There's a new pop star in town: why we're talking about Chappell Roan

There’s a new pop star in town: why we’re talking about Chappell Roan

Eighteenth-century wig, bizarre headdress with two spikes, all-feathered dress, very strong make-up, sharp nails. No, he is not one of the Knights of the Zodiac: this is how Chappell Roan introduced herself last Thursday on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, one of the leading TV shows in the USA. Kayleigh Rose Amstutz, this is the real name of the singer-songwriter from Willard, Missouri, class of 1998performed in front of the cameras of the show, followed overseas by millions of spectators, to the tune of that “Good luck, babe!” which last week allowed her to score 25 million listens worldwide on Spotify and of conquer the top 20 of the Billboard 200 in the Statesor the ranking of the most popular songs in the USA.

No one saw it coming, yet in a matter of months Chappell Roan.she has become something more than a rising pop star, with rising numbers and (already) notable successas confirmed by Jimmy Fallon’s appearance on the show.

When Chappell Roan showed up on stage last April Coachellathe most followed and commented music festival in the USA, capable of gathering hundreds of thousands of spectators but also influencers and celebrities every spring in the desert of Indio, California, his performance was one of the most talked about on social mediawhich crystallized the exploits of the former little girl who grew up in the province of the Bible Belt, the most conservative and traditionalist America, before going wild in Los Angeles, where she moved when Atlantic Records set their sights on her at the time of the first songs published online.

Chappell Roan set his story to music, fictionalizing it a bit, in “.Pink Pony Club“, the single which in 2020 anticipated the long-distance debut of last September with “The rise and fall of a Midwest princess” (a title that is nothing short of Bowie-esque). The song, which has surpassed 60 million streams on Spotify, opens with a quote from Gloria Gaynor’s classic “I Will Survive,” which has become a queer manifesto, and tells the story of a girl who leaves her provincial town to become a stripper in Hollywood. In “Naked in Manhattan”, another song contained in “The rise and fall of a Midwest princess”, she talks about sapphic kisses with her best friend: “We might end up in hell, but we’ll probably be okay,” he sings. In the video she prancing through the streets of Manhattan in a red dress, recalling Cyndi Lauper from the “Girls just want to have fun” video clip.

In Willard, a town of just over five thousand souls where she was born and raised and where he went to church three times a weekshe had been taught that “being gay is a sin”. Then Kayleigh in Los Angeles (re)discovered herself: “Roan is the drag queen version of myself, with a little bit of bad taste added. Now she’s not afraid to say really dirty things. The songs are kind of a fairy tale version of what happened in real life. Entering the queer community allowed me to just feel free and safe on stage with the audience, because I know that many people among them are queer and just want to be there and have fun,” she said in an interview with Vanity Fair.

In pieces like “Femininomenon”, “After midnight” and “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl”, mixes timeless ballad atmospheres à la Lana Del Rey, a bit of electropop à la Lorde, dance pop à la Katy Perry and explosive choruses like those of Lady Gaga in her early days: “When I started writing this album I had been in a relationship with a man for 4 and a half years.

I wrote about girls, about thinking about girls. I was writing about a part of me that I have always wanted to feel and experience: that of complete freedom, of sparks. I thought I could trap her in the songs, to make her live only in that dimension. .I’d like to represent queer girls in high school, who just want to be ladies, become wives, who then break free and turn into dragons. This album is for teenage girls who thought it was just a phase. It’s for myself,” she told Rolling Stone. Behind the songs on the album there is the touch of Dan Nigrowho for those who don’t know him is the producer of Olivia Rodrigo who has become one of the most influential pop stars of the last five years, who decided to take her with him on tour.

After a recording stand-by, Chappell Roan started again with a new contract, this time with Island Records, part of the Universal Music group: “I feel like I’ve always been right. I felt like I had already made it when people started showing up to my concerts a few years ago – he says today about the success – what I’m experiencing now is just the icing on the cake”