Well, "start" is a relative word for someone who's been singing her whole life, but Tri-Cities was definitely among her first professional gigs as a full-time musician.

Brandi Carlile is from the West Side and dropped out of high school to play professionally. In 1998 when she was 16 or 17 years old 98.3 The Key alumnus Greg Delange invited a friend from Seattle to play at a family reunion. The friend's band was called "The Shed" because they practiced in shed. When they arrived there was a very talented keyboardist and back-up vocalist with a tomboy haircut named Brandi. Greg was really impressed and told his friend to make her lead singer, which they eventually did. He helped them get a gig at Oasis Water Park, which according to his friend, was the band's first real professional gig. Hence me saying Brandi Carlile "got her start" in Tri-Cites. Greg also got the band a gig playing at a Costco employee appreciation party for $100. He introduced them to Paul Drake (station manager) who also helped them get gigs in town. When they'd play Tri-Cities the band would sleep at his house. Brandi left some of her writings at his house, and just a few years ago he was finally able to get an address to mail those back to her. Who knows, maybe some poems in that book made it onto her new album.

In case you've been living under a rock, Brandi Carlile was the most-nominated artist at Sunday's Grammy Awards (6) and she took home best Americana Album, best American Roots Song, and best American Roots Performance. Her new album is "By the Way, I Forgive You." She has said the song was inspired by forgiving a pastor who refused to baptize her for being gay when she was a teen. He waited until she was dressed and ready and her whole family watching to break the news. He told her he'd been conflicted and was going to do it, but at the last minute felt he just couldn't. He apologized numerous times but Carlile said the betrayal and humiliation was too much to let go... until recently. The feelings of letting go inspired the song. Several other songs are about motherhood.

98.3 The Key played Carlile's huge hit "The Story" back in 2007. In this photo Tim and Phil Hanseroth are posing with her. They are her band musicians who have played with her continuously since their teen years.