Brandi Carlile put on quite the show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in March and - bonus! - it was for a good cause.
The live-streamed event ended up raising over $100k for two roots-related music ventures, Rainey Day Fund and Color Me Country. Proceeds also benefitted Nashville music store, Fanny's School of Music.
Apple Music host and Holler contributor Kelly McCartney co-founded Rainey Day Fund, which supports BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled roots artists. Its very first initiative became country music artist Rissi Palmer’s Color Me Country Fund, which supports underrepresented voices of BIPOC country artists.
"Color Me Country...is reaching out to artists of color who are pursuing country music," Palmer told McCartney for Holler's "In Conversation" series. "We’re trying to make sure that money isn’t the reason why you can't create and exist in these spaces."
McCartney co-founded Rainey Day Fund with Donald Cohen in 2018, but had trouble making waves in Nashville. That all changed once Carlile offered her support.
"That it ended up being the Ryman show was absolutely incredible - not only because of the money it brought in, but because of the visibility that gave us," McCartney told Holler. "Brandi is pure magic - the patron saint of roots music misfits - so having her voice her support for our work has opened a lot of people's eyes, hearts, minds and wallets. We couldn't be more grateful."
The grants Rainey Day Fund has been able to give artists offer financial and emotional support, according to McCartney. "The individual sums are small, but they say 'we see you and we support you,' and that seems to be more life-changing than the actual money, in most cases."
The Rainey Day Fund also announced a new partnership with Rosetta Fund, an organization led by journalist Marissa Moss that supports journalists and creators from marginalized communities who work in roots and country music.
“While the Rainey Day and Color Me Country funds work tirelessly to assist artists of marginalized identities with the funds and tools they need to lift their careers off the ground, a lingering question remains: Who is going to help tell their stories in the press to both write and correct their history in motion?” Moss stated in a press release. “That’s where the Rosetta Fund comes in, created to nurture the next generation of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled journalists, podcasters, and other media creators.
The Rainey Day Fund also recently established a powerhouse advisory board, including Rhiannon Giddens, Izzy Heltai, Justin Hiltner, Gaelynn Lea, Lizzie No, Indigo Girls' Amy Ray, Chely Wright and Raye Zaragoza.
Listen to McCartney and Palmer go deep on a special Holler Weekly bonus episode.