Who is Chappell Roan? 5 things to know about the performer coming to the Kentuckiana Pride Festival

If the name Chappell Roan is new to you, it's time to get schooled. The fast-rising 26-year-old singer-songwriter is having a moment.

Actually, Roan is having much more than a moment and she's performing in Louisville on Saturday during the 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival.

The glittery Midwestern pop star who loves to dress up, sing, dance and celebrate drag, often featuring queens as her show openers, has been hailed as "the next big thing." Roan grew up in the tiny town of Willard, Missouri, and is frequently mentioned in the same sentence as Lady Gaga and Madonna.

Even Sir Elton John is praising her artistry and individuality.

Chappell Roan will play at the newly reopened Parish on Feb. 20.
Chappell Roan will play at the newly reopened Parish on Feb. 20.

"I think people on the coasts put Midwesterners in one category but there are drag queens, people who are trans and massive queer communities that are hidden away in these teeny tiny towns," Roan previously told ABC News. "I feel like that is who my real community is and what the community feels like at my shows. People who aren't allowed to be out and proud all the time."

On Saturday, June 15, Roan is performing her infectious dance-pop anthems in Louisville during the 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival. News of her appearance sparked a ticket sales stampede. On Monday, the festival announced tickets are sold out, a first in the festival's history. Roan performs at 7:40 p.m. and headliner Icona Pop hits the stage at 9 p.m.

Here's what else to know about Chappell Roan ahead of the 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival:

What is Chappell Roan's real name?

Chappell Roan performs at The Rave in Milwaukee on Oct. 3, 2023.
Chappell Roan performs at The Rave in Milwaukee on Oct. 3, 2023.

Like Lady Gaga, who was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, and Madonna Louise Ciccone, who goes simply by Madonna, Chappell Roan's given name is Kayleigh Rose Amstutz.

How old is Chappell Roan?

Roan was born on Feb. 19, 1998 (you're welcome, Aquarius fans), and is currently 26 years old.

Why is she called Chappell Roan?

In an interview with the Springfield News-Leader, Roan said her stage name was inspired by her grandfather, PJC Insurance co-founder Dennis Chappell. Because he was dying from cancer during her rise to stardom, she took his name as a way to honor him and combined it with his favorite tune — an old cowboy song called "The Strawberry Roan," originally written by Curly Fletcher as a poem called "The Outlaw Broncho" in the early 20th century.

A slow simmer to the top for Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan wears a full butterfly outfit during her set Friday at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Chappell Roan wears a full butterfly outfit during her set Friday at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Like most overnight sensations, it took the 26-year-old a long time to get to where she is today. A decade ago, her music was discovered on YouTube by record execs but after moving from Missouri to Los Angeles, her record deal evaporated. By 2020 she was broke and living back in her hometown working as a barista at a drive-thru.

Luckily for her ever-growing fan base, Roan never stopped pursuing a music career. Frequent posts on TikTok helped propel her back to popularity.

She signed with Island Records in 2023 and released her debut album "The Rise And Fall Of A Midwest Princess."

In 2024, Roan has continued her rise, opening for Olivia Rodrigo on "The Guts Tour" and performing at Coachella, North America’s largest music festival, earlier this year.

Get ready to dance and sing during Chappell Roan's concert

Fans sing together as Chappell Roan performs at The Parish on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.
Fans sing together as Chappell Roan performs at The Parish on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

An inventive performer who loves to have fun, Roan wrote "Hot To Go" in the vein of "YMCA" and the "Macarena" where the audience knows all the lyrics and the dance moves. Her debut album, "The Rise and Fall of the Midwest Princess," also features a slew of singles including “My Kink Is Karma,” “Femininomenon,” “Casual,” “Kaleidoscope”, and “Red Wine Supernova.”

“I love the queer community. When queer people are together, it’s the happiest, most vibrant feeling,” Roan told Variety. “The shows are a way for me to give a safe space to queer people and to have fun and dress up. It feels like magic on stage. I’m literally getting teary-eyed because it’s everything I ever wanted.”

Roan turned down a White House offer to perform at Pride event

Chappell Roan performs the opening during Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts World Tour at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, March 9, 2024.
Chappell Roan performs the opening during Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts World Tour at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, March 9, 2024.

At the New York’s Governors Ball festival on Sunday, Roan told the crowd she'd turned down an offer to perform at a White House Pride event.

"We want liberty, justice, and freedom for all. When you do that, that’s when I’ll come," the singer announced to the audience.

Where can I see Chappell Roan perform next?

The 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival will feature Chappell Roan on June 15, 2024.
The 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival will feature Chappell Roan on June 15, 2024.

For those who missed out on tickets to the 2024 Kentuckiana Pride Festival, Roan will be performing just down the road at the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, on Sunday at 4 p.m. and tickets are still available for the show.

Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Who is Chappell Roan? What to know about the queer pop singer

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