s outfits?
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